ALLENDALE, N.J. — The new One River School of Art + Design in Allendale has fast become a sanctuary for kids and adults drawn to painting, photography and other arts.
Located across the street from the Church of the Guardian Angel, it was opened in January by Matt Ross of Cresskill .
The founding CEO of the School of Rock transformed music education: he created the largest network of music schools on the planet.
Now he wants to do the same for art, one suburban neighborhood at a time.
The Allendale school is the second in what is destined to be a large chain: the first One River School is in Englewood.
“You don’t have to be a famous artist to love and participate in art,” said Julie Rogers, a classical musician-turned-artist and director of One River in Allendale.
“There’s a purpose in everyone’s life for art.”
The One River School wants to be the place young future artists start out, she said.
But it also wants to be where people of all ages feel comfortable going to learn about art.
“It’s never too late to learn something new,” Rogers said. “Therefore, the adult program here.”
The new studio attracted Lena Christinger, 48, of Ridgewood, a stay-at-home mom.
One recent afternoon she sat with Rogers and shaded a drawing of a sphere — a new experience for her.
“Today’s world is so complicated with the technology. Everyone is on the phones and on the TV,” Christinger said.
“It’s nice to use your brain and your hands and create something. It’s funny that drawing this ball can make me happy. But creating something from nothing is always rewarding.”
She loves the location, too.
People don’t always have the time or means to go into Manhattan for such an experience, Christinger said.
That’s exactly the point.
The name “One River School” references that the school is one river away from New York City, which is where people would otherwise go to get an experience of comparable quality.
The spacious studios in Allendale already are filling up after school lets out in the afternoons.
At night, mostly adults come to learn all kinds of art from photography and cartooning to drawing and painting.
The courses, which teach techniques, are designed around contemporary art and artists working in the past 50 years, Rogers said.
“Our approach is less traditional,” she added. “We’re trying to do something new.”
In the end, she explained, One River School helps people embark on their own art journeys and inspires creative thinking.
“Art helps us approach life with an open mind,” Rogers said.
“Times are changing and they’re changing fast. We’re going to need some creative thinkers to get over some bumps in the future.”
The first franchised One River School will open in Frisco, Texas later this month.
For more information on franchising, CLICK HERE .
The public is invited to a One River School of Art + Design opening reception 7-9 p.m. Friday. It will feature “Liminal Grove,” the new work of emerging New York artist JJ Manford.
The school is at 319 Franklin Turnpike.