First, we are excited to announce the promotion of Nina Crowe to Chief Executive Officer and Maria Sahakian to the role of Chief Operating Officer. Their primary focus will be on the sustainable COVID recovery of the Alex Theatre with their eye toward the theatre’s 100th birthday which is just four years away. Nina and Maria represent 30 years of experience in non-profit theatre management, budgeting, fundraising, and business development. Outgoing CEO Elissa Glickman will remain in an advisory role.
Under any other circumstance, we would be celebrating. But instead, we are disheartened. On June 15th, when the Alex Theatre (and the entire state) was opening up, we received some devastating news. The Glendale City Council met in a closed door session and voted to terminate negotiations with Glendale Arts to operate the Alex Theatre.
Two years ago, Glendale Arts management contract for the Alex Theatre came up for renewal, and the city and Glendale Arts negotiated an extension of the previous contract. In January 2021, the city issued a Request for Proposals for the Theatre’s operations. We answered with a 160 page proposal, which included a 10-year recovery and growth plan.
On April 20th, after an exhaustive and nationwide search, the City selected Glendale Arts as the single negotiator, and assigned city staff to negotiate the closure of the deal. In the nearly 2 months since the RFP award, Glendale Arts was never provided any specific benchmarks, numbers or scenarios to produce a mutual agreement. In good faith gestures to have a signed deal before the expiration of our current contract, Glendale Arts provided concessions to the City by reducing the proposed management fee by half with the exception of additional funding the first two years to assist with our COVID recovery.
No formal reason was given for the decision to cease and no further details were provided.
The closed session item of ceasing negotiations with Glendale Arts will be voted on in a public City Council meeting at 1:00 pm next Tuesday, June 29th.
On June 30, the previous contract extension will expire, and the Alex will be without an operator.
What can you do?
Glendale Arts is engaging our community supporters and partners, many of whom have written letters of support and called into City Council meetings already, to put pressure on Council to reopen negotiations with Glendale Arts and engage in a transparent conversation about the future of the Alex Theatre and the arts in Glendale. We do not know what is behind this sudden reversal, but we are doing everything we can to ensure that the Alex continues to be a beacon for lovers of history, the arts, and community.
We need your support more than ever! As a donor, supporter, and theatre-goer, you can speak with authority about what the Alex means to you and why Glendale Arts is uniquely qualified to operate the theatre.
It’s time to ask the City Council to support Glendale Arts rather than defund it, so we can get back to work. It’s time to move beyond these failed “negotiations” and together make a real plan for the Alex, its preservation, its care and maintenance, and the community.
Visit GlendaleArts.org for more information on the leadership change and how to take action today!
With Sincere Gratitude for your Support,
Glendale Arts Board
PS – Send an EMAIL TODAY to the City Officials to ask them to reopen exclusive negotiations with Glendale Arts:
Mayor Paula Devine: email@example.com
Councilmember Ardy Kassakhian: firstname.lastname@example.org
Councilmember Vrej Agajanian: email@example.com
Councilmember Dan Brotman: firstname.lastname@example.org
Councilmember Ara Najarian: email@example.com
City Manager, Roubik Goulanian: firstname.lastname@example.org
PPS – CALL into the June 29 City Council meeting at 1:00 PM (NOTE: THIS IS A SPECIAL MEETING TIME!) – this is when they will make the decision and your voice makes all the difference!
For public comments and questions during the meeting call (818) 937-8100
Join the meeting online: https://www.glendaleca.gov/government/public-meeting-portal
Tell them why you support Glendale Arts as the only choice for operating the Alex – is it the diverse and high quality programming we bring to town? The economic benefit to the surrounding restaurants and businesses? Have you seen first hand our care and preservation efforts for the historic theatre? Do you see how we use the arts to bridge generations, needed now more than ever as we return from the solitude of COVID? Maybe you have a first hand experience about the support we provide to other community organizations and the jobs we’ve created in order to fulfill our mission. Personal testimonials are powerful!
Meeting agenda for June 29 meeting: https://glendaleca.primegov.com/Portal/Meeting?compiledMeetingDocumentFileId=44111
PPPS – SHARE this message with your friends and neighbors! If we’re going to save the Alex as we know it, we need all hands on deck! Our social channels have posts you can share – follow us:
“You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice.” Bob Marley