Senator wants quarterly arts grants
Arts organizations could wind up losing more money in budget cuts for the next fiscal year if a proposal by a state legislator is approved.
State Sen. Barbara Hoffman, D-Baltimore, vice chair of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, says she will try to add language to the fiscal 1993 appropriation of the Maryland State Arts Council requiring that it issue grants on a quarterly basis.
When the state had to make budget cuts this year, Ms. Hoffman says, she was dismayed to learn that arts council budget could be trimmed only 10 percent because the remainder of the funds had already been distributed. (The council, anticipating the cuts, had voted last June to hold back 10 percent of the more than $5 million in grants it disburses.)
Ms. Hoffman, who describes herself as a "big supporter of the arts," says it is only fair that the arts bear a proportionate share of the burden in times of economic difficulty and says other recipients of state funds, such as private colleges, already receive their money quarterly.
Arts administrators, who sell season subscriptions based on a schedule made up far in advance, say getting grants quarterly instead of in one lump sum at the end of the summer would definitely affect their operations.
"It would certainly affect planning and budgeting if you're not sure you would be receiving the money," says Rosemary Faya, executive director of the Handel Choir of Baltimore.
Museum of Art events
Cultural events scheduled for the the Baltimore Museum of Art's Meyerhoff Auditorium will go on as planned during the BMA's two-week closing in mid-January and on Tuesdays and Thursday evenings when the museum will be dark, a spokeswoman said.
Marge Lee said the Meyerhoff Auditorium would remain open for events by the Baltimore Film Forum, Pro Musica Rara and African Spirits series. "These are contractual commitments we have made," she said. "It would be difficult not to honor them."
Because of the city budget crisis, it was announced earlier this month that the BMA would: close from Jan. 20 to Feb. 3, after the end of the current blockbuster Monet exhibit; close all day Tuesdays; and no longer have evening hours on Thursdays.
Art benefiting music
"Art '91," the Baltimore Choral Arts Society's second annual art exhibition and sale, opens with a reception Friday night and runs through Dec. 1.
The exhibit -- held at the Conference Center at Sheppard Pratt, 6501 N. Charles St. -- features the works of 30 regional painters, photographers and sculptors, among them such well-known artists as Mary Ann Mears and Raoul Middleman. Thirty percent of the proceeds of each sale will go to the BCAS, with the remainder going to the artist.
Tickets to the Friday night reception are $30 and include cocktails, music and hors-d'oeuvres. The exhibit will be open Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Mondays to Fridays from noon to 8 p.m. It will be closed on Thanksgiving. For more information, call (410) 523-7070.
Peter Brook's "Carmen"
The concert version of Peter Brook's "La Tragedie de Carmen" will be presented at 8 p.m. Thursday at the Walters Art Gallery. Performing this adaptation of Bizet's "Carmen" will be the Maryland Opera Studio of the University of Maryland, College Park. Tickets are $15 general admission, $9 for students and senior citizens. For more information, call (410) 405-5548.