March 28, 2017
April is National Autism Awareness Month and we are trying to shed some light on the mission of supporting those with Autism in America. Despite all of the efforts that have been made over the last ten years, Autism remains a great mystery with no clarity around the cause and no method to prevent it. The tragic challenge of figuring out the “puzzle”…how to raise and advocate for an Autistic child, falls straight into the hands of people who simply have no preparation for this.
I know because I am one of them. My son Alex was diagnosed at 18 months of age and is now 21. He was diagnosed with severe Autism and despite all of our efforts he remains severely disabled today. Notwithstanding that fact, Alex has single handedly taught me more about life than anything else thrown my way. My wife and I fight everyday to provide the best therapeutic, educational and supportive tools we can uncover and he has stepped up and challenged himself to adapt to a world that is unbearably difficult for him.
As the Founder of One River, I am committed to using visual arts as a tool to drive developmental skills in people of all ages and all levels. We honor Autism Speaks and the great work they are doing with our April art project called “The Puzzle Project”. 60 students in our two schools made a dedicated “puzzle piece” and the work will be shown at the Westfield Garden State Plaza for the month of April.
‘The Puzzle Project’
Opening Reception: Friday, April 7th 6-8PM
Exhibition on View through May 15, 2017
Westfield Garden State Plaza
1 Garden State Plaza
Paramus, NJ 07652
Near AMC Movie Theater Corridor
@AutismSpeaks #MondayThoughts #OneRiverSchool #ThePuzzleProject
March 20, 2017
I don’t want to be political here…I simply want to talk about the NEA because they provide support to something that is at the center of my heart and soul. Arts and Culture. We are living in a moment of time where there is so much noise. It is really hard to make an argument for anything without having a strong counterpoint.
At One River School, we don’t receive any grants so I have no personal stake here. But, I do sit on the Board of Trustees for the Bergen PAC and an organization called Art 21 who both rely on grants. These two organizations are doing amazing work for our communities and they represent just two of the thousands of non-profits who support our communities with amazing educational services.
The Bergen PAC runs a non-profit theater that is vital to the economic fabric of northern, New Jersey. In addition, they teach thousands of kids performing arts through partnerships with local schools! They also run an amazing school where they teach dance, performance and music…the Bergen PAC is simply am invaluable resource to our community.
Art 21 has changed the paradigm for teaching and learning about the creative process. They provide unparalleled access to the artist’s voice around the world, using the power of digital media to introduce millions of people to contemporary art.
I am certain that getting a budget deal in place, including healthcare and the military takes precedent. I am also certain that ELIMINATING the NEA is the wrong decision and that the small amount that is currently appropriated makes our world better.
If you don’t have details on exactly how your tax money is used visit the NEA’s website. I am hopeful that there will be a change of heart…Culture Matters.
#MondayThoughts #TheNEA #OneRiverSchool #CultureMatters
March 14, 2017
Why do we freak out about the weather? Sometime ago, people would set out by land or sea and get utterly crushed by the unpredictable force of nature. Today, we track weather models a good 15 days in advance with amazing certainty. So, what is it about us and our brain that can’t handle an impending storm with calm?
I think it gets at control. We simply can’t control weather like we can’t control father time. Our whole life is built to try to develop as much control over our lives and when we have to turn that control over to some external force it smacks us in the face of our basic needs. Let it go…and try to apply this to other things in your life that you have less control over.
One of the best ways to deal with this is to find outlets that teach a meditative way of living…yoga, art, music and many other hobbies allow you to slow down, block out the disruptions and maximize the right chemical balance in your brain. They also provide rewarding benefits like friendship, personal growth and a focus on being positive…the key driver of happiness…thinking positively.
Old man winter is gonna blow…get out your drawing pad and chill. You’ll be happier.
#MondayThoughts #SnowStormStella #OneRiverSchool
January 24, 2017
Next Sunday we open a new exhibition at One River School Englewood with artwork from Caroline Larsen. Caroline lives in Brooklyn by way of Toronto, Canada and she is doing some things with paint that you simply have to see.
When you first look at Caroline’s paintings, you think they are woven…perhaps embroidered. But, when you take a look up close something really cool reveals itself. The intricate and somewhat obsessive lines are made with acrylic paint and they are somehow “drawn” in tight lines as if they are squeezed from a tube. The end result is a buildup of paint in so many layers that it creates a rich and incredibly textured surface.
Caroline is going to join us this Sunday from 1-3PM and I urge you to stop in. We are blessed to have some of the greatest emerging artists in the world exhibit their work at One River AND spend time with us in person. You will be amazed by this artwork…I hope to see you this Sunday.
Opening Reception: Sunday, January 29th 1-3PM
Exhibition Dates: January 29 – March 5, 2017
January 10, 2017
No we are not starting a college. But, last Friday I visited Michael Rees and The Center for New Art at William Patterson University and I was so happy to see the innovative approaches to teaching art at the college level that exist right here in our backyard.
Michael Rees is the Associate Professor and Director of the program and I couldn’t be more impressed with his vision for his program and the innovative / comprehensive approach that is built into his curriculum. Mike is also a world-class artist…his work has appeared in two Whitney Biennial’s and he holds an MFA from Yale University. (Check out his work here.)
As I delve further into growing One River School nationally, I remain deeply committed to finding like-minded people to collaborate with. I also am hopeful that more of these people exist right here in our community. It takes a vision to build something special but even more important is finding people who can challenge my assumptions and add new ideas.
Take a look at the work Mike and William Patterson are doing. I believe they are on the front end of the curve…developing more creative young adults. And more creative people will simply make us a better society.
#MondayThoughts #OneRiverUniversity #WilliamPatersonUniversity
December 13, 2016
When we started One River School four years ago I was trying to figure out how to create a cool place in suburbia that made learning digital art fun. DONE…we have taught thousands of students and I believe we are becoming the first choice for innovative art classes in Bergen County.
I also wanted to explore new ways to teach Digital Art and our Digital Art Shuffle class is quickly becoming the coolest place for Kids, Teens and Adults to explore an entirely new experience in art making. Click here and check out some of the work we have done. It is really inspiring because we mesh traditional drawing skills with technology that allows students to intuitively make artworks that are influenced by digital manipulation.
Our plan is to develop more classes on top of our core programs in digital art, animation and photography. Digital Art Rocks and we are pioneering a new way to make it fun and compelling at One River!
#MondayThoughts #DigitalArtRocks #DigitalArtShuffle
December 5, 2016
We took 11 teen students.
Gave them a studio of their own.
Connected them with a mentor / teacher.
Asked them to make an original body of artwork…akin to a professional assignment.
We told them we would exhibit the work in multiple locations.
They did the work …and we are exhibiting it!
I couldn’t be more proud.
Art Effect by One River is coming to NYC this Saturday, December 10th, 4-8PM.
Bravin Lee Gallery in Chelsea is the setting for our this third and final leg of a three-city tour: Boston, Philadelphia and New York.
It will be a wonderful celebration of the amazing commitment our students made.
Please join us.
#MondayThoughts #ArtEffect #TransformingArtEducation
November 22, 2016
This past summer, One River did an exhibition with Shara Hughes and I am honored to announce that Shara was selected last week to participate in the 2017 Whitney Biennial. I am so proud of Shara and so grateful for the chance to share her work with our community.
Our commitment to presenting work from emerging artists is hard wired in our DNA. We share and teach what we think is “current, relevant and potentially important”. It is our hope that more people appreciate contemporary art and support living artists by collecting artwork.
Tomorrow we present our final opening of the year and I am so excited to share Yevgeniya Baras’work here at One River School. There is something unique and quite mystical about this artwork…it feels both contemporary and at the same time, it feels like it may have been found in a cave 1,000 years ago.
Yevgeniya is special…friend, curator, artist and teacher who represents exactly the voice that we are trying to share and promote. Our opening is from 6-8PM and I will participate in a Q&A with her at 7PM. Come check it out.
PS: I am personally going to teach a class on Art Collecting / Appreciation in the New Year… more details to follow soon.
#MondayThoughts @SharaHughes @YevgeniyaBaras
November 7, 2016
So many things have been said about the election that I will try to avoid the obvious here. For whatever it means, I am not in the game of governing and I respect people who try to make a difference. I may not always agree with them, but I can’t imagine how hard it must be to do the job and either way I am willing to accept whatever happens and support our country.
Life is short and happiness is in your hands. We have the best country in the world by far… warts and all. I can give you so many examples but I am sure I don’t have to convince you about that point. So, lets take a chill pill, go out and vote and then lets come together and work on building a better future for our children.
I often share the story of the British artist Bob and Roberta Smith who last year ran for Prime Minister of Great Britain on the “Art Party.” Absurd as it sounds, he struck a chord with me. Making great people … makes great countries.
To that point, at One River, we are focused on helping people think differently. Our world is better when people are challenging themselves to think differently and that is what art is about. It doesn’t matter whether you are young or old…just create.
Check out Bob and Roberta’s latest “creative parade” here.
#MondayThoughts #VoteforHumanity #BobandRobertaSmith