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 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
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.
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