The Athens Artists Memorial Project remains dedicated to funding underprivileged Southeast Ohio artists after becoming official 501(c)(3) organization

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In December 1994 the Athens art community unexpectedly lost musician John Bartlett, also known as Johnny B.

In tribute to Bartlett, a number of his friends organized a concert the following spring to raise funds in his name for low income children to take music lessons at Blue Eagle Music in Athens. One of Bartlett’s friends involved in the effort was Doug Brooks, known by many as “R@T.”

Brooks could never have predicted what he and his friends were putting into motion, nor how enduring the legacy of their friend would be.

Almost 30 years after Johnny B’s passing, the informal Johnny B Fund that Brooks and his friends created has been renamed the Athens Artist Memorial Project (AAMP, for short) – and thanks to a generous donation from Lucian and Lori Spataro earlier this year, the group has been officially named a 501c3 non-profit charity. Brooks is now the President of the Board of AAMP.

From left to right, Athens Artist Memorial Project (AAMP) President of the Board Doug Brooks, Blue Eagle Music owner Frank McDermott, and Robin Webb from Athens County Children Services pose in Blue Eagle Music in Athens, OH. AAMP was an informally run charitable fund known as the “Johnny B Fund” for many years before being renamed and becoming an official 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. (

Initially the group had been dedicated simply to making it possible for low income children to take music lessons, but in the almost 30 years since its creation, AAMP’s scope has widened considerably, and the group is now working to fund a variety of artistic endeavors for those in the region who are unable to otherwise afford doing so.

Roman Warmke, treasurer for the group, as well as Brooks, spoke to WOUB Culture about what becoming a 501c3 means for the organization, how folks can get involved, and what’s up next for AAMP in the coming months. Listen to their conversation, embedded above, and find more information on how to support AMPP on their website at