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11 O.C. Groups Get a Total of $221,768 in State Grants : Arts funding: South Coast Repertory and Opera Pacific are awarded more money than last year; the rest are given less.


The California Arts Council approved a total of $221,768 in grants to 11 groups in Orange County on Thursday. All but two of the groups received smaller awards than last year, although only two had their rankings reduced.

South Coast Repertory--which was given $57,765, the largest of the 11 grants--and Opera Pacific (given $53,928) received more than last year. Opera Pacific's rating of 4-minus (on a scale of 1 to 4) was up from last year's 3; SCR's held at 4-minus. The ratings reflect the council's judgment of artistic and managerial strengths.

Other groups that maintained last year's rankings, and their grants:

* Pacific Symphony (3+; $38,641, down from $39,344),

* Orange County Philharmonic Society (4-; $33,005, down from $39,051),

* Laguna Art Museum (3+; $12,325 down from $14,923),

* Pacific Chorale (4-; $7,571, down from $9,769),

* Fullerton Civic Light Opera (3-; $4,705, down from $4,916),

* St. Joseph Ballet (3+; $3,426, down from $4,599).

* Multicultural Arts Council of Orange County (3; $2,138, down from $2,463).

Groups whose rankings declined: Laguna Playhouse (which received $5,984, down from $8,476) and the Master Chorale of Orange County ($2,280, down from $4,422); both slipped from 3 to 3-.

Arts council grants manager Scott Wm. Heckes said Thursday that funding decreased because grant funds available for groups throughout the state shrunk while demand increased, continuing a trend of the past several years. (Last year, when 15 groups in Orange County won grants, the total of $227,214 was less than for the previous year.)

A total of $5.2 million was awarded to 629 arts groups this year, $200,000 less than last year, Heckes said. Grant requests had increased by more than $500,000, he said.

Also on Thursday, the arts council awarded a $21,225 challenge grant to the Laguna Art Museum to support a touring print exhibit and announced the governor's appointment to the council of Robert H. Tuttle. Tuttle is a Los Angeles resident who is managing partner of the Tuttle-Click Automotive Group, which has an office in Orange County and operates car dealerships here. Tuttle worked in the Ronald Reagan Administration as special assistant to the President and later as director of presidential personnel.

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