Adopt the Arts launched in the spring of 2012, just as the school board was about to eliminate the entire budget for arts education in all of its 335 elementary schools. Although partial funding was maintained and art continues to be funded in various ways, the vast majority of LAUSD elementary school students are not receiving music or art at school. It is the mission of Adopt the Arts to provide music and art classes to all students, regardless of where they live or go to school. We are building a movement, one school at a time, by bringing together artists, musicians, donors, public officials, businesses, entrepreneurs and creatives from around the country.
Matt Sorum - Co-Founder, Co-Executive Director
Matt was born in Long Beach, California in the rock n' roll heyday of the 1960s. After watching the Beatles perform on the Ed Sullivan show he became entranced by Ringo Starr and knew from an early age that he wanted to be a drummer. The Beatles opened the door to Jimi Hendrix, Cream, and the Doors. At 14-years-old Matt was wailing with his band The Prophecy alongside the likes of Van Halen and Devo at the Whiskey-A-Go-Go and Crazy Horse West. Over the next few years, Sorum honed his chops in numerous session gigs with artists such as Shaun Cassidy, Belinda Carlisle, and King Solomon Burke, solidifying his reputation as a go-to studio drummer. Matt then joined the Cult, touring with Metallica and Aerosmith. In the summer of 1990 Duff McKagan and Slash of Guns n' Roses caught the tour-ending gig of that tour and were blown away by Sorum, inviting him to join Gn'R. After ten years with the band Matt turned his talents to behind the board, working with numerous artists and writing six movie soundtracks under the banner of Orange Curtain Records. Upon finishing a two year run with the Cult, Sorum, McKagan and Slash founded Velvet Revolver with Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots.
A Grammy Award winning musician and Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Sorum has made an everlasting impact on the world of music. Sorum continues to produce, make music, and tour with Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top and other musicians. Matt now devotes considerable time and energy to his philanthropic interests, and is especially dedicated to fulfilling his role as Co-founder and Co-Executive Director of Adopt the Arts.
Abby Berman - Co-Founder, Co-Executive Director
Abby grew up in Los Angeles. She attended UC Santa Cruz, where she minored in art and majored in Russian Studies, graduating with High Honors. Fluent in Russian, Abby moved to the Soviet Union just as the communist system was morphing into the Russian Federation. Abby was one of the first foreigners to receive a working visa in the newly formed Russia, initially helping to establish the first commercial radio station, Radio Maximum, and then going on to design and build the private homes of the Oligarch class.
After five years in Russia, Abby lived in England and Denmark where she continued to design for Russian clients. Abby eventually moved back to Los Angeles with her Danish husband to start a family and establish a design/build company. Once Abby's children were attending the local LAUSD elementary school she redirected her entrepreneurship to co-founding Adopt the Arts.
Abby lives in Los Angeles with her two children and is dedicated to mentoring up-and-coming artists and entrepreneurs.
Jane Lynch - Founding Board Member
Jane Lynch is the two-time Emmy winning host of Hollywood Game Night and an Emmy and Golden Globe winner for her portrayal of Sue Sylvester on Glee. She currently appears in on Amazon’s The Amazing Miss Maisel garnering her an Emmy win for her portrayal of Sophie Lennon. Lynch’s film credits include Wreck It Ralph I and II, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Talladega Nights, Role Models, Julie & Julia, A Mighty Wind, Best In Show, and For Your Consideration.
She made her Broadway debut in the 2013 production of Annie, and soon thereafter embarked on a live concert tour, Two Lost Souls with Kate Flannery. Their Billboard Top 10 holiday album, A Swingin' Little Christmas is available from iTunes, Amazon and other outlets.
Molly Shelby - Music Teacher
Am the daughter of a music teacher
Attended Berklee College of Music in Boston
Attended The Musician’s Institute in Hollywood
Attended San Jose State University in San Jose, CA
Studied Musical Theater as a teenager
Performed at Carnegie Hall in New York while attending a performing arts magnet high school
Studied classical piano and music theory
Can read and write music
Love helping children succeed
Never want to stop learning and growing"
Maraiya (Mai) McFadden
Born and raised in Los Angeles by a single mother who shared a passion and skill for music, Mai began living and breathing music from a very young age. Enrolled in vocal and piano lessons by the age of 5, she continuously focused on music throughout her life and later received a scholarship to the Integrated program at AMDA, (The American Music and Dramatic Academy) for college. She studied classical voice, music theory, music history, acting, and dance. Years after college, she ended up making it on the NBC TV Show, The Voice. While completely honored, she chose to go down a different path as she felt the show did not line up along with her morals. Shortly after that life changing moment, she signed with a small indie label, where she released an original EP along with her first music video. After parting ways with the label and in between music projects, she met Co-Founder Abby, and the instant connection made it clear to Mai that teaching music was the huge blessing she had been waiting for. Kids have always been an enjoyment to her, and now she was able to combine that passion with music. Her dreams are continuously met through her work with Adopt The Arts. She is constantly evolving, and inspired to grow both as an artist and an individual.
Pietro Arredondo - Marketing/Events/Graphic Design
Pietro Arredondo, born and raised in Texas, moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the arts on a whim. Once in Los Angeles he found his calling as a photographer, working with a long roster of up-and-coming visual and musical artists. Pietro is passionate about pursuing his art and supporting other artists by channeling his resources and energy into creating a community of like minded people. Aware of the importance of art in his early life, Pietro is dedicated to ensuring that Adopt the Arts fulfill its mission. In addition to his work with the charity Pietro continues to work as a photographer, videographer, and graphic artist.