The Last Repair Shop: A Win for Arts Education

At this year’s Academy Awards, we witnessed The Last Repair Shop win an Oscar for Best Documentary Short and met one of the featured student musicians in the film,12 year-old Porchè Brinker. As noted by Co-Director, Kris Bowers, “[The Last Repair Shop is] a testament to understanding how broken something is—and fixing it anyway. And it’s a tribute to those who toil away, largely without thanks, in service of helping the next generation grow in harmony.”

The Last Repair Shop is also an important reminder of the continued struggle for adequate arts funding in Los Angeles, and across the United States. Implemented this 2024 school year, California’s Proposition 28, the Arts and Music K-12 Education Funding Initiative, requires dance, media arts, music, theatre, and visual arts to be accessible in every school and grade level. Ensuring students have access to working instruments is just one of many needs. 

Providing arts engagement opportunities, like we saw first hand in the film, can amplify learning, improve mental and physical health, increase cognitive and mental function, reduce stress, and improve well-being.

Here at Arts & Healing Initiative, all of our programming is conceived through this lens. One such example is our Beat the Odds®: Social & Emotional Skill Building Delivered in a Framework of Drumming program, which provides these benefits and other core strengths such as focusing and listening, team building, leadership, expressing feelings, managing anger/stress, empathy, and gratitude. School districts across the U.S. continue to invest in and implement this evidence-based and trauma-informed program, and we are excited about our forthcoming Youth Empowerment version for peer-leaders. 

It’s fitting that the Academy gave the Oscar to a film that reminds us that the positive impact of music, and service, can last a lifetime—just as we’re celebrating the continued impact of arts participation during this month’s Music in Our Schools Month®. We invite you to join us by taking extra time this month to listen to your favorite playlists, consider the impact of this art form in your life, and support music in education and beyond.

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