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State hikes arts funding

June 11, 1998|By DAVE McMILLION

State funding to support the arts, including classical music, the Maryland Theatre and another blues festival in Washington County, will increase by $25,000 over the current year's amount, state officials said Thursday.

Gov. Parris N. Glendening announced that Washington County will receive $156,543 in grants in the coming budget year to support arts programs.

The grants, recommended by the Maryland State Arts Council, are used to support a variety of arts programs in the county, including the Maryland Symphony Orchestra, Washington County Museum of Fine Arts and the Maryland Theatre, which received $24,500 for operating expenses.

Marc Levy, managing director of the Maryland Symphony Orchestra, said the state is to be commended for the assistance it gives to community arts programs.

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The money awarded to the county was part of $7.1 million awarded to arts organizations across the state.

"The arts are very well supported in Washington County and the region. I've seen other states that aren't nearly as supportive as Maryland," said Levy.

Levy said the $43,678 given to the symphony will help pay for the estimated 15 concerts it performs every year plus educational programs.

The Washington County Arts Council received $52,086, which will help pay for art in education programs, the TGIF Lunchtime Series, story-telling programs for youngsters and an art gallery on Potomac Street to promote local works, said executive director Barbara Bland.

The City of Hagerstown received $4,882 to help fund next year's Western Maryland Blues Fest, which has been scheduled for June 4, 5 and 6, said city spokeswoman Karen Giffin.

The third annual festival, held last weekend, drew about 16,000 people, organizers said.

The Washington County Museum of Fine Arts received $25,000 to fund exhibits and maintain its building in Hagerstown City Park. The museum had applied for $40,000, said administrative assistant Chris Shives.

Since a 1995 expansion that doubled the size of the museum, it has continually sought more operating money, said Shives.

"It gets a little tight sometimes," said Shives.

There is no charge to the museum. Shives said consideration has never been given to charging fees because the founders wanted the museum always to be free to the public.

Other organizations receiving funding included Antietam Review literary magazine, Hagerstown Choral Arts Inc., Hagerstown Community Concert Association, Hagerstown Junior College, Sharpsburg Heritage Festival and Mountain Green Cultural Arts Association Inc.

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