This Schoolhouse Really Rocks

Ah, elementary school, when a kick in the shins was a sign of affection, you actually kind of looked forward to riding on a bus and the most pressing issues of the day usually involved the choice between chocolate or regular milk (but, really, is there any contest?). And then there was the time those international Rock stars donated a bunch of autographed and personalized items to be auctioned off on eBay so your school could stay afloat.

What? That never happened to you? Well then you are not a current student at Portland’s Buckman Arts Magnet Elementary. While public schools are lopping off music and arts education at an alarming rate (call it Bush’s “No Child Left Behind … Unless They Have an Interest In the Arts” plan), Buckman incorporates music and art into daily lesson plans. When the school fell into some financial troubles recently due to a decrease in enrollment, the Portland (and beyond) music community stepped up and offered rare, cool artifacts to help make up for the funds. To keep all of the staff they currently have, the school is looking to raise $100,000. Some rabid Modest Mouse fan might pay that entire amount for this really groovy little guitar crafted by Isaac Brock (love the Folk Art detailing — kinda reminiscent of Howard Finster’s work):

(Photo: Willamette Week Online)

The auction, which begins on eBay Sunday, also features items from fellow Pacific Northwesters like Dandy Warhols (t-shirt, band-used maracas and harmonica), plus hand-painted mini-guitars from The Decemberists, Janet Weiss (Sleater-Kinney/Quasi) and ex-Pavement frontdude Stephen Malkmus. Personalized items are also available from Lyle Lovett, Guy Clark, The Shins and, uh, Bon Jovi. Go here for more info.

Oh, and those shopping for a Memorial Day present for me (I know there are a lot of you), please note that I really like that Brock item (hint, hint). Hey, it’s for a good cause!

— Mike Breen

Explore posts in the same categories: Arts & Music

2 Comments on “This Schoolhouse Really Rocks”

  1. Every Cincinnatian Says:


    We do have our own non-profit group locally that promotes music education and music history in our elementary schools – free of charge. The Cincy Blues Society’s “Blues in the Schools” program has been very successful in cultivating an interest in and appreciation for music among local students.

    As local musican John Redell says on the Society’s website,, “I count it an honor and a privilege to play even the smallest of parts in inspiring an interest in music on any level. When I look back over the years and see how music has been such an important part of my life, the thought that just maybe some young person will want to learn to play an instrument of their choice because of one of these presentations is truly wonderful.”

    Will our school administrators take the Society up on its offer to provide this free program in their classrooms?

  2. citybeat Says:

    Word. Thanks for posting that EC; it is a special program. Now if they could just get some rock and blues stars to give ’em some items to auction and help them raise some serious money. I’m not sure how active that program has been this school year.

    And of course we have our awesome SCPA here in town. For-profit, but still an interesting way to intro kids to music are Marc Hoffman and Sonny Moorman’s Rock School ( and the new Boot Camp Jamz (

    A hearty “heck yeah” to what John Redell says. Today, public schools are being so restrictive in the classroom thanks to teachers being forced to “teach to the test” (the OGTs in particular). And don’t get me started on the lack of public interest in supporting pretty much any tax levy that would help schools. Maybe now that it’s taking sports away from some schools, people wiill be inspired to stop the decline. Arts education is a vital part of shaping the brain and creating well-rounded citizens. It will be a shame when that’s all gone from the public schools.

    On a national level, VH1’s Save the Music foundation ( really seems to be doing a lot of good work. At the very least they are raising a lot of attention about the issue.

    – breen

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