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$17.5 billion, Allen’s NEW ART INSTITUTE

Pivot Art + Culture: Seattle’s New Art Space

7/24/2015

SEATTLE, July, 24, 2015 – Vulcan Inc., founded by investor and philanthropist Paul G. Allen, today announced Pivot Art + Culture, a new non-profit institution focused on sharing art with the Seattle community at large. The space will be located in South Lake Union at the corner of Westlake and Mercer inside the new Allen Institute building.

Pivot Art + Culture will curate and promote compelling art installations, programming and exhibitions and as the name suggests, it will pivot and explore a variety of cultural concepts at any given time. It will feature work from private and public collections in our community and the world at large, as well as pieces from the Allen Family Collection.

“Mr. Allen has a great passion for art and believes it should be accessible to everyone,” says Mary Ann Prior, director of art collections at Vulcan. “Pivot Art + Culture will continue the evolution of the South Lake Union neighborhood as a cultural destination, and our non-traditional programming will offer visitors the chance to see and experience art in new ways.”

Ben Heywood will serve as the director of Pivot Art + Culture. He joins us from the Minneapolis visual and performing arts venue, The Soap Factory. He will be responsible for sourcing, curating and producing art installations in the space.

“I am honored to work with Mr. Allen and Vulcan to produce thought-provoking and inspiring exhibitions and artists’ projects at Pivot Art + Culture.” says Heywood. “Seattle is rapidly growing as a center for art and culture and we are thrilled to offer Pivot Art + Culture as nexus for that growth. The plans we have for the gallery will ensure it will become a local culture destination for years to come.”

Varied art installations supported by compelling programming at Pivot Art + Culture will provide visitors ranging from the neighboring technology and the bio-medical community, to art enthusiasts, patrons and collectors, to Seattle residents and tourists with a unique experience.

Pivot Art + Culture will open winter 2015.

Ben Heywood posed in “Pledge Project,” a 2014 installation at the Soap Factory. Photo by Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune

Ben Heywood in the installation "Pledge Project" at The Soap Factory Monday afternoon. The piece, by artists Shana Berger and Nathan Purath, explores the ritual of the Pledge of Allegiance. They recreated a one room schoolhouse based on the historic Perault School near Red Lake Falls, which Purath's grandfather attended in the 1920's.   ]   JEFF WHEELER • jeff.wheeler@startribune.com     The Soap Factory's Executive Director Ben Heywood is donning a curator's hat for "Americana," a look at American politics and culture through 3 videos, 4 installations, and a photo project by nine emerging artists. The show is the British-born curator's effort to assess "the assumptions and stereotypes of this mythic land, my adopted home."
Ben Heywood in the installation “Pledge Project” at The Soap Factory Monday afternoon. The piece, by artists Shana Berger and Nathan Purath, explores the ritual of the Pledge of Allegiance. They recreated a one room schoolhouse based on the historic Perault School near Red Lake Falls, which Purath’s grandfather attended in the 1920’s. ] JEFF WHEELER • jeff.wheeler@startribune.com The Soap Factory’s Executive Director Ben Heywood is donning a curator’s hat for “Americana,” a look at American politics and culture through 3 videos, 4 installations, and a photo project by nine emerging artists. The show is the British-born curator’s effort to assess “the assumptions and stereotypes of this mythic land, my adopted home.”

Former Minneapolis art curator Ben Heywood will head Pivot Art + Culture, a new non-profit announced Friday in Seattle by Paul G. Allen, art collector and Microsoft co-founder. Heywood was hired last month by Allen’s private company, Vulcan, but neither his duties nor his new title were stated then.

Pivot Art + Culture will be a 4,000 square foot, two room gallery located in the Allen Institute for Brain Science, a research facility that the venture capitalist and philanthropist is developing on the edge of downtown Seattle in the South Lake Union neighborhood. Scheduled to open in December, it is intended to be a cultural magnet in an area known as a tech and bio-medical hub.

“It’s a marvelous job and I’m extremely excited about it,” Heywood said, adding. “Allen is a great guy with extremely deep pockets and I think we can do some very exciting things here.”

Heywood is still developing Pivot’s program but said it will combine pieces from Allen’s collection with the kind of experimental art that he worked with at The Soap Factory, the unconventional Minneapolis visual and performing arts space he ran for nearly 13 years prior to taking the Seattle job.

“It will combine alternative programming with traditional museum practices,” Heywood said. “We want to produce exhibitions that people like and enjoy that also have great artistic integrity.”

The Soap Factory recently named David Fey as interim executive director while it launches a search for Heywood’s successor. Fey is a Senior Consultant with Cincinnatus, an advisor to nonprofit organizations, with experience in leadership transitions.

With a personal fortune estimated at $17.5 billion, Allen has the means to indulge his interests in sports (he owns the Seattle Seahawks football team and the Portland Trail Blazers basketball team) and art. In the past 25 years he has donated more than $100 million to arts and culture organizations while amassing a 300 piece private art collection that ranges from a 1625 painting by Jan Brueghel the Younger to a contemporary “spot” painting by Damien Hurst.

Forty landscape paintings from his collection will be shown in “Seeing Nature,” opening October 10 at the Portland Art Museum. The show, which includes masterpieces by J. M W. Turner, Claude Monet and Gustav Klimt, will travel to Washington, D. C., New Orleans and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts next year before closing at the Seattle Art Museum in early 2017.

Allen’s company, Vulcan, also is a chief sponsor of the Seattle Art Fair.

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