Glendale Arts has a lot to celebrate at its Summer Soiree party on Aug. 5.
“There was so much to celebrate that we couldn’t settle on one thing,” Maria Sahakian, COO of Glendale Arts, told the News-Press. “The soiree will mark our 15th anniversary, introduce people to our new home [at ace/121 Gallery] and will be the official launch of our new membership program, SCENE, as well as be an informal kickoff for the Glendale International Film Festival, which will be taking place the next month.”
While Glendale Arts has primarily focused on performing arts in the past, the opportunity to set up shop at ace/121 Gallery became an avenue to expand its mission to incorporate visual arts as well. The organization plans to operate the gallery as a multidisciplinary venue, connecting artists and audiences by staging art exhibits, live performances, screenings, conversations, readings, classes, workshops and special events.
“The city was looking for someone to activate the space and we’re really good at looking at a blank slate and figuring out how we can bring it to life,” Glendale Arts CEO Nina Crowe told the News-Press. “So that’s how we landed on having a new space and it’s just perfect.”
Sahakian commended the gallery’s versatility, saying it’s perfect for visual art exhibits as well as live performances.
In an effort to further its mission of connecting artists and audiences, Glendale Arts is introducing SCENE, a new membership program that will offer benefits and discounts for Glendale Arts’ events as well as for participating organizations’ events such as Antaeus Theatre, Laemmle Glendale and the Museum of Neon Art. Sahakian and Crowe emphasized the social aspect of SCENE as a way to get to know people in the community and experience art together.
The name for SCENE, which stands for “showcase, connect, engage, network and experience,” is “multipronged,” said Sahakian.
“Obviously, you have scenes in a film, you have scenes in theatrical performances, and there’s also the social aspect of the program, so like a scene of people,” she said. “[The acronym represents] essentially the five pillars of what a participating member would do as a SCENE maker, as we call it.”
Sahakian and Crowe also highlighted the upcoming Glendale International Film Festival, which Glendale Arts ran for the first time last year. This year’s festival will take place from Thursday, Sept. 28, through Thursday, Oct. 5, and will feature a plethora of films screened from all over the world as well as award ceremonies. The filmmakers selected to screen their work will be notified on Friday, Aug. 4, and announced publicly the following day at the Summer Soiree.
While the film festival accepts work from all over the world, Sahakian emphasized its connection to the Glendale community.
“This area is so rich with creators of all different disciplines and who have all sorts of talents and skills,” she said. “And we really want the festival and Glendale Arts to become a hub where locals can connect and experience their peers’ work together and be proud to have a festival that represents the city that they’re affiliated with.”
Other programs and events put on by Glendale Arts include Solo Fest and the Fiscal Sponsorship Program, which partners with Music Path at Herbert Hoover High School, Glendale Out and Life Child, an organization that works in storytelling with incarcerated youth. This year’s Solo Fest took place in May at the Antaeus Theatre and featured six days of individual performances in a variety of genres.
Crowe is excited for the direction Glendale Arts is heading and spoke to the organization’s “desire to really represent the community with the art that we do, and also impact the communities through the arts, whether that’s creatively or economically.”
To RSVP for the Summer Soiree, visit bit.ly/GASummerSoiree23. The event is Aug. 5 from 6 to 9 p.m. at ace/121 Gallery, located at 121 N. Kenwood St.
First published in the July 29 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.