We generalize some technical results of Glicksberg to the realm of general operator algebras and use them to give a characterization of open and closed projections in terms of certain multiplier algebras. This generalizes a theorem of J. Wells characterizing an important class of ideals in uniform algebras. The difficult implication in our main theorem is that if a projection is open in an operator algebra, then the multiplier algebra of the associated hereditary subalgebra arises as the closure of the subalgebra with respect to the strict topology of the multiplier algebra of a naturally associated hereditary C*-subalgebra. This immediately implies that the multiplier algebra of an operator algebra A may be obtained as the strict closure of A in the multiplier algebra of the C*-algebra generated by A.