Glendale Arts Elevates Two to Lead Organization

Two managing directors of Glendale Arts, the nonprofit organization that has managed the iconic Alex Theatre for years, were promoted to high-level executive roles this month and together will lead the group, starting Aug. 1.

Nina Crowe, who presently handles fundraising and special events, will be chief executive officer, while Maria Sahakian, who manages bookings, marketing and messaging for the theater, will be chief operating officer. The Glendale Arts Board of Directors unanimously approved the promotions.

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Alex Theatre: City’s Jewel Still Shines, Even While Dark

Photo courtesy Glendale Arts
The Alex Theatre, which is celebrating its 95th year, is the home to multiple resident companies. Above is a performance by the Los Angeles Ballet at the Alex in 2016.

It was with a different sort of fanfare that the Alex Theatre celebrated its 95th birthday this year.
There was no party, per se, no gala or soiree complete with the latest in ballroom fashion, trays of wine or special performances in the historic theater. In fact, since March, there’s been little-to-no action in one of the Jewel City’s greatest, well, jewels in its collection.
Save, of course, for the virtual telethon that served as the marathon birthday party for the venue, where its operating body served up $100,000 in donations to help the landmark soldier through the trials and tribulations of the coronavirus pandemic. While historic theaters throughout the nation, including elsewhere in Los Angeles County, face an uncertain future, the venerable Alex is already planning its centennial birthday five years ahead of schedule.
“Since COVID,” explained Elissa Glickman, executive director of Glendale Arts and, therefore, the Alex Theatre, “obviously we haven’t been able to do live performances and our effort has been focused on, how do we maintain our staff, maintain our 95-year-old building and how do we remain relevant?”
On top of the six-figure fundraiser from the birthday telethon, Glendale Arts has continued to otherwise seek prominent donations and funding. Federal coronavirus assistance and the Small Business Administration provided early loans and grants to help keep staff paid. In terms of relevance, the organization has endeavored to support its artists by launching an artist assistance program.
“We significantly ramped up our fundraising efforts,” Glickman said.
These efforts position Glendale Arts with the tools that will be necessary if they want to successfully pivot the Alex Theatre’s operations in the post-COVID era.

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