One River School of Art and Design plans to open its first Chicago area location in downtown Evanston in May.
Paige Peavler, vice president of operations for CKC Enterprises, LLC, the regional franchisee for One River, says the concept for the school started on the east coast about five years ago with Matt Ross, the former CEO of the School of Rock, which also happens to have a location in Evanston.
Ross launched One River's first location in Englewood, New Jersey, "one river" west of New York City. It currently has three locations in the New York metro area, one in Texas and two others in addition to the Evanston site scheduled to open this spring.
Just as School of Rock teaches music with an emphasis on contemporary forms, One River takes its inspiration from contemporary artists.
Peavler says CKC plans to open a half dozen locations in the Chicago area over the next three years, but the first will be at 1033-35 Davis St., in the new building that replaced the Pine Yard restaurant that burned down a few years ago.
The One River site at 1033-35 Davis St.
Work is just beginning to build out the raw space in the building, and Peavler says they're already promoting summer camp programs for kids -- with 60 different camp offerings -- featuring half-day morning and afternoon sessions for students from kindergarten through 12th grade.
Peavler says the school also plans to offer classes for adults.
She says families can sign up for an annual membership for $35. Classes themselves typically cost $160 a month, with a class session each week.
The courses aren't designed with a fixed start and end point, she says, and students can jump into a program at any time.
In addition to painting and sculpture, the school will offer digital design classes.
Peavler says the company is currently hiring a general manager and director of art education for the Evanston location and then will look to hire three to five art teachers who can teach a variety of classes.
"Evanston and the North Shore have a long history of really being supportive of the arts," she says, "so we're really excited and feel like this is a good place for us to be -- with 27 schools within a three-mile radius of the site."
The school will have about 3,100 square feet of space in the Davis Street building, with space for three classrooms and an art gallery area up front that will display works from local artists.