Cultural institutions in the Seattle area founded by the late Paul Allen, including the Cinerama Cinema and Living Computers Museum + Labsface the possibility of permanent closure after Vulcan Inc. announced on Wednesday that Vulcan Arts + Entertainment and Vulcan Productions will be discontinued by the end of the year.
In a statement from Vulcan, the organization referred to the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to further evaluate its development as an organization after the death of Allen, Microsoft's co-founder, in 2018.
While the ongoing health crisis has resulted in numerous companies being shut down during government-mandated closures, Vulcan's move raised the question of whether some of its organizations would ever return.
The move affects the historic Cinerama, which has undergone renovations that have been stopped by the pandemic. Living computers: Museum + Labs, a historical showcase of computer technology and interactive exhibits; Seattle Art Fair, a showcase for modern and contemporary art in Seattle; the Museum of Flying Heritage and Combat Armor in Everett, Wash .; and more.
The full explanation from Vulcan Inc .:
Like so many companies worldwide, the economic impact of the COVID 19 crisis requires Vulcan to evaluate its size and structure to maximize effectiveness and impact, and to evolve as an organization after the death of our co-founder. We made the extremely difficult decision to close two business units over the next few months in order to move into a future that will be indescribably changed by the pandemic. This means that we will handle both Vulcan Arts + Entertainment and Vulcan Productions by the end of the year.
The pandemic has devastated many businesses and nonprofits, particularly those who rely on public gatherings and special events to accomplish their mission.
For this reason, Living Computers: Museum + Labs will remain closed for the time being and will check whether, how and when reopening will be necessary in the coming months. The renovation of Cinerama has already been interrupted due to the pandemic and will remain closed for the foreseeable future. The Seattle Art Fair, which has already been canceled for 2020, will take some time to see how the situation and the calendar of the art world develop before further plans are made. Similarly, the board of directors of the Flying Heritage and Combat Armor Museum in Everett has decided that it will remain closed for the time being to determine whether, how, and when to reopen it. We also made the extremely difficult decision to permanently close the h Club LA and are starting the application process to close the original h Club in London.
Vulcan Productions will again work with its trusted partners and co-producers this year to handle and convert projects. They will do their best to prepare these projects for success if we step out gradually.
We are proud of the hundreds of thousands of people who have been trained, entertained and inspired by these unique institutions and film projects, and their global impact should not be underestimated. Vulcan remains committed to its mission of making the world a better place and to leave, and we thank each and every team member for the dedication and commitment they have shown on a daily basis. With their expertise and passion for our mission, we have achieved so much in these projects over the years.
Allen's death left a void in the Seattle philanthropic art scene as a long-time advocate of music, art, film, and science fiction, and spent vast sums of his wealth on persecuting these passions.
Vulcan's future and the multitude of holdings near Allen, including the NFL's Seattle Seahawks and the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers, were led by Allen's sister Jody Allen a few uncertain years ago.
The Pop Culture Museumor MoPOP, another creation by Allen, was not listed by Vulcan among the organizations facing uncertainty, and Vulcan said the Music and Science Fiction Museum was an independent 501 (c) 3 organization owned by the decisions are not affected.
Cinerama, the high-tech cinema that Allen bought in 1998, underwent a major technology upgrade in 2014 and closed in February for further changes. With what was being charged as a temporary closure at that time before COVID-19, Vulcan fired a number of employees.
An update from Cinerama. pic.twitter.com/MuWEIJfdhG
– Seattle Cinerama (@SeattleCinerama) May 27, 2020
An update from Living Computers: Museum + Labs. pic.twitter.com/mdHIbTdzma
– Living computers: Museum + Labs (@LivingComputers) May 27, 2020
The Upstream Music Fest and Summit, launched by Allen as a three-day showcase of diverse musical talents, lasted two years before it closed before the event could take place in 2019.
Vulcan added on Wednesday that the operational challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic have forced the Petrel research vessel to dock over the long term and that it will not be used in the foreseeable future. The finding of numerous shipwrecks was attributed to the ship hunting petrel acquired in 2016.