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
May 15, 2017
Daniel Rios Rodriguez is one of my favorite artists and I want to tell you a bit about him in our latest Artist Spotlight. I stumbled on his work at an art fair in 2012. I bought two small paintings and reached out to him to tell him that I just opened an art school and wanted to show his work. Daniel became the first solo exhibition we ever presented at One River and I am thrilled to tell you about the amazing progress he has made in his art journey.
Daniel has a solo show right now in NYC! And, it is with one of my favorite galleries in the world Nicelle Beauchene. His artwork is so cool…and idiosyncratic. They are these small, interesting and odd mixed-media objects that reflect stories from growing up in San Antonio and the landscape of the surroundings areas. Last year Daniel had a show in Chicago that was reviewed by Art in America and his work is now being consumed by curators and major collectors…and it is still affordable so go check it out!
I am thrilled that One River is playing a real role in creating a narrative for emerging artists. At our core, we care about and celebrate artists and we are thrilled to see people like Daniel cut through the clutter in a deeply challenging space. There has never been a time where more living artists are making work and sharing it in so many places…online and in galleries. Support artists because they make our world a fundamentally more enjoyable place. They also give you a chance to reflect on your life and the times we live in via there outcomes. And, of course, take a cool art class!
Daniel Rios Rodriguez On View at Nicelle Beauchene through May 21, 2017
More Info Here >
Founder & CEO
May 8, 2017
April 24, 2017
10-Year old Chase Balay has a malignant brain tumor. This beautiful 4th grade boy from my town Cresskill, NJ, an accomplished young artist with a special creative spirit, is battling something that is hard to put into words and frankly represents the nightmare we all dread as our worst possible fear. This is what it is …I can’t sugar coat it, but I want to tell you about one of the most emotional and important efforts I have ever seen using art as a tool for healing and creating context.
The Merritt School in Cresskill, NJ approached One River in January to tell us about Chase. They simply said that Chase was dying and they had an idea to celebrate his life through art. We jumped in instantaneously and this past Friday was one of, if not the most moving day I have had in over ten years running creative education businesses.
165 3rd, 4th and 5th graders…each created an individual artwork in honor of Chase. They used his imagery…monsters and robots, to honor Chase and in some ways to preserve his lasting spirit. These objects were presented at One River School in Englewood this past Friday night and our community came out in the hundreds to support Chase, rally around this unbelievably emotional moment, raise money and celebrate life.
Chase’s Dad Erik is extraordinary and I am certain he and Chase’s Mom Julie have more passion and spirit than just about anyone in the world. His brother Ryder is a bundle of energy who is so lucky to have such a supportive system around him. Chase’s grandparents spoke and presented a slideshow of Chase’s art and it was riveting. The staff at Merritt School and the parents and community in Cresskill should be admired. Chase’s friends and peers…this may be the most impressive group of young kids I have ever met.
There is a fundraising component…we auctioned artwork from the event and there is an online tool to support Chase at:
Hug your kids. Think about how precious life is. Celebrate the special beauty that art provides for humanity…it is a language that allows us to connect in times of good and bad.
Matt Ross Founder
April 4, 2017
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