Arts Council provides grants worth $187,000 Awards kept at last year's level

November 10, 1992|By Patrick Hickerson | Patrick Hickerson,Contributing Writer

Despite an uncertain economy, the Howard County Arts Council has matched last year's grants, handing out $96,000 to county-based organizations such as the Candlelight Concert Society and Kinetics Dance Theatre.

The balance of the council's fiscal 1993 awards, $90,720, will go to Baltimore institutions such as the Baltimore Zoo and Maryland Historical Society. The council's entire $186,720 total came from the state and county governments. This is the first year the arts council is administering Baltimore grants, which were previously handled by the county's Department of Citizen Services.

"Sometimes there's corporate funding, but not this year," said Mary Toth, the Arts Council's executive director. "It's a hard year."

Fourteen organizations in the county, and 10 in Baltimore were given awards ranging from $1,000 grants to the Columbia Concert Band and the Maryland Youth Orchestra to $24,000 for the Columbia Festival of the Arts.

Ms. Toth characterized the council's ability to maintain its grant level from a year ago as "amazing" because of a sluggish economy.

She said the Arts Council was able to keep the same local grant amount by tightening its belt by freezing salaries, cutting professional training, eliminating scholarships and enlarging art class sizes. The non-profit organization plans to solicit donations from corporations this year to help balance potential cuts in government funding next year.

"The Arts Council received a 50 percent [about $14,000] cut in funding from the Maryland Arts Council. We absorbed it internally. We were trying not to pass the cuts along," she said.

After the council recently swallowed the 50 percent state funding cut in August, half of the money [about $7,000] was restored a month later by executive order of Gov. William Donald Schaefer, who said he felt the arts were absorbing too much of the cuts.

"The state of Maryland has been an example for the whole East Coast," she said. "It has been a tribute to the governments at state and county levels that arts funding has not been cut" as much as in other states.

Ms. Toth said that opinion polling by the Arts Council during the last two years suggests that people support government spending for the arts.

Each year the money is allocated to groups -- which apply for an amount -- by an artistic review panel chaired by Columbia attorney Tim Baker.

"We're delighted to get the support from the council because, quite frankly, we need it," said Doris Ligon, executive director of the Maryland Museum of African Art in Columbia, which received a combined local and regional grant of $5,880. "In these difficult times, it's not money that's paying salaries. It's for the educational pursuits."

"We didn't turn anybody down this year," Ms. Toth said.

With the council's mandate to foster the arts in Howard County, Ms. Toth acknowledges that it may seem peculiar that 49 percent of the total in grant money goes to institutions such as the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Center Stage, which are not based in the county.

The regional grants range in amount from $2,270 grants to the Baltimore City Life Museum and the Baltimore Museum of Industry to $18,900 for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

But Ms. Toth defends the out-of-county grants as part of a regional effort to support institutions that are used by Howard residents.

"Many school children from Howard County go to the BSO; they attend concerts there, and also go to the Walters Art Gallery," she said. "Support for the arts should be a regional and not a local thing.

Grant applications for fiscal year 1994 will be available in March 1993. With continued budget problems in Annapolis Ms. Toth is cautious but upbeat about next year.

"We're optimistic because of what were were able to do, but we're also trying to be conservative about starting new initiatives," she said. "It's going to be a difficult year -- probably a difficult two years."

To receive a grant application or find out more about the grants program, organization, call the Arts Council at 313-ARTS.

Grant awards

Local Arts Grants

Candlelight Concert Society .... ..... ..... $19,200

Columbia Community Players ..... ..... ....... 1,500

Columbia Concert Band .... ..... ..... ....... 1,000 z zTC Columbia Festival of the Arts... ..... ...... 24,000

Columbia Orchestra........ ..... ..... ....... 2,000

Columbia Pro Cantare ..... ..... ..... ...... 14,080

Columbia School for Theatrical Arts... ....... 2,000

Eva Anderson Dancers...... ..... ..... ....... 8,800

Howard Community College Foundation... ....... 2,500

Howard County Poetry and Literature Society .. 7,500

Kinetics Dance Theatre.... ..... ..... ....... 7,000

Maryland Museum of African Art.. ..... ....... 5,880*

Maryland Youth Orchestra ....... ..... ....... 1,000

New Stages....... ...... ....... ..... ....... 3,320

Baltimore Arts Grants

Baltimore City Life Museum ..... ..... $2,270

Baltimore Museum of Art......... ..... 15,120

Baltimore Museum of Industry.... ...... 2,270

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra ... ..... 18,900

Baltimore Zoo ..... ..... ...... ...... 4,540

Center Stage ...... ..... ...... ..... 11,340

Maryland Academy of Science..... ...... 8,540

Maryland Historical Society..... ...... 4,530

National Aquarium ....... ...... ..... 11,340

Walters Art Gallery ..... ...... ...... 8,090

*$2,100, local, $3,780, regional

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