A space that allows both children and adults to get artsy is opening its first Suffolk County location in Port Jeff Station.

One River School, an art and design school, is opening its first location in Suffolk County at the former Massage Envy space in the Nesconset Shopping Center on Route 347 — sharing the same strip mall that houses Carnival Restaurant and HomeGoods.

One River was founded in 2012 by the former CEO of the School of Rock, Matt Ross, who embarked on a new mission to transform art education in America.

Just a few years later, the franchise is now establishing its 13th location when the Port Jefferson Station studio opens this month.

The school offers monthly membership that offers multi-level and multi-medium courses. Some classes include sketching and painting, but they also offer unique courses for comic book making and photography.

Projects rotate every three-to-five weeks and are never repeated.

“The way we work is you sign up for the class you want and you come every week for that class by paying monthly,” said Jacquelyn Lipp, director of the new shop. “It’s ongoing enrollment, so it’s convenient… you can start whenever you want.”

With small class sizes that cap out at 15, exhibits are held in the lobby where local artists and even students can showcase their work for sale.

One River also prides itself on teaching students about current and living artists, who will come in to talk and teach, as well.

“People are learning about current and interesting and compelling and relevant and important artists who are working today, in addition to old masters,” Lipp said.

The finishing touches on the multi-room space are being finalized, but the grand opening is on its way. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned for Feb. 29 and classes will begin March 2. During this week, promotions will be available to customers who are interested in trying out a class or two, for free.

“Our job is to make sure the kids are engaged,” said Matthew Boskin, owner of the store. “We want to instill confidence, creativity and communication skills in a fun, safe and stress-free environment.” 

Top: An inside view of a One River School (credit: online)

Outside view of One River in Port Jeff Station by Julianne Mosher