Members of a task force on the Hispanic American arts expressed disappointment yesterday after the National Council on the Arts refused at a meeting here to create immediately a Hispanic advisory body.
"There will be hell to pay in the field," said task force chairman and art professor Jacinto Quirarte. "That community [of Hispanics] out there will roar. We don't have enough to take back."
The National Council, some of whose members highly praised the report presented by the task force, said they would "speedily" consider the recommendations and in the meantime retain the steering commitee of the task force as a temporary advisory group.
"That's acceptable, but I'm not enthused," said Quirarte later, adding that he fears that the council will shelve the recommendation, one of several in a report that took one year and nine months to prepare.
But Livingston Biddle, chairman of the Endowment which is advised by the National Council, said the report "would not grow fallow." He added, however, that he had "strong reservations" about setting up an advisory committee.
"I think we diminish our purpose to serve the arts if we have too many advisory committees," said Biddle after the meeting. "We have an office of minority affairs. And we have many Hispanics on our [review] panels. Each new advisory committee costs money."
A variety of minority groups feel they deserve more attention from the Endowment and that tension sparked an uncomfortable moment in the meeting, when one task force member said to the Council, "We know blacks have problems, we know Indians have problems [in the arts], but we have a different problem. We're talking about an investment in saving a culture."
It provoked a sharp comment from black National council member Delores Wharton. "Don't you want to work with us, the blacks?" she said.
"We must take something back to our community," interjected task force member and actress Margo Albert. "And then we would be ahppy to work with other minorities."
"Well," said Wharton icily, "I'll resist the opportunity to make the crack "That's mighty white of you"..."
The comment was greeted with a few muffled laughs and a few seconds of hissing from parts of the audience gathered in the meeting room.
"It was a misunderstanding," said Albert after the meeting. "Our initial mandate was to determine how the Endowment could be more sensitive to the needs of Hispanics. That was our goal and it was a backbreaker as it was. This was never ever to be a mtter of one group against another. And every single member of the Hispanic task force wants to work together with other minorities."
Other recommendations from the task force report included a bilingual pamphlet on Endowment programs and grants, a toll-free information number and an extended mailing list. They also asked for workshops for Endowment staff on Hispanic art, for more Hispanics in staff positions, and for more visists to Hispanic arts organizations in the southwest. CAPTION: Picture, Livingston Biddle