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Jonas Brothers heart the Grammy Museum this much: $75,000

January 8, 2009 |  7:00 am

The Grammy Museum is starting 2009 with a little love from the Jonas Brothers. The teen-pop superstars have pledged to donate about $75,000 to the recently opened institution in downtown Los Angeles. The info was revealed by the museum's executive director, Robert Santelli, at a Wednesday-night discussion on the opening of the facility.

The Jonas Brothers, Santelli told a crowd of just under 200, toured the museum in late December and cut a check soon after. An official announcement is forthcoming, but Santelli said the Jonas Brothers donation has been earmarked for the museum's education efforts, specifically to help cover transportation costs for schools to visit the museum. The Jonas Brothers run the Change for the Children Foundation, which raises money for charitable donations.

"And the Jonas Brothers will be driving the buses," joked AEG President/CEO Timothy J. Leiweke. AEG is the company overseeing the development of L.A. Live, the $2.5-billion  sports-entertainment-residential complex that houses the Grammy Museum. While the Jonas Brothers certainly won't be acting as chauffeurs, the boys are up for best new artist at this year's Grammy Awards, which will be held Feb. 8 at L.A.'s Staples Center.

As previously reported, the $34-million Grammy Museum was built largely with AEG money (the city of Los Angeles kicked in about $12 million in community redevelopment funds). Santelli said earlier that AEG had agreed to "financially support" the Grammy Museum for 10 years.

The Grammy Museum has ambitious plans for 2009. Santelli tipped that the institution will soon announce a concert at the next-door Club Nokia. Additionally, the Grammy Museum has a broad slate of education programs, including after-school classes on music production and family sessions on music history. 

The museum's goals won't all be realized with AEG funding. For instance, Santelli noted, in responding to a question from an audience member, that the Grammy Museum is seeking a sponsor to fund bilingual podcasts to cater to the museum's non-English-speaking visitors.

In addition to outlining the museum's objectives, much of Wednesday night's event focused on the decision to bring the facility to Los Angeles. Other participants included Recording Academy head Neil Portnow; famed producer and Recording Academy Chairman Jimmy Jam; and Jeremy Regenbogen, creative director of the museum's design firm Gallagher and Asccociates.

Before finding a corporate partner in AEG, the Recording Academy looked at other cities, including New Orleans and Memphis. AEG's L.A. Live project, however, cemented Los Angeles as the location.

Jimmy Jam noted that the corporate entity also had made an impassioned pitch to the Recording Academy, offering up early tours of Staples Center and modifying designs to better suit the televised awards. The last time the Grammys were held outside of Los Angeles was in 2003, when New York's Madison Square Garden played host to the awards.

Why stay in L.A.? AEG offered up the sweetest deal. "We give them the Staples Center for free," Leiweke said. 

Wednesday night's discussion was the facility's first public program. Next week, the museum will play host to Brian Wilson for a Q&A and a brief acoustic performance, and on Jan. 21, jazz composer Charlie Haden will appear at the museum's 200-seat theater.

--Todd Martens

Photo credit: Carlos Chavez / Los Angeles Times