Md. State Arts Council to delay some grants
The Maryland State Arts Council will delay its payment of $175,000 in grants to individual artists until the next fiscal year in order to meet state-mandated cutbacks in its current budget.
Jim Backas, executive director of the MSAC, told a meeting of the arts council last month that the council was told in September that it had to cut $350,000, or 5 percent, from its general fund appropriations. But he said that the MSAC had already disbursed 85 percent of its funds in awarding some $5.6 million in grants to state arts organizations and county arts councils.
Rather than cut programs entirely, Mr. Backas said the MSAC decided to defer some $265,000 in grants -- including the $175,000 for individual artists, which are typically made in May -- until the beginning of the 1992 fiscal year July 1. Those funds would be subtracted from the MSAC appropriation next year but could be absorbed more equitably by all grant recipients, he said.
Other MSAC programs whose grants will be deferred are the arts in education and arts advancement programs.
In addition to the deferred payments, the MSAC is also trimming $85,000 from its administrative budget. The bulk of that money is coming from not filling one previously authorized position and delaying for six months the filling of another.
Mr. Backas said grant applications from individual artists were up from 675 last year to nearly 900 this year.
He said the MSAC would receive more money this year from the National Endowment for the Arts as part of a new funding formula approved by Congress this year sending more money to the states. But he said no decisions could be made on how to spend that money until it was known what, if any, restrictions the NEA might place on it.
BSO seeking blacks
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra has sold about 250 tickets for a five-concert sampler series designed to attract more African-Americans to the symphony.
John Gidwitz, executive director of the BSO, said that means that for the series, which begins Thursday with a concert conducted by black conductor James DePriest, the audience at Meyerhoff Hall will be at least 10 percent black. "For us, that's real progress," he said.
Center Stage panel
An hourlong panel discussion on Center Stage's currenproduction "O Pioneers!" will be held today beginning at 4:20 p.m. at the theater.
Panelists include Howard Horwitz, professor of English at the University of Utah; Sharon O'Brien, professor of English at Dickinson College; Miles Orvell, professor of English and American Studies at Temple University; and composer Kim Sherman. The moderator is Rick Davis, Center Stage associate artistic director.
The discussion is free. For information, call 685-3200.
Recital by Merritt
Internationally acclaimed tenor Chris Merritt of Pikesville wilmake his first major Baltimore appearance tonight at 7:30 at the Beth El Congregation, 8101 Park Heights Ave.
Mr. Merritt -- who opened the 1988-'89 and 1989-'90 opera seasons at LaScala in Milan, Italy, and made his Metropolitan Opera debut Nov. 30 -- will sing 14 arias and songs, including works by Scarlatti, Donizetti and Rossini. Accompaniment will be provided by pianist Aileen G. Hammerman.
Tickets to the concert are $15, $25 and $50. For information, call 484-0411.
Angelou to speak
Distinguished author Maya Angelou will discuss the blacexperience in American literature and society Thursday at 8 p.m. at Johns Hopkins University's Shriver Hall.
Ms. Angelou, author of "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" and other works, is the final speaker in the 1990 Milton S. Eisenhower Symposium "Dreams Deferred: Perspectives on Race Relations."
Admission is free. For information, call 338-7160.
The following auditions are coming up:
* Act Two Dinner Theatre is holding auditions Dec. 17 and 18 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. for two boys and two girls, ages 6-12, and 8 men and women for a production of "Fiddler on the Roof."