Times Staff Writer

Launching a music conservatory in Costa Mesa. Expanding an arts project for the disabled in Los Angeles County. Planning a community performing arts consortium in San Diego.

While widely scattered, these ventures have much in common besides the promotion of arts in Southern California. The projects are among several that will be discussed Saturday at the USC Orange County Center in Irvine as part of the final session of a nine-week Business Management for the Arts course.

Later the same day, after hearing a panel discussion on career trends in the fast-growing arts administration field, the 29 class members will be receiving their certificates--the second graduating contingent in what is still the only program of its kind in Orange County.

"There's nothing else as comprehensive around. We've being exposed to the entire range of (arts) administration, to every discipline and every kind of arts specialty," said class member Catherine Michaels, director of the La Habra Children's Museum.

As class organizers depict it, the Business Management for the Arts course has graduated from pilot to permanent status. After 1 1/2 years at the USC Orange County Center, the program has just been shifted to the Laguna College of Art in Laguna Beach.

"The program has developed to the point where it now has a permanent home. It was always the intent (of USC) to act only as the seed sponsor, to help get the program under way," said Anne Kimbell Relph, executive director of the USC Orange County Center. Besides, she added, USC's College of Continuing Education has been planning to phase out many non-credit courses, including the arts program.

Relph, who will run the arts management course for the Laguna College of Art, said the course will be basically the same for the third class that starts March 15 at the college (preview receptions will be held 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 13 and Feb. 27).

In addition to the class project that each participant is to design and research, the nine Saturday sessions offer discussions ranging from fiscal, marketing and legal matters to relations with boards of directors and volunteers. Most members of the current graduating class are already employed by arts organizations.

Relph and Victoria Kogan Murphy, program chairwoman and a Laguna College of Art instructor, have drawn the 10-member faculty from arts-oriented consulting firms, as well as major arts organizations in Orange County and Los Angeles.

Among the instructors are Stephen Albert, Mark Taper Forum manager; Timothy Brennan, South Coast Repertory Theatre general manager; Arline Chambers, Ahmanson Theatre general manager; Kevin Consey, Newport Harbor Art Museum director; Lynn Gamwell, Saddleback College Art Gallery director, and Douglas Rowe, Laguna Moulton Playhouse managing director.

Three of the current class members were given $500 scholarships named in honor of Chambers, former Orange County Performing Arts Center general manager. Scholarship funds were raised by members of last year's class--the first--at the USC Orange County Center. (Full tuition is $980.)

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