Arts Agency Plan OKd by Supervisors; Funding Is Delayed : Partnership: An ad hoc committee will serve as an interim state-local channel for support of programs in the county.


The Orange County Board of Supervisors voted 4 to 1 Tuesday to develop a countywide arts agency to serve as “state-local partner” with the California Arts Council. But the board left open the question of how the agency would be funded.

Meanwhile, the board named the ad hoc Committee to Form an Orange County Arts Council, a group of local arts leaders, to serve as interim state-local partner to the CAC.

Creation of a state-local partnership makes the county eligible for up to $80,000 a year in state and federal funds for arts programs, according to a local arts official. Orange County is one of only six in the state with no state-local partner, unable to receive any state and federal grants for redistribution to local arts groups.

The board rejected a proposal to consider funding the agency with $50,000 normally used for county parks.


Supervisor Roger R. Stanton said that he supports development of the agency but thought that approval of the funding proposal would imply a commitment to support the agency with county money.

Supervisor Harriett M. Wieder agreed. “We’ve got so many (funding) challenges this year and in the coming year,” she said. “It’s really scary. Let’s take this one step at a time. . . . Funding (for the arts agency) can be addressed in the future.” A recent county financial forecast indicated that the county may be facing a budget deficit of up to $63 million in two years.

Ironically, the one vote against developing the agency came from Supervisor Thomas F. Riley, who had recommended the development in the first place but believed that the measure should include the funding proposal.

County funding of the arts historically has been minimal. Riley, after reading a report he had requested on the subject from the county administrative office, had said he wanted to reasses the county’s role.

The ad hoc committee has asked the CAC for $12,500, a request to be considered in Sacramento on Thursday. Committee Chairman Charles Desmarais, director of the Laguna Art Museum, said the county should take advantage of current availability of arts funds instead of waiting for a permanent agency to be formed. He said the money, if granted, would be deposited until a permanent agency is in place.

According to the supervisors’ vote Tuesday, a structural plan for the agency will be developed by the county administrative office and the Environmental Management Agency in conjunction with the Department of Education, the Orange County Public Library and the League of Cities.