Growing up in Westport, Alyson Luck was surrounded by art.
Her mother enrolled her in kids’ and adult classes. She studied with Carol Young in that gifted instructor’s garage, then with Roe Halper in her noted studio.
“I was always part of an after-school group,” the 2000 Staples High School graduate recalls. “My art friends and I always had a place to go, and be together.”
At the University of Michigan she majored in art history, and discovered museum education. She earned a master’s in the field from Bank Street, then spent over a decade at New York’s Jewish Museum and Guggenheim. She managed teaching artists, worked with educators and directed family and teacher programs.
Along the way, she and her husband started a family. They moved to the suburbs — in fact, into the house she’d grown up in.
“Most people get stuck living in their parents’ home,” she says. “But I love this little cape. This was my dream.”
However, raising 2 small children meant she left her great job behind. She never thought she’d find anything like it here.
Not long ago though, she spotted a listing on Indeed for the One River School in Westport. You haven’t heard of it yet. But you will.
Founded in 2012 in Englewood, New Jersey — “one river” west of New York City — by former School of Rock CEO Matt Ross, One River School of Art + Design aims to transform art education in the US.
Drawing students of all ages — with classes less structured than traditional “art schools,” and featuring a contemporary focus — One River offers year-round programs, a flexible curriculum, and instruction in a variety of art forms.
Its 11th school opens soon in part of the former Bertucci’s restaurant, on the Post Road near the Sherwood Island connector. Its director: Alyson Luck.
She’s excited by Ross’ vision, and invigorated by the chance to bring One River to the newly refurbished, easily accessible and airy space. (“I realized I always studied art in a basement,” Alyson laughs.)
For younger artists, One River will provide project-based classes, taught by a contemporary artist. Adult classes are less structured.
The school will run year-round, not the traditional “semester” model.
The Bertucci’s space will include 3 classrooms, and a digital design lab. There’s a gallery too, for emerging artists to show their work. The target for opening is early May.
“We’re modernizing art education for everyone’s busy lives. This is not just for retirees!” Alyson says.
Alyson envisions One River to be an integral part of the town’s art scene. She’s encouraged that although it’s not yet open, it’s already making waves.
She’s heard from a number of artists — and organizations like the Artists Collective of Westport — welcoming One River to town. “They tell me about the importance of arts to the community,” she says. “They don’t know I grew up here! I totally get it.”
Art has been Alyson Luck’s life. Now she’s getting ready to bring art to her former and current hometown — in a space everyone knows, re-purposed for the future.
(For more information on One River Westport, click here.)