Cinema lights dimmed

It’s possible, but unlikely, that Grand Junction city officials can find some private organization to run the Avalon Theatre so that it breaks even financially.

In the meantime, by making it as difficult as possible for the Cinema at the Avalon to maintain a functional schedule, the city has effectively sent the most consistent user of the Avalon packing.

Cinema at the Avalon offered movies people weren’t likely to see at the large commercial theaters. Beyond that, the organization has kept the Avalon open most evenings each week, helping to make the theater a vibrant part of the revitalized downtown area.

On Thursday, the Cinema board decided its final film would be shown at the Avalon Nov. 13. This, just a few weeks after announcing it would scale back movies to one weekend a month.

Since then, it became apparent, “we could not successfully negotiate the terms of how we open one weekend a month, and because of that we were not able to do effective fundraising,” said Cinema at the Avalon board President Stephan Schweissing.

Cinema at the Avalon tried to make it as a full-time theater, but was unable to do so because its weekend dates kept getting bumped for other activities. In September and October, it was blocked from showing films on six of nine weekends, Schweissing said.

It’s been a poorly kept secret that some folks at City Hall or on the City Council don’t care much for the city’s involvement in the theater. They haven’t made it easy for the volunteer cinema organization to continue operating there.

It’s not likely that the Avalon’s future will be bright with Cinema at the Avalon gone dark, but perhaps that’s what the city wants.


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