September 18, 2017
I’m not one for the gratuitous anniversary celebration. Having spent 20 years in advertising and media, it always seemed that the lo-brow way to promote was to default to an anniversary promotion. Having said that, I am really proud that we just hit our five-year anniversary at One River and our future has never been brighter!
We recently announced our expansion into three new areas: Larchmont and Hartsdale, NYand Millburn, NJ (Please tell your friends). This news falls on top of a recent announcement that celebrated a franchise agreement for greater Chicago. Lastly, there are hundreds of people who have reached out to open a franchise location or work for One River and I am grateful for the interest in helping us “transform art education.”
We will continue to do all we can to celebrate contemporary art and design education and make One River a place that supports creativity within the communities that we operate in. Five years = one inning in business … now it’s simply top of the second.
Image Credit: Detail by Mel Bochner, 2015
August 7, 2017
Instagram is the best social media platform for me. I love it for sharing artwork and promoting artists that I am fond of. I also get to relay inspiring work that our students are making and celebrate the accomplishments of our teachers.
Twitter seems so negative…it also takes so long to read everything and stay up to date with people’s feeds…who has the damn time. I find that every time I log onto Twitter I wonder why I am wasting my time doing it.
That brings me to Facebook. It is the closest thing to a personal blog without having one. A great repository of all things…pics of your morning omelet, video of your kid’s jumpshot, a connection with a high school friend, and so on. It is the staple of all things you want to share and see but INSTAGRAM is just more cool and simple!
If you want to follow emerging art and see some cool objects…here’s my INSTAGRAM — mattross_oneriverschool and please share yours…
July 31, 2017
I recently asked a bunch of my employees to describe themselves in two words. And, I also asked them to do it quickly…the first two words that come to mind tend to be the ones that frame who you are. (try it…write it down). Curious and passionate where my two words and while I believe there are many others that add to my profile, these two do a good job describing who I am and clearly support my interests in education, art, leadership, broad learning and building things.
For the last twelve years I have been involved in building creative education businesses and at the root of these businesses is the notion that creative education is functional education.There is a great article in today’s NY Times by Kristin Wong that talks deeply about the need for “broad learning”. The article is broken into two parts and one of these parts debates the choice of “specialized learning” as an undergraduate track. With the cost of higher education, more of the decision making process than ever before is focused on the return on investment to offset the egregious cost of higher education and the massive student debt that often comes with it.
The other part focuses intently on the need to build broad skills and nuanced thinking to become well rounded beyond your basic core competencies. According to the article, this often suffers because young adults are so immersed in a specialized track that they don’t get to expand their horizons and develop new competencies to help them grow. Whether we are young or old, we must challenge ourselves to try new things…. take new classes…do creative projects…expand your horizons…these things will help you evolve.
Lifelong Creative Learning is at the essence of what I think we need as humans and I am doing all I can to live, share it and celebrate it.
#MondayThoughts #OneRiverSchool #BroadLearning
July 24, 2017
Why do they call it dog days of summer? The term has its roots in Greek and Roman astrology which connected summer with “heat, drought, and sudden thunderstorms”. Guess what, they also referred to “lethargy, fever, bad luck and mad dogs!”
Because I am an old dog, I will take all the droughts, heat and thunderstorms knowing that I have a window before the ice, sleet and cold turn me into a mad dog. I also love to utilize summer to reset my goals and to think about a proverbial “7th inning stretch” for the calendar year.
Here’s the next level thought. I try to use my summer to think about the life / work balance thing we all struggle with and more specifically, “how do I find time to do things that inspire me emotionally”. For me, this means hobbies and reminding myself that reading great books, finding new great music and uncovering new visual artists is what excites me. It also means doing…playing my guitar, taking a new class and focusing on that creative side of my brain…the side that made life more fun when we were kids!!! I want more of that!!!
Ok, so we will never refer to it as the “dog days of summer” anymore. From this point forward it shall be known as the “personal reset window”. Assignment: take a week to make some goals for the balance of the year and add 1-2 things that are different and creative and maybe childlike…you will love me for it.
#MondayThoughts #OneRiverSchool #DogDaysofSummer
July 11, 2017
It is a blessing that I get to surround myself with art teachers who are profoundly creative and care about helping others with such passion. It is really special when I can also give back to those people who do the heavy lifting at One River School.
This week we present a new exhibition from Morristown’s very own Catherine Haggarty. Catherine is a rare bird … spend five minutes with her and you can’t help but want to be around her. And, she is one damn good artist who recently pulled the rip cord and threw herself into a new place and studio in Brooklyn, where she is now working full time as an artist after many years of teaching art within the public school system in New Jersey.
Let me tell you more about Catherine Haggerty. Grew up in Morristown, NJ. Acclaimed basketball player. Fabulous artist. Two Master’s Degrees. Committed art teacher. And, now full time artist with a solo show at One River School in Allendale opening this Thursdaynight at 5PM.
Catherine has also been helping to run our Art Effect Program at One River. This is our super advanced studio program for teens that simulates a pro artist experience and culminates in exhibitions in New York and other places. She exemplifies the key characteristics of someone who makes others around them better and I am very grateful to watch her invest in our students and looking forward to having her share her artwork with us this summer.
Support emerging artists people…they make our world a better place.
Catherine Haggarty, Bleu-Jaune Champ
Thursday, July 13th 5-7PM with an Artist Talk @6PM
RSVP Here >
Teen Workshop with Catherine Haggarty
Thursday, July 13th at 3:30PM
Free & Open to All Teens
RSVP Here >
#MondayThoughts #OneRiverSchool @CatherineHaggarty #Bleu-JauneChamp
July 3, 2017
Today I simply want to reflect on America…the amazing country that we live in. I am grateful for having access to so many things and I am deeply aware that being an American comes with great privilege.
My motivation to promote the arts is rooted in the fact that I want people to enjoy life more and I believe that doing creative things promotes happiness and well being. The arts are highly valued and at the same time there are so many pressing issues. One River is adding to the fabric of what is good in America and over the next year we plan to open a bunch of new schools in towns across the country.
I hope that we can all agree that this July 4th we can cherish what we have and respect where we have come from. Happy Birthday America! Just like everything, it is easy to take you for granted too.
#MondayThoughts #OneRiverSchool #America
June 27, 2017
We just finished our student exhibitions at all of our schools and I found myself walking around with a constant smile on my face. On one level, I am really proud to see the artwork all over our walls that simply demonstrates the time and effort our students and staff are putting in. We really have become a first rate art school.
But, beyond the artwork, I can’t get over the pride on our student’s faces as they look at their work and the hundreds of others around them. One River has grown and has become a real community. And, at our shows, our community is even larger with friends and family enjoying the creative energy in our space.
Art making is like playing music…you do it because it makes you feel good and allows you to express yourself in a different way. Like music, it also needs to be shared with others and our student exhibitions are a concert in their own right with a real audience providing the feedback and the love.
June 19, 2017
I love documentary films on so many levels. The simplicity to the story telling and the “everyman” subject matter often connects with me. I have sat and watched documentaries about artists, athletes, politicians and topics as diverse as our food supply and scaling Everest. Our first summer at One River we rolled out a documentary film class and asked students to bring a personal topic to class.
Here’s a range of subjects that we covered that year: “The Armenian Holocaust”, “The History of the NY Rangers”, ‘Is Cheerleading a Sport?” among others. This camp allowed us to begin to teach filmmaking without the challenges of acting and scenery etc… and the results were amazing.
This fall we will roll out a new ambitious nine month Teen Documentary Filmmaking class that will culminate in short documentary films via small groups of students. We will hold screenings including our first film festival and we will show these worldwide online at our new branded website.
Get more info below.
Documentary Film for Teens…three part course, small groups, screening and online film festival.
One River Film School… has a nice ring to it!
June 12, 2017
It is that simple. Whenever I slow down a bit and reconnect with the outdoors, I am reminded of two things. How much better I feel and how much my brain responds to the visual stimuli of the outdoor.
Given the technology available to us today, it is so easy to create highly credible photography of the environment. Ansel Adams may be rolling in his grave, but the current capabilities of the iPhone and iPhoto have given people so much potential to capture the beauty of the world in front of them.
The picture above is an Ansel Adams photo. Click here to see some simple shots I took last week in Aspen. If you want to get in on this, email me some landscape / outdoors photos that you are proud of and I will share them.
And, you don’t need to go to Colorado to connect with nature so get outside and enjoy the pure art that is all around us.
Ansel Adams, 1942
The Tetons and the Snake River
May 23, 2017
For those of you who have not engaged in the discussion of STEM and STEAM education, let me set this up before I make a few points. STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — in an interdisciplinary and applied approach…STEAM adds ART.
Now that I am of the ripe old age of 56, I can reflect on my observations that reflect on over five decades (ugh…I really sound old now!) Having said that, I have never remembered a time when people raved about arts education…in my lifetime it has always been seemingly underfunded and underdeveloped. Having said that, it appears that we are really making progress in these other areas. But, do people really want STEAM?
When I Google “STEAM” Education”, there are over 75 million results to that Google search query. When I search for “STEM Education” there are only 16 million. How can you explain the fact that so many more people are wondering about how do we integrate ARTS into the mix and promote the connectivity between abstract thinking and practical thinking?
Frankly, abstract thinking is practical thinking. The more we train our brain to “create” the more we will train our brain to resolve problems, develop strategy AND create cool things. Art making is fun. It also builds critical thinking skills. And, in today’s times, critical thinking has never been in greater need to deal with the complexity of modern life.
What do you think???
#MondayThoughts #OneRiverSchool #STEAM #TransformingArtEducation