Teaching Art Through the Lens of Living Artists

Matt Ross, Founder, One River School of Art and Design talks with Steve Adubato about his focus on teaching art through the lens of living artists and bringing art education to the suburbs.

2/23/29 #3133






"We're pleased to be joined by Matt Ross, Founder, One River School of Art and Design. Good to see you Matt. Nice to see you. Describe your organization. Yeah, so we're different. We are an art school that really teaches through the lens of living artists. We're trying to create experiences that really celebrate the art of today, through a method and a process that we created, wrote, and have now been executing over six plus years. We're in nine locations in five states. And we've got an ambitious plan to grow and bring arts to communities around America. You know, you were talking right before we got on the air, you have a background in broadcasting? Yeah. For about 20 years. You said... Yes. ...you were the general manager of a significant... Yes. ...radio station in this market. Yes. What made you think that there was, dare I use the term again, a market for what you're doing? Yeah. So what's interesting is there's a stepping stone. So in 2005, I've left, I left radio broadcasting for 20 years. And went to invest in, and be the CEO of "the School of Rock" which is a... That's... national network of music schools? Yeah, we've done features on it. Yeah, and I built that business from about 5 to 55 schools in four years. And recession hit, we wound up bringing on an institutional investor. I stayed on for a year and left. When I left in 2010, I sort of stepped back and said go back to work for corporate America and commute... Mm hmm. ...or build on what I've been doing. And I really had this inquisitiveness and curiosity about childhood and adolescent development. And I really was intrigued by visual arts, and contemporary art. And I wanted to explore it. So I got my 10,000 hours in about 18 months of self-discovery and education. And went to work building business plan. I'm curious about this. Arts education, you'll be part of a larger discussion we have on this subject, with three other colleagues. Yeah. When it comes to arts education, why are we so far behind? I don't know that anyone is ahead of the curve. What do you mean? So, I think we beat ourselves up a lot, you know. Arts is always the stepchild, it doesn't get funding. The fact is, we live in a world where most people think from the practical lens, and they think through the vocational lens. And they have led, been led to believe, because we were raised this way, that there's a struggling artist's potential in our kids, and we don't want that for them. What happens is, it becomes a case of arrested, sort of, development in the sense..."