Arts programs across the county received a boost this week from nearly $320,000 in state grants recommended by the Maryland State Arts Council.
The local grants are among $9.6 million in arts awards statewide announced by Gov. Parris N. Glendening - an increase of nearly $1.9 million for the Maryland State Arts Council over those for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30.
Awards for individual county programs ranged from $55,973 for Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts to $300 for the recently relocated Chesapeake Children's Museum.
The biggest overall grant went to the Cultural Arts Foundation of Anne Arundel County, which received $87,615, nearly $10,000 more than last year. Most of it will, in turn, be distributed to local arts organizations.
Carol Treiber, executive director of the Cultural Arts Foundation, said her organization's grant will help it meet the needs of Anne Arundel's burgeoning arts scene.
"We have over 32 organizations that we help to support here in Anne Arundel County, and they are growing tremendously," she said. "They're all increasing in size and are all wanting more money."
Other groups winning state grants include the Annapolis Chorale, Annapolis Symphony Orchestra and Pasadena Theatre Company. First Night Annapolis, an annual New Year's Eve celebration, received $16,000, including $12,500 for general operating expenses and $3,500 to launch a new children's poetry project.
The "Voices of Our Children" project will bring poets and educators into disadvantaged neighborhoods in Annapolis to work with youngsters on poetry writing and reading. Some of the young poets will perform during this year's First Night event, said its executive director, Janice Gary said.
"We were waiting to see if we could do this project until we heard from the Maryland Arts Council," she said yesterday.
The largest state appropriation this year was $1.7 million for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.