Arts in Maryland have reason to celebrate: The Maryland State Arts Council will receive $6,216,375 in state funding for fiscal 1994 -- an increase of about 41 percent over last year's allotment.
This arts raise appears to be the most generous in the country. Preliminary figures for fiscal 1994 suggest Maryland will receive the largest dollar increase in the nation in state arts funding this year, said Jeffrey Love, director of research for the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies.
"We are truly the envy of [America's arts communities] because of the commitment our state leaders have to the arts," said R. Dean Kenderdine, assistant secretary for Tourism and Promotion, part of the state Department of Economic and Employment Development, which oversees the arts council.
Mr. Kenderdine attributed passage of the increase to Gov. William Donald Schaefer's recognition of the importance of the arts, to dedicated legislators and to a politically sophisticated arts community, whose members have "done their homework and their legwork."
"The entire arts community across the state rallied for the governor's arts budget. Their calls, letters and visits pointed out how important art is to our quality of life," said Sue Hess, president of Maryland Citizens for the Arts, a statewide arts advocacy organization.
The Maryland State Arts Council disburses grants to qualified arts organizations, individual artists and county arts councils.
The budget increase will mean that the state's qualified arts organizations can receive about 7.5 percent of their annual operating costs from the state. Last year, they received 5.6 percent.
State funding of the arts has dropped from a high of 9.69 percent of the annual operating costs of qualified groups in fiscal year 1991.
This year's allotment reverses the recent cutbacks caused by the recession: Maryland's support for the arts had decreased by about 40 percent during the past few years.
Inetta McNeill has won $1,500 in the city's annual Billie Holiday Vocal Competition as well as the opportunity to perform at Artscape this July. Tracey Curbeam received a second-place award of $1,000, and Sandra Jenkins won $500. The judges for the competition, held at Center Stage April 3, were jazz vocalist Ruby Glover and producer/writer Earl Arnett.
Pianist Andre Watts will perform with Polaris, a contemporary chamber music ensemble, in a fund-raiser for the group at 3 p.m. May 2 in Kraushaar Auditorium of Goucher College.
The program will include works by Berio, Liszt, Rachmaninoff, Janacek, Cage, Milhaud, Castaldo and area composer Gregory Geiger. A reception with Mr. Watts will follow the concert.
Polaris, completing its second season, was formed to explore connections between contemporary music and contemporary life. Its director is Robin Kissinger. Tickets for the fund-raiser, available at Recordmasters and An Die Musik, are $35. Call (410) 235-3360.
The finals of the Baltimore Chamber Music Competition are scheduled for 11 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. May 2 in Friedberg Hall of the Peabody Conservatory of Music, 1 E. Mount Vernon Place.
Jurors Herbert Greenberg, concert master for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and Barry Tuckwell, director of the Maryland Symphony Orchestra, will select three winners for prizes and the opportunity to perform this summer at Artscape's "Classics in the Cool" series.
The competition, which is free and open to the public, will feature Baltimore 3; the Baltimore Wind Quintet; Woodwinds of Annapolis; Washington Brass; Windemere Ensemble; the Delphian Trio and the Boar's Head Consort.
The Fells Point Corner Theatre will hold auditions for "Camisado," a play by Kathleen Barber, at 7:30 p.m. May 3 at the theater, 251 S. Ann St. The production calls for two women ages 20 to 30, two women 30 to 40, two men 35 to 50, and one man around age 20. Under the direction of Robert Clingan, the play will run weekends from Aug. 13 to Sept. 5. Call (410) 666-8631.
Auditions for a July production of "The Miracle Worker" by StageWorks are scheduled for 2:30 p.m. May 2 and 7 p.m. May 3 at St. Michael and All Angels Church, 2013 St. Paul St. Children and teen-agers should audition May 2; adults on May 3. The role of Annie Sullivan has been cast. Call (410) 391-7476.