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Huntington Art Center Earns 1st State Grant

Money: Council gives out $272,059 countywide to 14 recipients, large and small. Total is down about 15% from last year.


Orange County arts groups will receive about 15% less overall this year from the California Arts Council, which Thursday announced $272,059 in local grants.

The Huntington Beach Art Center was awarded $6,601, its first state subsidy. But the number of 1997-98 recipients in the county dropped by one, to 14, and several recipients garnered smaller grants than last year. The Laguna Playhouse, for instance, was awarded $6,165, compared to $8,410.

The decline is in part the result of an increased demand for funding statewide and a smaller pot, a council spokeswoman said after Thursday's regular council meeting.

About $5 million was divided among 593 groups this year, compared to $5.1 disbursed to 21 fewer organizations, spokeswoman Gay Carroll said. Last year, the Orange County groups received $318,103.

Neither the Laguna Art Museum nor the Orange County Museum of Art applied for grants this year. Officials explained that recent reorganization efforts connected to last year's merger involving both museums had consumed their time.

The Bowers Museum of Cultural Art in Santa Ana applied for a grant, but it received a 2 rating from the council on a scale that starts at 1 to goes to 4, according to museum spokesman Brian Langston, adding that the museum is hoping to appeal the action.

Meanwhile, Huntington Beach Art Center officials, who plan to use their money for salaries, were "thrilled" with a nearly perfect score of 4-, director Naida Osline said.

Grant amounts are based on rankings, which are determined by peer panels that evaluate artistic and managerial performance and community outreach.

"The validation that comes with this is important for us as a new organization," Osline said.

In a separate category, the council awarded $13,020 to three county groups to subsidize presentation of touring artists. The groups and their awards are: Once Upon a Story ($720), which presents a two-day storytelling festival each year in San Juan Capistrano; Cal State Fullerton's Professional Artists in Residence Celebrity Series ($4,800); and the Irvine Barclay Theatre ($7,500).

The following is a list of the Orange County arts groups that will receive California Arts Council grants, the amount of the grant followed by the amount the group received last year.

* Ballet Pacifica, $3,619 ($4,453)

* Fullerton Civic Light Opera, $4,965 ($3,042)

* Huntington Beach Art Center, $6,601 (no grant last year)

* Laguna Playhouse, $6,165 ($8,810)

* Muckenthaler Cultural Center, $2,000 ($2,000)

* New Year's Jazz at Indian Wells, $2,000 ($2,000)

* Opera Pacific, $32,258 ($36,011)

* Pacific Chorale, $13,950 ($23,133)

* Pacific Symphony, $75,657 ($78,118)

* Philharmonic Society of Orange County, $33,715 ($31,636)

* South Coast Repertory, $74,382 ($78,908)

* St. Joseph Ballet, $9,134 ($8,537)

* Shakespeare Orange County, $2,000 ($2,000)

* William Hall Master Chorale, $5,613 ($3,688)

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