Former Guns N' Roses drummer Matt Sorum appeared before the California state legislature this past Wednesday to make the case for renewing funding for the arts in the state's public schools. Sorum is founder of the Adopt the Arts Foundation, which is devoted to arts education in public schools.
The 53-year-old musician testified in Sacramento in favor of returning state funding for the arts to California public schools, which lost arts programs with the passage of Proposition 13.
Sorum told lawmakers at a hearing of the Joint Committee on Arts that as a result of his being exposed to the arts while he was in school he became a musician, and joined The Cult, Gun N' Roses and Velvet Revolver. Sorum made it a point to mention that "Guns N' Roses and Velvet Revolver have always been California companies...[which provide] millions in revenue [and work] employing...thousands of people." Sorum also said he believed that if he had gone to California public schools after Proposition 13, which was passed in 1978, "you could be looking at me right now from outside a jail cell, where you would be paying $57,000 a year for me to be there."
He added, "I'm surrounded by creative people every day and stimulated beyond my wildest dreams. But there is nothing more exciting than seeing a child discover his or her potential."
Sorum's testimony provided ammunition for California State Senator Ted Lieu's planned bill to reintroduce funding for school arts programs.
Sorum co-founded Adopt the Arts to "save the arts in America's public schools." Its Board of Directors and Advisory Committee include Slash, Jane Lynch, John Stamos, Billy Bob Thornton and Gina Gershon, among others.
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