Arts Alliance Calls a Halt, Names Panel to Chart Its Future

The Orange County Arts Alliance has suspended operations and has named a 20-member advisory panel to survey artists and groups to determine the alliance's future role as the county's official arts planning and service agency.

The alliance, created by the Board of Supervisors in 1980, has been under fire from the California Arts Council for what state consultants call lackluster programs, especially in developing direct services to artists and fostering multicultural projects.

Meanwhile, some of the alliance's 400 member organizations have complained that the alliance has foundered from lack of funds, organizational activism and clear-cut focus.

"All (alliance) operations are on hold now until we figure out what we should be doing next and what needs in planning and services are still to be met," said Alliance President Robert Garfias, former Dean of Fine Arts at UC Irvine and a current member of the National Council on the Arts.

Garfias said that a $12,700 grant is "already committed" by the California Arts Council to pay for the survey and that the alliance has applied for another $12,700 from the National Endowment for the Arts.

The panel will meet for the first time Feb. 8 at 4 p.m. in Newport Beach, Garfias said.

Members, he said, will include County Supervisor Thomas Riley, State Sen. Marian Bergeson, Orange County Performing Arts Center President Thomas Kendrick and South Coast Repertory's producing artistic director, David Emmes.

Others panelists named include Kevin Consey, director of the Newport Harbor Art Museum; Adleane Hunter, director of the Orange County Black Actors Theatre; Betty Moss, director of the Orange County Business Committee for the Arts.

Also, Burt Peachy, dean of fine arts at Rancho Santiago College; Priscilla Peuser of the James Irvine Foundation, and Stewart Woodard, president of the Center Dance Alliance.

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