The duCret School of Art

It all started with a woman's dream!

Artist and teacher Marjorie Van Emburgh founded the School in 1926. In the early part of the twentieth century, Plainfield was a bustling cultural center and this provided Ms. Van Emburgh the perfect location to start a high quality art school. Because of its location students were able to receive an excellent education without the added expense of moving or commuting into Manhattan or Philadelphia.

In the early thirties, the School’s teaching staff included such prominent artists as Jonas Lie, N.A., John Carlson, N.A., Yasno Kuniyoshi and William Zorach. By 1936 the School had outgrown its original quarters and obtained space in the Babcock Building, located in the center of the Plainfield business district. In 1964, the Van Emburgh School of Art was acquired by Dudley V. duCret and became the Van Emburgh/duCret School of Fine and Industrial Art, a privately owned institution. Ms. Van Emburgh remained a faculty member until 1975.

In 1970, the school officially became a private, non-profit corporation under the name “The duCret School of the Arts Inc.” That year, Philadelphia sculptor, Boris Blai, and nationally known portrait artist, Furman Finck, joined the faculty. Seven years later the school moved to its present location at 1030 Central Avenue in a historic section of Plainfield.

The school is now situated on a seven-acre campus in a wooded residential area. In 1980, the school sponsored its first annual New Jersey High School Student Art Show. The objective of this exhibit was to showcase the work of New Jersey’s talented high school students. Over the past 30-plus years the duCret School has exhibited the art of over 10,000 students representing 125 New Jersey high schools. 

As the school grew, the need for quality educators increased, and notable artist / teacher Frank Falotico acquired the role of Director. The Faculty was complemented with nationally known illustrator Peter Caras, whose expert guidance has produced countless commercial illustrators. In the 1990’s, duCret’s faculty gained even more prominent artists such as J. Brian Townsend, Paul W. McCormack and Vince Natale, among others. Since then, the School has added Computer Graphics to its program, in order to bridge the traditional artswith the latest technology. This has resulted in a comprehensive visual arts center that is comparable to city art institutions.

Although it's mission to teach the basic principles of art has remains constant, the melding of computer and internet classes has had a tremendous impact on art education. Today duCret continues its long tradition of providing quality art education. The school is designed for individuals who want to immerse themselves in the study and pursuit of excellence in all visual art mediums. It's training program specializes in developing artists to a professional career level, with special emphasis on training individuals to become the next generation's, visionary entrepreneurs.

The programs of the School are under constant reassessment by the administration, the teaching staff of working professionals, the Board of Trustees, and outside advisors. The duCret School of Art continually evaluates all aspects of its programs, and updates equipment and courses to meet student needs.

                                                                            Marjorie Van Emburgh

                                                                            Marjorie Van Emburgh

OUR Mission


Since the school’s inception, our mission has been to create an institution in central New Jersey where students can obtain an art education comparable with that of the nation's top art schools and academies found in most major American cities. No longer do students have to travel to NYC, Philadelphia or out-of-state to obtain professional training in the arts. By remaining in New Jersey, tuition and travel costs are cut tremendously, offering artists more opportunity to spend time developing their art skills.

duCret’s objective from the very beginning, has remained constant in it's commitment to provide students with an intensive professional art education, from within a dynamic, yet personalized environment. The small studio classes at duCret allow for close interaction between students and practicing artists and designers who serve as faculty members and mentors. Though duCret can function as a stepping stone to a college degree, the professional art training program within the school is geared specifically toward enabling students to become self-sustaining entrepreneurs as well.

The Teacher / Mentors

A prerequisite for all of the faculty members at the duCret School of Art is that they must be actively working artists in their respective fields. Students are not only taught the fundamentals of their chosen mediums, they are also mentored by faculty members who have actually walked in their shoes and who are constantly endeavoring in the art field. This teacher / mentor style of instruction enables students to absorb in all aspects of the reality of a 'lifestyle of the working artist'. Mentor teachers are enabled to bring professional clients to the classrooms, to orchestrate field trips to the studios and businesses of other working artists, and they often invite students to participate in shows that they themselves are actively participating in. Many teachers belong to artists clubs and personal introductions can often open doors and offer networking connections to emerging student artists - right through their training years at the school.


                                                                         Clients in The Classrooms

Through the alumni, faculty members and public relations department, students are regularly exposed to professionals and local companies in need of services such as; brochures, websites, posters, logos, banners, stained glass repair, and children's book illustration, etc. Students meet clients, and learn to work within budgets and schedules and in the end, they provide a service to the community while building their portfolios with actual job samples.

For over 85 years, duCret has provided a unique cross-disciplinary approach to teaching. By blending the visual arts together we are able to effectively train students to have a broad base of knowledge this has helped our students become artists who adapt and excel in the ever-evolving art world. Countless successful and prominent duCret alumni have 'given back' to the school in the form of financial assistance and specialized art demonstrations. Many have actually personally mentored or employed emerging duCret graduates at their now successful companies and galleries.