Hilary Hatfield is to receive a $50,577 present from the state, and she's eager to share it with Carroll County's arts organizations.
The money, a fiscal year 1995 grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, is $17,098 more than the Carroll County Arts Council BTC received last year, said Ms. Hatfield, administrator of the county organization.
County groups received $51,133 for fiscal year 1995, which begins July 1, she said.
"The more money we receive from the Maryland State Arts Council, the more we have to give local programs," Ms. Hatfield said. "[Arts programs] don't just improve the quality of life, they help economic and employment development."
State legislators increased the amount of money for county arts councils after receiving a favorable report from a Maryland State Arts Council task force last year, Ms. Hatfield said.
Carroll County's report was particularly favorable, with task force members saying the group was "highly productive and highly efficient," she said.
"Reports like that . . . affected how the legislators felt the money was being spent," Ms. Hatfield said. "We're not just resting on government money. We're using it as leverage to raise money from private and corporate sources.
"That's the sign of a healthy nonprofit."
Carroll County's commissioners have also been more supportive of county arts programs, giving the council $5,000 more than last year, Ms. Hatfield said.
"In the past six to eight months, [Commissioner] Donald Dell has had an increased understanding and support," she said, adding that the other commissioners have always been supportive of her efforts.
"Now that the financial picture is better, they can be more outwardly so," Ms. Hatfield said.
Carroll County's other grant recipient was Chamber Music on the Hill, which won a $556 grant from the state council this year.
The organization, a classical music group in residence at Western Maryland College, received $1,000 from the state last year.
"That is good news," said David Kreider, the group's organizer.
"I don't know what the significance is of us being given less this year, but we are still grateful for the amount we were given," he said.
The group -- which has three to 20 performers, depending on the concert -- will perform three times next season at Western Maryland College beginning with a Beethoven concert Sept. 18, Mr. Kreider said.
Theatre on the Hill, a troupe affiliated with Western Maryland College, did not apply for a grant this year.
The company is not performing this summer while the college makes Alumni Hall, where Theatre on the Hill performs, accessible to people with disabilities.
Last year, the troupe received $500 from the state arts council.
Ms. Hatfield said the council's increased grant will allow her to give more money to local arts organizations.
Also, the group will use $4,000 to work with Frederick County to bring a Maryland arts group to perform in the two counties, she said.
"It will be a cross-state program," Ms. Hatfield said. Frederick County is also receiving $4,000, she said. "We will be able to pool our resources for marketing and housing."
The council also intends to add a music scholarship to the visual arts and creative writing awards given to five high school seniors each year, Ms. Hatfield said.
Increases in the council's awards to local families, to help pay for private arts education, are also being considered, she said.
Currently, a family may apply up to three times a year for $100 awards, Ms. Hatfield said.
"As the price of private arts education rises, $100 every four months isn't doing enough," she said.
Council members may also hire an outside consultant to help them work on long-range planning, Ms. Hatfield said.