The White House may announce soon that actor Charlton Heston will chair the arts portion of a White House-appointed task force studying the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities, according to knowledgeable sources.

"No final decision has been made," said Frank Hodsoll, deputy to White House chief of staff James Baker. "We're certainly considering a role for Charlton Heston in this."

For several weeks there has been speculation the White House would establish a task force to study the Endowments and possibly revamp them as independent agencies much like the quasi-governmental Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

The task force would reportedly consist "roughly" of 24 members. "There's been no decision as to numbers on the task force," said Hodsoll.

But Hodsoll did say that the idea of a task force with co-chairs -- one for arts and one for humanities -- "is one of the things under consideration."

An announcement has been expected from the White House as early as Monday, but Hodsoll said that as far as he knew there would be no announcement Monday. "There's no timetable that I'm aware of," he said.

Heston, who has been active in arts organizations, met with Hodsoll, Baker, and Deaver here last week for several hours to discuss the arts.

"I have not heard back from the White House since [last week]," said Heston yesterday. Heston's name has been mentioned prominently as a possibility for chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts.