After 12 years of elevating the Alex Theatre to its current iconic status as the cultural and artistic center of the community, the future of Glendale Arts and of the historic Alex Theatre as we know it is in peril.
On June 15, Glendale City Council met in a closed door session and voted to terminate negotiations with Glendale Arts to operate the Alex Theatre. Although Council had already voted to award the contract to Glendale Arts in April, the city has refused to provide official feedback explaining their change of position. On June 30, the existing contract will expire and the Alex will be without an operator.
Mayor Paula Devine, City Council meeting, October 2019:
“The Alex Theatre is really meeting the needs of Glendale. The theatre is in fact an economic generator. When people come to the Alex Theatre for programs, they shop, they dine, they enjoy the Glendale experience, and that’s really important.”
“I see how hard the staff at the Alex work to make this theatre successful, and there is no one on this green earth who could do a better job at bringing our community to enjoy this beautiful theatre, to bring residents from other communities here.”
Glendale Arts is uniquely qualified to operate the Alex, due to deep and broad community relationships, historical and restoration knowledge, and award-winning business management practices. Unlike so many other arts organizations, Glendale Arts’ accomplished executive team was able to guide GA through the COVID crisis, sustaining its operations and preserving jobs by pivoting to virtual events and booking TV, movie, and commercial shoots at the venue, building a framework for future growth.
There is no viable alternative operator ready to step in upon Glendale Arts’ departure. Without Glendale Arts, the city will face lost grant revenue and bookings. Alex Theatre staff will be unemployed and the vibrant artistic hub we all enjoy will become a cultural vacuum. Our resident theatre companies will be homeless, and the nearly 100-year-old theatre will be without educated caretakers.
Councilmember Ardy Kassakhian, campaign website: “A community that invests in the arts and makes it a priority is synonymous with a city that takes pride in itself and its citizenry.”
As Glendale residents, lovers of community, history, and the arts, and supporters of Glendale Arts, we ask Glendale City Council to reopen negotiations with Glendale Arts to manage the Alex.