Inspired by Oscar® Nominated Short ‘The Last Repair Shop,’ the LAUSD Education Foundation Launches $15 Million Campaign To Support Musical Instrument Repair Shop - AmNews Curtain Raiser


Friday, February 23, 2024

Inspired by Oscar® Nominated Short ‘The Last Repair Shop,’ the LAUSD Education Foundation Launches $15 Million Campaign To Support Musical Instrument Repair Shop


Inspired by Oscar® Nominated Short ‘The Last Repair Shop,’

the LAUSD Education Foundation Launches $15 Million 

Campaign To Support Musical Instrument Repair Shop

Ben Proudfoot and Kris Bowers' Oscar®-nominated short documentary, "The Last Repair Shop," distributed by Searchlight Pictures and L.A. Times Studios, inspired the establishment of a fund to support a music repair shop in LA deeply resonated with us.

Here's the crux: The Los Angeles Unified School District Education Foundation is set to launch "The Last Repair Shop Fund," a $15 million capital campaign aimed at bolstering the future of its previously overlooked Musical Instrument Repair Shop. This initiative includes a student apprenticeship program designed to cultivate the next generation of instrument technicians.

The downtown workshop, founded in 1959, is the subject of Ben Proudfoot and Kris BowersOscar®-nominated short documentary, The Last Repair Shop,” distributed by Searchlight Pictures and L.A. Times Studios, which profiles four of the twelve technicians who work every day to maintain over 130,000 musical instruments provided by the district to public school students. Los Angeles is the last major city in America to provide free and freely repaired instruments to its students.

Ben Proudfoot, Photos by Molly OKeeffe

Los Angeles Unifieds investment in music has produced some of the greatest luminaries in music for decades,” Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho said. This shop is one of the cornerstones of what makes Los Angeles the creative capital of the world. Ben and Krisfilm has created extraordinary excitement and support, and the time has come to call on forward-thinking leaders in this city to ensure that no child in Los Angeles who wants to play an instrument will ever be denied that opportunity.”

Kris Bowers, Photos by Molly OKeeffe

The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation was an early supporter of the capital campaign. The Last Repair Shop” introduces us to the work and care of craftspeople equipping students with the instruments that allow them to explore their musical curiosities and talents,” said Gerun Riley, president of The Broad Foundation. We applaud LAUSDs commitment to sustaining the repair shop, and we hope others will be inspired to help ensure LAs students have access to high-quality instruments, music facilities, and apprenticeships for generations to come.”

Ben and I cant think of a better impact for our film to make,” said The Last Repair Shopco-director Kris Bowers. I came up learning piano on an LAUSD upright. I know firsthand what having access to a working instrument can mean for a young kid who yearns to express themselves through music. And we are so excited that the LAUSD Education Foundation and The Broad Foundation have been inspired by our film to launch this worthy campaign that will change the lives of young Angelenos for generations to come.”

The announcement was made during a public event on February 20 at Hollywood High School featuring a screening of The Last Repair Shop and a special musical performance by an all-city marching band.

Co-director Kris Bowers, along with Searchlight Pictures, made the first gift of the campaign by giving a restored 1913 Steinway & Sons K-52 upright piano to Third Street Elementary School, where Kris Bowers attended as a young man.

Steve Bagmanyan, the shops supervisor and one of the technicians featured in the film, was, coincidentally, the person who tuned the pianos at Bowers elementary and middle schools. He said of the campaigns launch, We get to the shop and start working before the sun rises. We do our work quietly and proudly. And so the light that The Last Repair Shophas brought into our shop and lives has been both unexpected and deeply moving.” He continued, The creation of this capital campaign is a godsend because it will enshrine this shop forever, and ensure that students who love music in Los Angeles will always have an instrument in their hand. And thats what its all about.”

The campaign will support investments in the Repair Shops infrastructure and support staff, ensuring that skilled craftsmen are equipped to support the Districts music program for years to come. It will also support the development of music and arts pipelines across schools – so that students can access a continuity of music and arts programs in the neighborhood schools.

The film, which has already garnered several major accolades including an Oscar® nod and the Critics Choice Documentary Award for best short, is available to view for free on L.A. TimesYouTube channel, along with Disney+ and Hulu. The results of the Oscars® will be announced at the Dolby Theater on March 10.

Public donations to The Last Repair Shop Fund can be made at

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