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11 Area organizations receive State Arts Council grants

June 15, 2000|By KERRI SACCHET

The Maryland Symphony Orchestra was one of 11 Washington County organizations to received State Arts Council grants, a yearly cash infusion the groups say is vital.

"The grants are a very important factor in terms of budget every year," said Jean Woods, director of the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, which received a $40,000 general operating grant.

The grant money will be used to offset operation costs such as exhibits and concerts that are free to the public, Woods said.

Patricia Wolford, director of the Maryland Theatre Association Inc., said the funds are important for the theater because of the increased number of patrons who attended the theater's events this year.

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"This past year, over 22 thousand people came through the theater," Wolford said, "We are very thrilled because we received $1,500 more than last year, which means they have recognized the progress the theater has made."

The theater received $26,000, which Wolford said will be used as operational money and will cover costs for administration.

Marc Levy, executive director of the Maryland Symphony Orchestra, says he sees receiving grant money from the Maryland State Arts Council as a stamp of approval for the symphony's efforts and performances throughout the year.

The panel that recommends art organizations to the state for funding assistance is made up of artists and art managers who know how to critique shows and review the administration of those organizations, Levy said.

The MSO, which received nearly $77,000 in the form of two grants, will put the funds toward the annual Salute to Independence Concert at Antietam and general operating costs, Levy said.

"Some of the grants are used toward the underwriting for guest artists and rent," Levy said, "That is where the grant money is so critical."

One of the grants is intended to provide funds for new projects by the orchestra, and the MSO will apply that money to its Outreach program and educational costs, Levy said.

Under the Outreach program, the orchestra performs concerts in Allegany and Garrett counties, where residents do not always get the chance to see the MSO because of their location, Levy said.

"We also have the Symphony Saturday program in which kids from grades one through three come and meet with the musicians, play the instruments, and then the program ends with a symphony that the students bring their parents to," Levy said.

Maryland is 10th in the nation in terms of receiving funding for its art programs, according to Barbara Spicher, executive director of the Washington County Arts Council.

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