National Endowment for the Arts chairman Frank Hodsoll yesterday named Hugh Southern, executive director of the Theatre Development Fund Inc. in New York, deputy chairman for programs.

Southern, said Hodsoll, "has a sense of quality . . . He understands almost across the board how artistic organizations tick." The Theatre Development Fund, which Southern has headed since 1968, is a service organization best known for the half-priced TKTS ticket booth in New York.

Hodsoll also announced other long-awaited appointments and created three new positions--a $57,500-a-year general counsel to the chairman and two associate deputy chairmen for programs.

Jeffrey Mandell, who served last year as counsel to the Presidential Task Force on the Arts and Humanities, will become a general counsel to the NEA. He will advise on legal policy and tax issues that the NEA might take stands on, especially pertaining to individual artists and their finances. The current general counsel, Bob Wade, will handle personnel matters.

Ruth Berenson, contributing arts editor to the National Review, will be an associate deputy chairman for programs, lending "the view of the critic," said Hodsoll. Berenson will make $46,685.

The other associate deputy chairman will be Ana Steele, a 16-year career professional with NEA, who will continue her work coordinating program activities but with a new title. She will keep her current salary of $56,936.

Hodsoll said that despite the creation of these new positions, he has reduced the number of people in the chairman's office from 12 to 7. Some of those were political appointees who resigned when Hodsoll assumed office.

Benny Andrews, a painter and assistant professor of art at Queens College in New York, will become director of the visual arts program. Adrian Gnam, an oboist and conductor who has been assistant director of the music program since 1976, will become director. Ann Darling, managing director of the Central City Opera House Association in Denver, will become director of the opera-musical theater program.

Kate Moore, who has been Hodsoll's special assistant, will become director of the NEA Office of Policy, Planning, and Research. Caroline McMullen, from the John M. Olin Foundation in New York, will be Hodsoll's special assistant.