Grand Performances is beyond thrilled that our determined leader of 28 years, Michael E. Alexander, has been awarded the Sidney R. Yates Award by the Association of Performing Arts Professionals for outstanding advocacy on behalf of the performing arts. Past recipients of this award includeNancy Pelosi, The Honorable Edward M. Kennedy and The Wallace Foundation.

Michael is a firm believer that access to the arts is a right, not a privilege. He’s spent his career bringing people together through the arts.  For the last 28 years he has been Grand Performances (GP)’ Executive Director, responsible for framing the mission and activities that have given GP America’s most diverse audience and national recognition for its exemplary programming.  He has joined and, often, chaired professional organizations’ boards serving dance in LA and throughout California; ethnic dance and ballet in the CA Bay Area; arts presenters statewide and regionally; the arts field in LA (including Arts for LA), in the state (three terms including chair of the Chairing the California Arts Council); and, non-arts nonprofits (California Association of Nonprofits and the International Visitors Council).

While serving as the City of Los Angeles’ Director of Performing Arts in the 1980s, Michael created a festival support program that resulted in the City’s first Deaf Arts Festival, the City’s first Black Choreographers Moving into the 21st Century Festival, and numerous other festivals that reached broader audiences than ever before, including a major Pilipino Arts Festival and Citywide Poetry Festival.

This model of advocacy influences many to contribute to communities through the arts.  A recent Executive Service Corps assessment of GP called Michael an “icon”. After reading the above, you know he truly is!

You can watch Michael’s acceptance speech at APAP by clicking here.


    Photos by Adam Kissick / APAP