A House subcommittee yesterday voted to restore nearly $1 million in threatened funding for four local arts organizations.
In January the Office of Management and Budget proposed cuts in National Park Service funding which would have eliminated $600,000 from Wolf Trap Farm Parkhs budget next year, $198,000 from Ford's Theatre's $150,000 from the Shakespeare Summer Festival's and $33,000 used to distribute free tickets to disadvantaged youth for Carter Barron concerts.
The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and Related Agencies yesterday restored the funds, at 1979 levels, to the 1980 budget. The subcommittee also approved $200,000 for the continuation next year of the recently begun series of Capitol Hill concerts presented by the National Symphony Orchestra.
Wolf Trap, which was counting on yesterday's decision for more money than any of the other organizations, was not entirely pleased at the news. Wolf Trap failed to receive the $257,000 increase in its funding level that it had requested.
Furthermore, according to Wolf Trap doyenne Kay Shouse, its funds for this year were held by the government until yesterday at the "suggestion" of subcommittee chairman Sidney Yates (D-Ill.).
"Wolf Trap has waited since autumn for our 1979 funding and has been glad that it's been taken out of storage," said Shouse, but "the proposal of Mr. Yates to allot the same amount for next year is unrealistic."
Spokesmen in Yate's office and in the National Park Services denied that Yates was responsible for the delay in 1979 funding.Nancy Garrett, associate director of the Park Service, said that the bulk of Wolf Trap's funds, $450,000, is used to pay stagehands and is routinely made available just prior to the beginning of the Wolf Trap season. It was released "about a month ago," she said.
As for the other $150,000 in the Park Service's 1979 budget for Wolf Trap, said Garrett, agreement was not reached until yeaterday on the formal application. Until then, "there has been some degree of incompleteness on the degree of documentation we have received from the Wolf Trap Foundation," she said. The $150,000 will be used to pay for Wolf Trap's summer opera institute.
A bid by Arena Stage, the Corcoran Gallery and the Folger Shakespeare Library for a total of $900,000 in maintenance funds was submitted to the subcommittee during recent budget hearings, but it was not included in the budget approved by the subcommittee yeaterday. The institutions had hoped to justify their request under terms of the Historic Sites Act, but a source close to the committee said that it was difficult to include Arena Stage under the terms of that act.
The restoration of funds for next year's Shakespeare Summer Festival does not affect the status of this year's festival, which lost its federal funding recently as a result of deficient paperwork and delays at the Park Service. There will be a Shakespeare Festival this year only if enough private funds are raised for a scaled-down production.