Budget ax kills state magazine

October 03, 1991|By Linell Smith | Linell Smith,Evening Sun Staff

THE STATE'S planned budget cuts will erase a part of Maryland's self-image: Maryland Magazine, the publication started by Gov. Spiro T. Agnew, to "portray, in an interesting manner, the quality of life in Maryland."

By claiming the magazine's five employees, the cuts will kill the award-winning quarterly which also publishes three Maryland seafood cookbooks.

Yesterday the Board of Public Works approved a budget-cut package which would trim $450 million to balance the state budget.

Maryland Magazine is the only cultural division under the Department of Economic and Employment Development to be eliminated. Although three positions were taken from the budget of The Maryland Film Commission, that agency will survive by merging with The Maryland State Arts Council.

Maryland Magazine published its first edition in 1968. Acknowledged as a standout among state magazines, it is known for the quality of its photography and the thoughtfulness of its writing. Last year it beat out more than 1,000 publications to win Magazine Week's "Magazine of the Year" award in the Regional Lifestyle category.

A recent issue featured a tribute to the state's vanishing lighthouses, a feature on Baltimore tugboats, the latest in a series of articles about Maryland's rivers and a profile of Oriole, a town in Somerset County which became one of the largest black farm and fishing communities on the Eastern Shore.

"You don't expect to see those kinds of things in a puff-piece magazine," says publisher and editor Patrick Hornberger.

He says Maryland Magazine is "more cerebral" than most state magazines because 90 percent of its readers live in Maryland, primarily in the Baltimore-Washington corridor. More typical state magazines, such as Arizona Highways, are tailored to appeal to largely out-of-state audiences.

The state spends roughly $183,000 a year to publish the magazine, Hornberger says. A combination of subscriptions, gift sales and bus tours raises about $700,000 to pay the remainder of Maryland Magazine's operating costs.

The state does not yet know how much it will save by folding the magazine because it must first refund money to roughly 30,000 paid subscribers. Overall circulation is close to 40,000.

The last issue of the magazine has not been determined yet, Hornberger says.

Other decreases in funding to arts and culture programs include:

* Cuts of 10 percent in grants to the state's 146 arts institutions and organizations, to the 23 county arts councils and to the Mayors Advisory Committee on Arts and Culture for a savings of $513,000. Anticipating state budget cuts, however, the Maryland State Arts Council withheld these funds from its grants awards in July.

* The arts council's arts advancement program will be eliminated for a savings of $250,000. MSAC will try to find funding so that the 20 organizations which are already participating in the program can finish their respective segments.

* MSAC cuts also eliminate a vacant post of deputy director budgeted for $65,757 in salary and benefits.

* The Governor's Office of Art and Culture will lose one of its five full-time staff positions.

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