The state is cutting the Howard County Arts Council budget by 10.3 percent for fiscal 1992, but the group says it is lucky the cuts weren't deeper.

In nearby states, funding for arts programs is being slashed from 20 pereceent to 40 percent, said Mary Toth, executive director of the Howard County Arts Council.

"We are not seeing the demise of major art groups in this state,"said Mary Toth, executive director of the Howard County Arts Council. "Maryland has made a commitment to the arts that you are not seeingfrom other states around us. These states are looking at Maryland asan oasis for art."

Toth cites Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Delaware and Virginia among states facing significant cuts.

The Howard County Arts Council is a private, non-profit organization that gets funding from the county, state and the community.

Preliminary figures for 1992 show the county will receive $122,012 for grants to local organizations. That includes $35,312 for a Community Arts Development Grant to finance county agencies for the performing arts, the arts council, administrative costs and the public schools' artist-in-residence program.

"Our long-range goal is to increasethe quality and quantity of art in the community," Toth said.

Thearts council will give $86,700 to these 12 organizations:

* Eva Anderson Dancers, $8,500;

* Kinetics Dance Theatre, $6,500;

* Maryland Youth Symphony Orchestra, $2,500;

* Candlelight Concert Society, $10,800;

* Columbia Pro Cantare, $6,500;

* The Education Foundation for Smith Theatre, $14,000;

* New Stages theater group,$900;

* Columbia Festival, $20,000;

* Howard County Center forthe Arts, $8,000;

* Howard County Poetry and Literature Society $3,500;

* Maryland Museum of African Art, $3,500;

* Onstage Productions, $2,000;

Toth said one goal this year is to develop a county "culture plan"

that would involve more Asian-Americans in the local arts program. Toth said she would like to see it become as successful as the African Arts Program.

"There's a greater involvement over the last couple of years in African-Americans participating in all art forms," she said. "We would like (Asian-Americans) to participate."

Another goal, she said, is to increase the awareness of art in the county for everyone.

"There is no art space in the downtownarea of Columbia. There is a strong need for this."

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