This week, Slow Living Celebrates people and organizations working towards a more green, sustainable and healthy planet and healthier lives.
Judi Shils has spent the last 14 years of her life spearheading grassroots community projects. While attending a Marin County Supervisors meeting in 2002, she listened to concerned citizens pose questions about the high cancer rates in their neighborhoods and express thoughts as to possible cause. The dearth of answers led Shils to form the Marin Cancer Project: Search for the Cause, and then the youth-driven movement for sustainable change, non-profit, Turning Green. As well, Shils worked with students and ethical business partners to create the first line of eco-body products for this generation launched nationally with Whole Foods Market in 2008. In 2013 she created the first organic/non GMO-school lunch program called The Conscious Kitchen. In 2015, with two kitchens opened for business, the Sausalito Marin City School District became the first organic non-GMO school district in the nation.
After attending Temple University and American University, Shils started her Emmy Award-winning career with ABC Sports in New York and remained in television for 25 years. in 1988, Shils moved to Los Angeles, and produced the first critically acclaimed reality television special “3,000 miles, 21 days, 10 cents” for Fox Television. In 1989, a move to the Bay Area and motherhood to daughter Erin, changed the course of her life. In 1995, Shils created the successful Diary Project (DP), one of the very first on-line forums for teenagers to discuss their lives, as well as an accompanying newspaper component and Emmy Award-winning television series called “Life in Progress” on Oxygen TV. As well she produced a stage version of the DP, with the script created from website entries. Shils’ environmental work began at the California Coastal Commission, where she has been a consultant since 1996, focusing on public education programs and the annual California Coastal Cleanup Day.
History, Turning Green
|Artwork at Oxbow School|
Stephen Thomas, Founding Director and Head of School
Stephen came to The Oxbow School as the Founding Director from his position as the chair of the art department at The Urban School of San Francisco, where he taught from 1984-1998. In 1990, Stephen was instrumental in developing the Aim High summer program at the Urban School site. In 1994-95, he was awarded a Klingenstein Fellowship to study at Columbia University's Teacher's College. In the late 1970's, before he encountered teaching, Stephen worked at Crown Point Press, printing intaglio editions for artists. He ran his own printmaking business from 1980 to 1992.
Alex Kielty, Environmental Science Instructor
After earning his BA in Psychology at St. John's University in rural Minnesota, Alex taught outdoor education focused on ecology adventure and agricultural science. More recently, Alex has spent years working on and managing pastured livestock, orchards and mixed vegetable CSA's with an eye towards sensible and modern land use management and food cultivation. These practical experiences have enabled Alex to appreciate the complexity of our contemporary food system, allowing him to address the challenges surrounding the balance between environmental crises and feeding the planet in the classroom. Alex's approach to teaching agroecology focuses on the craft of land-stewardship, the wonder of biological processes, and exploring the myriad means of creating a food system with a greater level of integrity.
“THE RICHNESS OF THE STUDENTS’ EXPERIENCE AT OXBOW PREPARES THEM FOR THE INTENSE ACADEMIC AND STUDIO OPPORTUNITIES THAT FOLLOW AT COLLEGES LIKE RHODE ISLAND SCHOOL OF DESIGN.”
— Roger Mandle Past President, RISD
The Oxbow School is a single-semester art and academically focused school for high school juniors and seniors in beautiful Napa, CA. At Oxbow students are immersed in an environment of critical thinking and creative problem solving that prepares them for life after high school. Students come from all over the country and internationally to learn from our distinguished faculty and world-renowned visiting artists.
At Oxbow they believe that immersive studio art practice and direct contact with artists are potent ways to engage students at this moment in their lives. Studio practice is not about waiting for inspiration; artists create problems, and then solve them, all along the way responding to materials that re-shape the originating question-and in so doing, opening new ideas and possibilities. Students leave Oxbow with the acquisition and ownership of a 'tool-kit' of skills that can be reconfigured to meet the challenges of ever-changing goals and environments.
The Oxbow curriculum is designed to fulfill the requirements of the nation's best public and private high schools and is as much about academics as it is about art making. All of the courses at Oxbow are fully accredited and are honors level and college preparatory.
n 1998, founders Ann Hatch and Robert and Margrit Mondavi sought to create a studio art environment where artists, faculty and students would collaborate in the practice of intellectual investigation and artistic inquiry. They acquired a three-acre site on Third Street in Napa, CA overlooking the Napa River and commissioned Modernist architect Stanley Saitowitz to design the campus. Each studio is a fully equipped 1,250-square-foot building, featuring 18-foot high ceilings and expansive glass garage doors that let in light and roll up to an inspiring view of the river. Since it's founding Oxbow's reputation has grown nationally and internationally as one of the best programs available to students interested in the arts.
Oxbow was one of a kind when it was founded, and remains so to this day.