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 Uniting communities through art, education and enterprise

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Greenway Court Theater

Greenway Institute for the Arts

Melrose Trading Post

Mission & History

MISSION

Greenway Arts Alliance unites communities through art, education and social enterprise. Through our professional theatre productions, educational programs and the Melrose Trading Post, Greenway builds a vibrant artistic community.

History

Greenway Arts Alliance is a community-based partnership of professional artists working with the community of Los Angeles for nearly 20 years. Greenway Arts Alliance was founded by professional artists committed to forging a deep connection with the surrounding area including the public school community.

 

Since its inception, Greenway Arts Alliance has modeled an innovative partnership with the Fairfax High School campus to leverage community resources that connect the professional artistic and public education communities around a commitment to learning and creation in the arts.

 See The Timeline

Staff

  • Whitney Weston

    Co-Founder/Co-Artistic Director

    Whitney Weston Co-founded Greenway Arts Alliance with Pierson Blaetz in 1997. A lifelong activist, Whitney is committed to keeping the arts and community working together. Both within and outside of Greenway, Whitney has produced and performed in numerous shows and has earned recognition from the NAACP, Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle, LA Weekly and the 2011 Women in Theatre Red Carpet Award.

    • Pierson Blaetz

      Co-Founder/Co-Artistic Director

      Pierson Blaetz co-founded Greenway Arts Alliance with Whitney Weston in 1997.  He has spent a lifetime integrating the worlds of art and business.  As a social entrepreneur he has founded several businesses, including “Free Time,” a volunteer placement service, and “infoLink,” an information retrieval service.  As an artist, Pierson has produced, directed and performed  in numerous film and theatre projects and has earned recognition from The Drama Circle Critics, NAACP, Garland Awards, LA Weekly and – way back when – The Dramalogue Award for Best Male Performance.  Pierson has been recognized for outstanding service by the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office, LA City Council, and LAUSD’s School Board and Administrators’ Union.

      • Phloe Pontaoe

        Director of Operations

        Phloe brings over two decades of experience functioning as a key operative in both community-based as well as corporate spheres. She had a wee stint working in big entertainment, specializing in launching US-based partnerships for multi-national film production companies –  although she shudders when thinking about it. In addition to her twenty-year history of working in arts education and nonprofit management, Ms. Pontaoe has conned several places of higher arts education into giving her frilly pieces of paper with letters on them. She continues to foment a plan to fake her own death – in order to dodge repayment of the grad school loans which made her prematurely gray in the first place.

        • Ty Donaldson

          Producing Director/Managing Producer

          Ty Donaldson became the Producing Director at the Greenway Court Theatre in February 2013. He has been involved with Los Angeles theatre for over twenty years as an actor, director and producer; and in the marketing and publicity of theatre in LA. He is very proud to represent Greenway as a member of the Theatrical Producers’ League of Los Angeles – Intimate as a member of the Leadership Council.

          • Jeffrey Porter

            Technical Director

            Jeffrey Porter handles light, sound and projection design for Greenway Court Theatre as well as for other theatre and industrials based in Los Angeles. He has designed a variety of musicals on Theatre Row, trade show booths at the LA Auto Show and NAMM; and a wide variety of corporate events. He designs lighting regularly for several schools around California. He is the Technical Director for Nathalie Gaulthier’s Le Studio, an aerial arts school in Culver City and for the Greenway Court Theatre. Jeffrey has received an NAACP Los Angeles Theatre Award nomination for lighting design, an Ovation nomination for sound design, and in 2015, received a Broadway World San Francisco award for best lighting design.

             

            Learn More about GCT

            • Natalie Iturbe

              Vendor Curator & Marketing Manager

              has worked for Melrose Trading Post since 2011, identifying and managing over 200 vendors each week. Natalie is a local artist and member of the Los Angeles Art Association, with nearly 10 years of event planning and management experience. She completed the Nonprofit Leadership Development Program at the Center for Nonprofit Management and has trained in community-based social marketing. Natalie grew up in Los Angeles going to flea markets and thrift stores with her family, and she loves the thrill of a “thrifted find.”

              • J Scott Shonka

                Operations Manager

                J Scott has been managing operations for Melrose Trading Post since 2012. His expertise in handling logistics was heightened by his military experience. A graduate of the United States Military Academy, he was qualified as Airborne and Ranger for the Army, served in the Gulf War (1991), and received an honorable discharge with the rank as Captain. Currently, he is a member of the Screen Actors Guild and has acted in numerous film and television projects.

                • Jessica Valle (Vendor Coordinator)

                  Vendor Coordinator

                  Jessica started with MTP as a Fairfax High School student in 2007. Over the years, she worked hard to gain more responsibilities and move her way up the ranks to her current full-time position. As the vendor coordinator, Jessica helps new vendors through the booking process and makes sure they are fulfilling the Greenway standards and requirements for selling in the market. Her passion is writing, and she is focused on creating short narratives. Jessica is currently enrolled in a local community college and looks to transfer to a university to study forensic science and creative writing.


                  • Patrick Weinbrecht

                    Vendor Assistant

                    began working for Greenway in 2010, and what started out as a part-time gig has become a labor of love. During the week, he assists Natalie and Jessica with coordinating the massive task of vendor bookings. On Sunday, he handles the logistics of processing stand-by vendors — a challenging, time-sensitive, balancing act with many different variables in play — and also handles online PayPal invoicing for the market. In Natalie’s absence, he serve as a back-up vendor manager. His professional experience includes over 15 years in account management, customer service and sales, plus 10 years in accounting and bookkeeping.

                     

                    Learn More about MTP

                    • Heaven NezCree

                      Director Of Arts

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                      • Baja Poindexter

                        Teaching Artist

                        A Chicago native, Baja has received dance training in Ballet, Modern, Jazz, Tap, African and Hip-Hop with Najwa Dance Corps., Muntu Dance Theatre, Deeply Rooted Dance Theatre, Columbia College Chicago Dance Dept. and the Joel Hall Dance Center. For the past six years, Baja has used her dance training and performance experience to provide underserved and at-risk youth positive outlets in their communties.

                        • Brandon Rainey

                          Teaching Artist

                          Brandon Rainey has been writing & directing plays for the last 12 years and recently began working on development for television as well as Screenwriting. He started teaching in 2007 when he accepted the position at Washington Preparatory High School and then as Artistic Director of ICEF Public Schools overseeing 15 schools theater program.


                          • Lodric Collins

                            Teaching Artist

                            A veteran of the United States Marine Corps. and a graduate of Southern University, Lodric D. Collins is an educator, actor and producer with a genuine desire to see teens and young adults succeed. Having worked with both middle school and high school students Mr. Collins approaches the classroom with a style that guides students towards greatness – each day asking them to claim their “Wins”.

                            • Avril Speaks

                              Teaching Artist

                              Avril has over eighteen years of experience as a filmmaker to include credits as a producer, writer, director, and editor. Upon graduating from Columbia, Avril worked in development for USA Films (currently Focus Features), then went on to work for the Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers in NYC. She has directed two award-winning feature films, and has directed and edited numerous short films, documentaries, music videos and commercials.

                               

                              Learn More about GIA

                              Board

                              • Chair

                                Molly Miles

                                Marketing & Sales, Immersive Marketing

                              • Secretary

                                Sarah Starr

                                Consultant and Professor Emeritus, USC

                              • Treasurer

                                Mario Padilla

                                Professor, Santa Monica College

                              Supporters

                              Current Funders

                              • California Arts Council
                              • City of West Hollywood
                              • The David Geffen Foundation
                              • Earl B. Gilmore Foundation
                              • Los Angeles County Arts Commission
                              • Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs
                              • National Endowment for the Arts
                              • The Weingart Foundation

                              Friends of Greenway

                              • The Actors Studio
                              • James Starr
                              • Lisa Blake Richards
                              • Mike Himelstein
                              • Stephen Mendillo
                              • Steve and Laura Mayer
                              • Wilson Fitzgerald

                              Contact

                              Greenway Arts Alliance

                              544 N. Fairfax Avenue

                              Los Angeles, CA 90036-1771

                              info@greenwayartsalliance.org

                              Tel (323) 655-7679

                              Fax (323) 655-7906