On the surface, a collaboration between Guns N’ Roses/Velvet Revolver/The Cult drummer Matt Sorum and actress-comedian Jane Lynch (Best in Show, Glee, etc.) makes little sense. And yet they’ve come together through their shared love of the arts to try to help public schools, as budgets for the arts and music are continually brutally slashed.
Sorum co-founded the Adopt the Arts program with activist Abby Berman as a means to fund canceled music and arts programs.
“I started realizing what was happening in public schools,” the drummer says. “Charter schools and private school are a big divide, especially with race. I’ve always been a proponent of equality. So when I found out the public school system was cutting arts and music, I got really upset. I learned how to play music very, very young and I truly believe that was a savior for me. Obviously I became a professional musician, and I’m not saying we’re trying to create professional musician, but kids need a rounded curriculum.”
The first school adopted by the program, Rosewood Avenue Elementary in L.A., was outfitted with guitars, keyboards and drum sets.
“We’ve got about 25 other schools with LAUSD that we affiliate with now,” Sorum says. “We work with instruments, and we wrote our own curriculum last year. Now, the idea is to build the Adopt the Arts brand.”
Sorum met Lynch by accident, when he realized that she was renting the house next door to his. They started talking, she asked him if he would give drum lessons to her stepdaughter, and a friendship blossomed. So when Sorum wanted to assemble an Adopt the Arts board, he turned to Lynch.
“We have a lot of people like Slash and Juliette Lewis who lend their name and get involved when they can,” he says. “But Jane went further. She loved the cause, so she’s really been instrumental in stepping out for us. A lot of press. She has an amazing energy. I love her. She gets art and music, so she’ll be with me this weekend. We’re all busy but we take time to give back because that’s part of the process.”
On Saturday, Sept. 29, Adopt the Arts is teaming up with the California Pizza Kitchen in a fundraising effort. Simply put, anyone going into one of the 50 restaurants in this region and mentioning “Adopt the Arts” when placing an order will see 20 percent of their bill go to the program.
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“Now, the only incentive for you to do that is to be part of the fundraising,” Sorum says. “You’re not going to get any rewards for that. It’s just going to make you feel good. You eat the same meal and pay the same price, but California Pizza Kitchen will give us 20 percent of that purchase. So you’re gonna be part of the solution. The idea is, how much do people really care?”
Lynch and Sorum will be at the Century City store between 1 and 4 p.m., hanging out and working behind the cash register.
“We want people to come in, enjoy the experience and be part of the solution,” Sorum says.
For more information about Adopt the Arts, go to adoptthearts.org.