Executive & Artistic Director
In 1990, following a 22-year career as a performer, manager and curator of cultural programs, Michael Alexander became the first Artistic Director for the free public concert series presented by Grand Performances in Downtown Los Angeles at California Plaza. From the organization’s very beginning, he set the tone for Grand Performances’ approach to programming, with an eye to serving the entire community and to developing supportive relationships with the local arts community.
He recently said, “I am proud that Grand Performances has grown into an award-winning concert series that focuses on the cultural diversity of our city, and that we have developed innovative community-involvement programs that have resulted in the most diverse audiences in the country. We see our program as a model for the strong role that the arts can play in building healthier communities everywhere.”
In 2004, then-California State Assembly Speaker Herb J. Wesson appointed Alexander to serve on the California Arts Council. In January, 2007, his colleagues elected him Chair of the Arts Council and re-elected him to a second term in 2008. He was re-appointed for a term through 2012 and continues to serve as Immediate Past Chair. He also serves on numerous non-profit arts and community service boards where his skills in policy development, government affairs and community relations are regularly put to use. His strong belief that the arts play a vital role in building healthier communities is evident in the direction that Grand Performances takes in programming, marketing and community relations.
A native Angeleno, he started his professional performing career as a teenager, working as a clown in the Los Angeles City Circus and as a dancer in the Aman Folk Ensemble. He can still ride his unicycle forward!