The Athens Artists Memorial Project

I first heard of the “Johnny B Fund” back in the 90’s after the passing of said namesake John Bartlet, a local musician, and all around “good dude,” whom we all knew and jammed with from time to time.

Over the years, I played countless fundraisers (as bassist for many local bands,) for the Johnny B Fund, and knew the money went to good causes such as Stuarts After School Programs, and music lessons for financially challenged individuals. I especially always enjoyed the annual Lennon Fest, put on by Scott Winland, at the Union, in Athens, Ohio.

It was in 2017, when my best buddy John Spataro suddenly passed away at the too young age of 47, that I got involved in this amazing cause. John’s brother, Lucian Spataro, and I got quite close as we got to know each other enduring the passing of Johnny, putting on his memorial, obituaries, and the like.

Lucian was interested in creating a memorial fund for his brother, and the suggestion was made to merge with the Johnny B Fund, and the “Johnny B/ John Spataro Music Fund” was launched.

Arts West Display

We went on to raise thousands of dollars, bought tons of instruments to those in need, and I personally began to become immersed in the the details of the charity… how it works, who donated, what causes we donated to, etc.

Then our buddy Rob passed in 2019 and it became clear, the name of the organization ( “Johnny B/ John Spataro Music Fund”) needed to keep up with the times. And AAMP was born. The Athens Artists Memorial Project. AAMP.

Roman with AAMP Beneficiary who got 8 free bass lessons!

Lucian and Lori Spataro then made a generous donation, which enabled our humble organization to get legit, with plenty left over to help local artists. We filed the paperwork and became an official 501C3 Non Profit Charitable Incorporation, of which I serve as Treasurer, and my wife Maria as Secretary.

AAMP & Blue Eagle Music donating to the Santa Tree Project.
This program puts instruments under Christmas Trees…

I am excited about this new charity. I think it can help a lot of people in Southeast Ohio get more exposure to the Arts, especially when arts programs around the country are getting cut due to budget cuts and Covid closures.

I am going to invest a good portion of my time to this new group. I really love all it stands for, and want to help the Athens Ohio Community in any way I can. I especially want to focus on courting “out of state money,” channeling that wealth to benefit arts in Southeast Ohio, and I will work consistently to grow the groups goals and focus. And I’ll keep ya’ posted! Donate today… its tax deductible!