Please Help! Keep Our Beautiful, Historic Avalon Theatre on Catalina Island Open!

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Melinda Benson
Melinda Benson signed this petition

PROMOTE FEES: This petition is not accepting or collecting donations for the theatre. We are not aware of any active, official fundraising campaigns to keep the theatre open, but we will inform everyone who wants to donate if any are established. Please read any change.org prompts to pay a fee to promote this petition very carefully. These fees are used by change.org to promote the petition and are not collected for the theatre. 

On November 7, 2019, The Santa Catalina Island Company abruptly announced its plan to close Avalon's beloved theatre because the operating costs are too expensive and hinder their "good business strategy". The Island Company blames online streaming services and royalty payments for a decline in profits, but they did not seriously explore any of the many viable alternative options available, nor did they seek any input or assistance from the community they serve. They simply sent a letter of termination to theatre employees and summarily issued their edict to Avalon.  

This iconic theatre is a true historic treasure boasting a host of singular distinctions under its starry, domed ceiling. The Avalon theatre is housed on the ground floor of William Wrigley, Jr.'s stunning architectural vision come-to-life, the Catalina Island Casino. Opened in 1929, the theatre is one of the oldest, continuously operating theatres in existence today. It was the first theatre built for "talkies" or movies with sound, and is considered a vanguard in the field of acoustic engineering. It is home to breathtaking murals by world-renowned artist, John Gabriel Beckman, and to its original, fully operating Page Pipe Organ. The lobby is a perfectly preserved time-capsule of Art Deco splendor with velvet furnishings, dark walnut wood paneling, and Tiffany light fixtures. 

Though its historic significance is alone enough to justify its preservation, it is not the only--or even the most important--reason that we must save this theatre. The picturesque, jewel-box town of Avalon on Catalina Island is not just a pretty postcard or a curated vision for visitors. Avalon is a real community made up of real people, working hard and raising their families in a small American town. Though it is truly a gift to be able to raise your children in the most beautiful place in the world, its remote location forecloses many family leisure activities that mainlanders can take for granted. Most residents happily accept the tradeoff, but depend all the more on the precious few social/entertainment options available for their families. The Avalon theatre is the most beloved and cherished of these options. Generations upon generations of Avalon locals have grown up going to the movies here and this planned closure has broken our hearts. 

This will also be a devastating loss for visitors, upon whom the economy of the island and the Santa Catalina Island Company, itself, depend. Many of these visitors return year after year and seeing a movie at our beautiful theatre is an experience they look forward to as a highlight of their trip.

Please help us to implore the Island Company to keep this treasure open for locals and visitors to enjoy. The Island Company has made many controversial changes to the Island and to Avalon in recent years and most have suffered them in silence. It's time to raise our voices. Your signature here will not only show the Island Company how vital and important this landmark theatre is to so many different people for so many different reasons. Your signature will also demonstrate that being respectful of and accountable to the community that makes your business possible is the "good business strategy" they should employ.