Ox-Bow School of Arts - Saugatuck MI by Sarvin Haghighi

In case you have not heard of Ox-Bow so far, I encourage you to make a trip to this beautiful Art School and experience all the amazing things they have to offer, Through its affiliation with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Ox-Bow offers year around programs, summer benefits, workshops and so much more. 

As mentioned on their website, courses are a unique experience to work closely alongside artists from across the country with world-class instructors. The courses are diverse, ranging in focus from the functional to the sculptural; from traditional to contemporary; from representational to conceptual. During intensive and immersive one & two week courses, students delve deeply into their practices. Housing or commuting options are available. For a closer look at Ox-Bow's grounds and life on campus during the summer, visit their information page.

I was thrilled and honored to have been approached by this amazing school to teach a one week workshop. I wanted my students to learn as much as possible throughout this week. Designing the sessions and what to do on each day took a while but it did worth the time spent on it as by the end of it I was sure that no matter the level of my students, they will either become inspired or add on to their current creation process. 

The location is stunning, located close to the beautiful town of Saugatuck and Douglas, once you get to the campus, you are immediately captured by the beauty and greenery around you. The campus offers Artist Residencies in many fields. Each studio is filled with art enthusiasts creating Art with different mediums. 

If you intend to teach a class for few days, I would suggest considering below points:-

  • Design and map out your teaching strategy, what are you going to teach each day, give time to your students to practice. Whatever you do, you want to make sure the last days of the workshop is rewarding for attendees. 
  • Get the full list of attendees in advance and familiarize yourself with the level of students if possible. You will then have a full picture to help you map out the sessions better. For example if you have a mix of beginners and experts, your sessions will be planned differently whereas if all are beginners. 
  • Check out with the location to ensure they have all you need, prepare in advance by sharing the list of materials as well to make sure you have enough for everyone. 
  • Patience is very important throughout the workshop, to ask every question and help those who might need more assistance, make sure everyone try out their learnings at their own time.
  • Give everyone a chance to use their own imaginations. At the end of the day, you want them to create what they want based off the knowledge they gain from the workshop.

I can not wait to go back next year. This experience was so rewarding for me as well. I connected with the art of teaching in ways I never had before. 

OxBow School of Arts is located at : 3435 Rupprect Way, Saugatuck, MI 49453

View from our class...

View from our class...

My amazing students...It was such an honor to teach them.

My amazing students...It was such an honor to teach them.


What's coming next to Saugatuck Center for the Arts by Sarvin Haghighi


The opening reception for "Shortcut to the Silk Road" at the beautiful Saugatuck Center for the Arts turned out to an amazing event last night. Walking in to the building, viewers were served with a very special "Mar-Tea-Ni" - Tea infused Martini - cocktails in the spirit of the exhibit's title. Viewers then walk in to the main gallery passing by walls covered with the word "LOVE" in Farsi all over. There is a map of Silk Road painted on the wall of the exhibit with art pieces on them. Tea and Saffron were some of the most famous trade goods traveled through Silk Road from ancient Persia hence they were used as one of the mediums in these pieces.

Right after is the "Love" corner. With it's walls and floors covered with the word "LOVE" in Farsi, I try to showcase the power of positivity around us. Growing up in Tehran, I have always seen negative graffiti words on the walls of Tehran...I believe in the power of affirmations; why not try to turn something negative into a positive thing?

We had another event the week after the opening called "You have brought Bliss" which mainly focused on the rich hospitality traditions of Iran and Persia. In the class I shared information about ancient customs of welcoming the stranger which is completely new to those who just have their vision of Iran based on what they see on Media. We all enjoyed a dish I prepared as well and shared the recipe with all. This sold out event was extremely important for me as I wanted to give all the opportunity to ask any questions they have freely.

Our upcoming event is called "Creativity Revealed" which will be held on February 15th at 7pm at Saugatuck Center for the Arts and is Sponsored by the Saugatuck-Douglas Art Club. I'm honored to be  be interviewed by Salvatore Sapienza and then I will take all into the process of creating my pieces and shortly after that a hands-on demonstration opportunity. There are still few spots available for this Free event. To secure your spot, visit HERE.

Installing "Shortcut to the Silk Road" exhibit by Sarvin Haghighi

My first solo exhibition in the U.S could not have occurred at a better time. We just learned that Sanctions against Iran has been removed. Iran is the talk of every conversation and I get to share my art at the same time. Setting up this exhibit has been hard and could not have been possible without the  help of  amazing staff at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts have been so supportive and enthusiastic of the upcoming show. Whitney Valentine, the lovely Exhibition Manager of the center has put together some great events coming up for me to be able to share my vision with you all. We have done interviews with CareerLine Tech Center. The interview will be shown on the wall outside of main gallery. As you walk in the space, you will see a free hand sketched map of the ancient Silk Road where some of my pieces could be seen across its length. Influenced by the title of the exhibit, I have used Saffron and Tea as colors in some of the pieces; these were some of the main elements traveled across the Silk Road from Persia. As you go further,  you will see walls covered with the word "LOVE" in Farsi. I was born during Iran's Revolution year. As a child I remember seeing lots of graffiti as political protest decorating the walls of buildings in Tehran. Activists made their statements under the cover of darkness on the walls all over the city. The scrawling of political statements in public has occurred for generations and is still visible under the current government.

I've always believed in the power of writing. Personally, it works for me as a source of affirmation. By scribing "LOVE" over and over again in this space, I hope to circulate more positive energy. I wish to use the power of this word to showcase one of the most influential elements in our lives. There are some Persian blue beads hanging from the ceiling; in lot of countries these are meant to take the evil eye away.

I invite you all to share your experience and tell us what you thought of the show. Instead of a guest book, we want you to share your thoughts on the wall in the main gallery. There will be markers located for you all to share your take on the exhibit. I also encourage you all to find the corner which speaks to you the most, snap a photo and share it on your social media.  Would be great if you could also tag myself and Saugatuck Center for the Arts, we can then use your photos for a trailer I will be making post this exhibit.

Main Gallery - Blank Space IMG_3121 IMG_3112 IMG_3176 IMG_3104 IMG_3197 IMG_3195 IMG_3179