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In April, I reported that the future of the Smithsonian Jazz Cafe, housed at the National Museum of Natural History, was uncertain. At the time, Leslie Whipkey, a marketing volunteer for the program, said she heard the cafe was “operating deeply in the red,” and worried that Smithsonian Business Ventures, which oversees revenue-generating elements of the Smithsonian, was “looking to pull the program.”
Well, according to Business Adventures spokesperson Linda St. Thomas, the jazz cafe is safe—-at least for a few more months. “The jazz cafe will continue to the end of the fiscal year, which is Oct. 1,” she said. “After that the museum will seek funding to continue it and it will be continued as a public program rather than a business operation…if they can find funding.”
St. Thomas says the jazz cafe, which was packed with paying customers the night I attended, “is much more expensive than it appears” due to labor costs and the amount of time the area must be closed for set up. “It’s not profit-making,” she says. “But it’s a great public program. The museum loves it and the jazz aficionados love it.”