The Mockingbird Foundation has announced a grant of three hundred dollars ($300) to the Detroit High School for the Fine and Performing Arts to help in the recovery from vandalism.

During the weekend prior to February 3rd, 2004, five persons entered the old Wilbur Wright trade school on Rosa Parks Boulevard and vandalized both personal and public property. They damaged or destroyed sixty items in the facility, including nine student-owned instruments, 32 school-owned instruments, and more than twenty drum heads. They also entered student lockers, damaging books, CDs, and more. It was the fourth time since last summer that the music room was vandalized. According to the Detroit Free Press, “Officials estimated the damage from earlier vandalism at $200,000. The [recent] weekend damage could be at least that much.”

The grant from the Mockingbird Foundation is an admittedly small piece of the total recovery. However, the Foundation hopes to maximize the impact of its contribution by inviting other Phish fans to support the recovery. They may do so by donating directly to the school (mailed to 4333 Rosa Parks Blvd. Detroit, MI 48208), by making a targeted donation to the Foundation to be relayed to the school, or by supporting the various Foundation fundraising efforts which have provided the funds for this grant.

The Mockingbird Foundation was incorporated by fans of the band Phish in 1997. Funds are raised through a book, album, direct donations, benefit events, and premiums such as water bottles. Later this year, the Foundation will release the second edition of The Phish Companion, a 900-page book about the band and its music written entirely by volunteers.

The High School for Fine and Performing Arts (DSA), one of Detroit’s schools of choice, is the dream of its founding principal, Dr. Denise Darcel Davis-Cotton. She envisioned a smaller public high school open to the entire city that emphasized academics and arts. In early 1992, her proposal for such a school was accepted, and that fall the doors opened to a 9th grade class of approximately 90 ninth graders. DSA now has an enrollment of about 520 students in grades nine through twelve and is considered one of Detroit’s finest schools.

For more on the fire, see these Detroit Free Press articles: