But maintenance costs for the aging venue are up 35.8%, and no amount of cost cutting and reorganization could compete with consumers who, given the barrage of negative financial headlines, are holding back on discretionary spending, city and theater officials said.
Mayor John Drayman, who has assumed a leadership role on the arts at City Hall since his election in 2007, said the anemic report was not unexpected given the steady economic decline.
In hard times, he said, people cut back on niceties and instead focus their budgets on the necessities.
“The first fruit cut off the tree is the luxury items,” Drayman said.
The Alex Theatre was on an upward trend in the first half of the fiscal year as it recovered from the debilitating Writers Guild of America strike, with event activity up 21%.
But the economy started sliding before descending into a free-fall that has prompted unprecedented government intervention.
The Glendale Arts Board — formerly known as the Alex Regional Theatre Board until it was restructured under a more independent nonprofit system this year — was forced to make a $60,000 inter-company loan from a user-fee account to meet cash-flow needs in the fourth quarter.
Roughly $20,400 of that money has been repaid so far, according to the report.
“We really didn’t expect the downturn we have now,” said Barry McComb, executive director of Glendale Arts.
Anticipating the sharp decline when ticket sales started dropping, Glendale Arts held off on new programming ventures and instead focused on core business projects, he said.
The nonprofit rolled out its new Web-based campaign, secured funding for its free outdoor concert series for next spring and is preparing to launch its Internet portal for citywide arts information and events in January.