Foundation cancels Student Showcase at Alex Theatre

The Student Showcase — an annual visual and performing arts fundraiser that featured Glendale students on the stage of the Alex Theatre — has been placed on a one-year hiatus as organizers retool the event and try to recharge sponsorships.

The Glendale Educational Foundation, the nonprofit organization that spearheads the event, announced the move on Wednesday. Mia Lee, president of the foundation, said a combination of scheduling conflicts and a tepid economy prompted the cancelation.

“The timing was such that with all the things that are happening in the city, and the economic downturn, it was a lot harder to go out and pull sponsorships,” Lee said.

Launched in 2006, the Student Showcase was a shared production between the foundation, the Glendale Unified School District, Glendale Arts and the city of Glendale, organizers said. It traditionally took place in early June, and featured acts by students from throughout the district. The show regularly attracted an audience of more than 500 mostly family and friends of the performers. Tickets were $10.

The cost and labor required to put on the showcase was shared by stakeholders. Glendale Arts, which operates the Alex Theatre, spent about $5,000 annually on the event, said Chief Executive Barry McComb.

The Glendale Educational Foundation’s contribution included soliciting sponsors and administrative responsibilities, Lee said.

The cancelation will impact the foundation’s bottom line since the event generated between $25,000 and $30,000 annually for the foundation, Lee said. But the revenue had to be weighed against other factors, she added.

“That is obviously a concern because it is a fairly small operation that we have, everything makes a difference,” Lee said. “However, of all our events and activities, it does bring in the smallest amount. It also involved a lot of work.”

The Glendale Educational Foundation, revitalized in 2004, has contributed more than $500,000 in donations, and supplemental education and athletic materials during the last six years, Lee said.

Glendale school board President Joylene Wager, who was a member of the showcase subcommittee, said that organizers spent months discussing how to freshen up the event, part of a larger effort to rebrand the foundation.

They moved the show from a Friday to a Thursday, and began to look for original acts.

“As we contacted different school groups, it was just hard…because some of them were already busy, they have their own concerts or theater programs,” Wagner said.

That, combined with the lackluster response to requests for sponsorships, made canceling the show this year the right move, she said.

“It is probably time to take a fresh approach,” Wagner said.

Foundation officials said they plan to retool and restage the show in 2012.

“It was a question of, do we start forcing people to do this, and finish this, because it is scheduled, or do we step back and refocus our energy and do it better next year?” Lee said. “That is what the committee has decided to do.”

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