CROSS CULTURAL CONVERSATIONS PANELIST- MICHAEL ALEXANDER, Executive Director, Grand Performances , Member and Past Chair, California Arts Council
In 1990, following a 22 year career as a performer, manager and curator of programs, Michael Alexander became Director for the free public concert series now 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 on serving the entire community, developing innovative marketing efforts designed to reach beyond the already-culturally-involved members of the community and developing supportive relations with local artists and arts organizations.
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 2016 and continues to serve as Immediate-Past-Chair.
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 Los Angeles’ Aman Folk Ensemble. He can still ride his unicycle forward! He has worked for non-profit dance companies including serving as the first Executive Director of Aman and as Company Manager for the San Francisco Ballet, managed his own artists agency, and served as the Director of Performing Arts for the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. He lives with his wife, pianist Victoria Kirsch, in the Mt. Washington district near downtown Los Angeles.