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DOWNWARD TRENDS IN ARTS FUNDING REVERSED

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Recent declines in state arts funding have been reversed, with aggregate state arts agency appropriations increasing by 16 percent, to nearly $250 million for fiscal 1993-94, said Marvin Cohen, president of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies.

Despite ongoing economic difficulties, most states perceive that a state benefits from government arts support, he said. "In fact, this year 10 state governments have put more money into the arts than ever before."As a public witness testifying in support of the National Endowment for the Arts, Cohen asked Congress to match the state investment in the arts by increasing the NEA appropriation to $255 million, a sum that would make possible the level of arts education authorized by Congress by initiative in 1990. (Congress ended up apportioning $170 million for 1994-95.)

An encouraging trend is noted among the states and jurisdictional arts agencies, 28 of which reported increases ranging from 1 percent to 110 percent. Among the most significant increases (figures rounded off) are Florida, from $13.5 million in 1993 to $28.5 million in 1994, for an increase of 110 percent, and seventh ranking nationally in per capita spending.

Also Michigan (one of the hardest hit initially), from $19.8 million in 1993 to $28.9 million in 1994, 45 percent increase to fifth ranking; Minnesota from $4 million to 6.2 million, 54 percent to 13th ranking; and Tennessee from $2.5 million to $5.2 million, 101 percent, 18th ranking.

Utah experienced a 2.6 percent decrease, from $2,118,500 in 1993 to $2,062,800 in 1994, landing it 15th in per-capita spending, with $1.13 in 1993, $1.10 in 1994.

New York state has made a modest gain of 12 percent, from $26.1 million in 1993 to $29.3 million in 1994, which nonetheless entitles it to 11th place, with spending of $1.61 per capita. Bringing up a disappointing rear in a state of great need is Louisiana, which cut its meager $790,000 of 1993 to zero in 1994.

- The Utah Arts Council has awarded grants totaling $1,287,940 to 154 nonprofit arts organizations statewide. Grants were awarded in 33 Utah communities in every geographic region of the state, many of which depend upon the arts for the lifeblood of economic development.

"It is exciting to be a part of this (awarding) process," said UAC board chairman Ardean Watts. "The arts organizations represented this year cross the spectrum from the largest professional organization to small community groups meeting and performing in firehouses, senior citizen centers and schools."

Applications for grants are reviewed by a volunteer panel of arts administrators and artists, who make recommendations for funding to the board, which then makes the final awarding decisions. All grants must be matched at least dollar-for-dollar.

Areas in which awards were made and amounts allocated include community arts councils, $51,025; dance arts, $243,330; literary arts, $25,150; assistance to literary magazines, $14,750; multi-discipline, $157,425; music arts, $321,115; theater arts, $199,280; visual arts/architecture-environmental arts & design, $200,865; and current year applications fund, $75,000.

Organizations that received $10,000 or more are: Salt Lake City Arts Council, $13,000; Ballet West, $110,830; Repertory Dance Theatre, $57,500; Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, $57,500; Kimball Art Center, Park City, $13,000; Snowbird Institute, $10,000; Utah Arts Festival Foundation Inc., $20,000; Utah Film & Video Center, $22,000; and Utah Playwrights Conference, Sundance, $13,000.

Also Utah Opera Company, $80,000; Utah Symphony, $162,000; Old Lyric Repertory Company, Logan, $15,000; Pioneer Theatre Company, $83,890; Salt Lake Acting Company, $10,000; Utah Musical Theatre, Ogden, $10,000; Utah Shakespearean Festival, $53,040; Eccles Community Art Center, Ogden, $11,640; Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art, Logan, $30,000; Salt Lake Art Center, $30,000; Springville Museum of Art, $26,000; and Utah Museum of Fine Arts, $40,000.

- Nine Utah arts organizations received $817,000 in grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, as announced by NEA chairman Jane Alexander.

The largest recipient was the Utah Arts Council, with $500,000 in grants. Most of this will go to Utah's basic state grant, used to support the council and arts activities statewide. As a state agency of the Department of Community and Economic Development, the UAC receives all of its funding through state and federal government resources.

Other organizations and the amounts they received by direct allocation from the NEA are: Utah Symphony, $96,300; Repertory Dance Theatre, $20,000; Ballet West, $65,000; Ririe Woodbury Dance Foundation, $13,000; Sundance Institute for Film and Television, $26,450; Pioneer Theatre Company, $5,000; and Utah Arts Council folk arts program, $15,800 for Navajo basketry and $30,000 for the folk arts apprenticeship program.

In addition, the Utah Opera Company received three grants: for production support, $7,500; to support the creation of "Dream-keepers," a state centennial opera, $5,000; and $46,850, advancement grant.