One River School

One River School

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Bio

The One River Story

Our story is about passion for art and today's digital media possibilities. In 2011, Founder Matt Ross began research into art programs across the United States and a pattern emerged. In most metropolitan areas, there was an abundance of art schools in the city centers but virtually none in the nearby suburbs. When Ross chose Englewood, NJ to open One River School, he was completely convinced that the location would be perfect for a pilot school that would test the notion that cool art schools can thrive outside the city center. Matt says: "we believe that people in New Jersey and in suburbs across America want access to the same amazing creative experiences that exist in our cities." To fulfill this mission, Matt developed a new method for teaching art that created the most compelling and fun recreational / art education experiences. We focus on "flattening the experience" and reducing the "over-intellectualization" of art. We simply created a cool, interactive experience that is current in its practice and standards. We have recognized the most important artists and themes of the last 50 years and purpose-built a proprietary curriculum that has enabled us to deliver an experience that is changing people's lives. "One River" is not only the name of our school but a metaphor for the cultural gap that exists in suburbs across America, and it is Matt's ambition to address this challenge by growing One River into a national network of schools.

Our Mission:

Lifelong Creative Learning is at the center of our mission. We strongly believe that creativity is at the center of what makes us human and that ongoing growth in this area is an essential component in quality of life and future success in the 21st century. Body, Mind and Soul... eat right, exercise and develop the creative potential by engaging in new, thoughtful educational experiences - this is what makes people whole.

Changing arts education in America is the personal mission for One River Founder Matt Ross. Matt was the Founding CEO of School of Rock, the world leader in music education for kids, where he built a platform that revolutionized music education. This experience of changing kids' lives through music education had a profound, life-altering effect on Matt, and serves as a wonderful backdrop for the One River Story.

MATT ROSS, Founder

Music and Art seem to run together for a lot of people and this is clearly the case for One River School of Art + Design Founder Matt Ross. After 20 years as an executive in the radio industry, Matt became an investor and the Founding CEO for the School of Rock. At that time in 2005, School of Rock was a fledgling startup with a handful of schools. Five years later, when Ross left, School of Rock was the largest network of music schools in the world.

After leaving School of Rock, Ross compared the state of art education to the state of music education prior to the expansion of School of Rock. It appeared that the two were virtually the same: there were very few innovative art schools near his home in New Jersey and throughout suburbs across America. Thus began the start of a personal mission that Matt has been on since the fall of 2011. Matt says: "It seems to me that the most relevant and important thing I can do is to help people grow creatively. I love the challenge of inspiring people through compelling art education while making it fun at the same time. This is my calling ... it is my mission and it is the purpose of One River School."

Ross also plays an active role in the community and as a patron to young artists across the world. Matt is on the Board of Trustees at the Bergen Performing Arts Center. The "Bergen PAC" is northern New Jersey's most important non-profit performing arts center and provides dance and theatrical education programs for thousands of students every year.

In addition, Matt has embarked on a personal creative project: developing an important collection of contemporary art that currently features over 200 objects. "When I was getting started with One River, it dawned on me that if I was going to teach people contemporary art I needed to jump in and self educate beyond the classroom. Committing to building an art collection turned out to be the best way for me to develop a personal point of view around what art I thought was well done and potentially important. Almost all of the artwork that I own is from young artists; most often I support them during their first or second solo exhibitions. This project has required me to obsessively visit studios, galleries, museums and art fairs around the world in search of art that challenges my senses. Along the way, I have been blessed to help change some artist's lives by providing measurable support and I consider this to be one of the most important things I have done in my life."

When it comes to enjoying art, Ross has a unique perspective. "I believe that we see art through our eyes but we feel it physically in a different way. It is hard to describe, but when I am engaged with something that moves me, it creates a physical response that is much more than purely visual. It's like the feeling in your heart from a solid drum beat or guitar... those enter through your ears but the feeling you get is much deeper and more complex."

Matt is married for over 20 years to his wife Susan and is the father of two boys. His oldest son Alex has severe Autism and Matt has played an important role as an advocate for people with Autism, helping to raise millions of dollars through a variety of non-profits. "My son Alex has taught me more about life than anyone or anything. When you raise a child who cannot speak, it taps into a different skill ... a different sensibility that teaches you things that you never knew you had. It probably also gave me a strong appreciation for childhood development and the blessing of helping others learn to grow via music and art." Matt's youngest son Jason is an accomplished musician who has benefited first hand from Matt's passion for music education. Matt remains a partner / investor in School of Rock and owns three franchise locations in New Jersey - Tenafly, Chatham and Clark.

Press Releases

December 5, 2016
NATION'S 1ST CONTEMPORARY ART SCHOOL FRANCHISE ONE RIVER SCHOOL OF ART + DESIGN LAUNCHES WITH OPENINGS IN NEW JERSEY AND TEXAS

100 New Locations Targeted in Next Five Years

ENGLEWOOD, NEW JERSEY: One River School of Art + Design, the nation's first national network of contemporary art schools, has officially launched with new locations in Allendale, New Jersey and Frisco, Texas. These schools, scheduled to open in early 2017, join the flagship operation, established here in 2012, with the mission to develop what the New York Times called "the next generation of Basquiats and Warhols."

One River School of Art + Design signals a new direction in art education for suburban kids, teens and adults, providing the kind of exceptional, creative learning experiences previously only available in major cities. Using proprietary teaching methods, world-class instructors and interactive processes, the schools deliver an experience that "changes people's lives," according to One River School founder and CEO Matt Ross. Each school also presents exhibitions from emerging artists as part of its commitment to be the voice of contemporary art in its community.

One River School also offers such one-of-a-kind opportunities as the pop-up Art Effect exhibit, which this fall has brought artwork by 11 of its teen students to Boston and Philadelphia and will arrive at BravinLee programs gallery in New York City (526 W. 26th St.) on Saturday, December 10.

Ross, recently called a "creative visionary" by Parade Magazine, brings a deep background in creative education and the national franchise business model to One River School as the former founding CEO of School of Rock. Ross has signed agreements for more franchised schools to open in the Dallas-Fort Worth market, with a goal of opening 100 new locations over the next five years.

"Art education is broken in America," says Ross. "We want to provide the coolest place near home to learn to be creative, stretch one's pure potential and have fun. We believe people are desperately looking for new ways to grow, and we have found that art making is a rewarding and personal way to improve quality of life. When people have art in their lives, they simply become better people. It's my goal to achieve that coast to coast."

"I love the challenge of inspiring people through compelling art education while making it fun at the same time," he said. "This is my calling, my mission and the purpose of One River."

For more information about One River School of Art + Design, visit www.oneriverschool.com. For available franchise opportunities, visit www.oneriverschool.com/franchise.

February 25, 2016
ONE RIVER SCHOOL OF ART AND DESIGN PRESENTS: SIEBREN VERSTEEG VIDEO / WALLPAPER; 28-Foot Digital Painting Mural Installation Will Be Artist's Largest Exhibited Work to Date
Video/Wallpaper

Opening Reception: Saturday, March 5, 1-5PM
Artist Talk: Saturday, March 5, 2:30PM

Changing Art Education in America ... One Kid at a Time

ENGLEWOOD, NJ (Feb. 25, 2016) - ONE RIVER SCHOOL OF ART AND DESIGN is pleased to present "Video/Wallpaper," an installation by artist Siebren Versteeg, opening Saturday, March 5, and continuing through Sunday, April 17. Versteeg will give an "artist talk" during the Opening Reception. The title of the exhibition comes from an outmoded term sometimes used to denigrate video works of uninstructive content. Versteeg's project however makes this idea literal, undertaking today's digital landscape as an opportunity to interrogate an age-old concern in the field of painterly abstraction - the negotiation between process and form.

"Video/Wallpaper" will feature a 28-ft. digital painting mural - Versteeg's largest exhibited work of this type to date - generated entirely by computer algorithms of his own design. The code Versteeg writes exemplifies his interest in notions of chance by steering a nearly infinite number of variables to explore the widest possibility of compositional outcomes. Juxtaposed with this printed work, "Decoy (1R)" 2016, a real-time screen based work based on identical algorithms, will act as a kind of stand in for the mural's immaterial maker; tirelessly generating a new composition on a 24-hour cycle for the run of the exhibition.

The works in "Video/Wallpaper" question the potential of aesthetic resolution through an ongoing conflict between automated process and articulated desire. Rather than embracing the deterministic processes promoted by out of the box imaging platforms, Versteeg identifies with the value of creative labor as it migrates towards digital ephemera. He writes: "My programs spin in unwieldy ways ensuring an ongoing struggle with incidents and accidents. I favor curiosity and visual complexity over prejudicial belief and execution. A very small percentage of the work that I create are then printed and stretched to hang as inconsequential artifacts of the true struggle that takes place; to find space for creative idiosyncrasy within the terrible certainty and finitude of the grid."

Siebren Versteeg’s multimedia installations critically engage the systems used for creating and disseminating images within our culture. He mines the digital realm for content, manipulating computer code to meticuloulsly interrogate the relationship between instructed choice and consequential chance.

Siebren Versteeg was born in 1971 in New Haven, Connecticut. He has had solo exhibitions at the Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita, Kansas; the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio; the Museum of Art at Rhode Island School of Design, Providence; the Art Institute of Boston; Bellwether Gallery, New York; Ten in One Gallery, New York; Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago; and Max Protetch, New York. His work has been exhibited in group shows at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Contemporary Museum, Baltimore, Maryland; the Krannert Art Museum, Urbana-Champaign, Illinois; the Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia; and the National Museum of Art, Prague; among many others. Versteeg was a recipient of the Illinois Arts Council, Fellowship in 2005, the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture Merit Fellowship in 2004, and received the Stone Fellowship for Graduate Study from the University of Illinois, Chicago, where he received his Masters degree in 2004. Currently, he is an artist in residence at the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire. He lives and works in Queens, New York.,/

ABOUT ONE RIVER SCHOOL OF ART AND DESIGN

Founded by Matt Ross in September of 2012 "one river" west of New York City, One River School of Art and Design has embarked on a mission to change art education in America. In a short window of time, our innovative art school in Englewood, NJ has taught thousands of students and established "a new direction in art education." One River School's exhibition program is dedicated to presenting contemporary artwork from some of the most compelling emerging artists in the world.

One River School

Randy Alexander

President & CEO
906 Jonathan Lane
Marlton, NJ 08053
856.596.1410

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