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Ben Heywood in Shana Berger and Nathan Purath's The Pledge Project, 2014

Microsoft Mogul Paul Allen Hires Minneapolis Curator to Run New Seattle-Based Art Center

The curator Ben Heywood will be leading Pivot Art + Culture, a new Seattle-based nonprofit announced Friday by Microsoft cofounder Paul G. Allen, reports Mary Abbe in the Star-Tribune.

The two-room gallery will occupy four thousand square feet of the Allen Institute for Brain Science. Heywood said that he’s planning to “combine pieces from Allen’s collection with the kind of experimental art that he worked with at the Soap Factory,” a nonprofit arts space he's run for nearly thirteen years.

“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.”

In the past two decades Allen has given over one hundred million dollars to culture institutions, while also building a 300 piece art collection of his own. His new art center may be another sign that the tech magnate wants to build Seattle into a new contemporary art hub—some have surmised that his influence is bringing galleries like Gagosian to the new Seattle Art Fair, taking place this weekend. The fair is backed by Allen’s venture, Vulcan Inc.

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