After flying in to the Kennedy Center by helicopter from a retreat in Reston for his cabinet, Mayor Marion Barry yesterday announced the awarding of $478,500 in grants to 14 major Washington arts institutions.

The 14 include "every major institution in the city," said Peggy Cooper Cafritz, head of the D.C. Commission on the Arts and the Humanities. The largest of the grants was a joint award of $76,000 to the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the Phillips Collection. A $1,500 special planning award also was given to the Kennedy Center's American National Theater.

The Corcoran-Phillips grant will go for a "major exhibition" on "Blacks in American Art from 1900 to 1960," organized in partnership with the Bethune Museum and Archives. The award to the ANT will be used for the development of "community arts activities," to take the ANT "beyond national presentations," said Cafritz.

The purpose of these grants, members of the commission said in a press release, is to "make the resources of the city's larger arts organizations more accessible to residents and the arts community in the District. All grant awards must be matched, dollar-for-dollar, by the institutions."

Barry hailed the new program as a "new partnership between the District and its largest cultural organizations," and he lingered afterward to shake the hands of the hundred or so persons who attended the gathering in the North Atrium.

The grants will be part of "an estimated $1.7 million of direct support that the commission will award to District artists and arts organizations during fiscal 1986," he said.

The new program, established by the commission at the beginning of the current fiscal year, limits recipients to groups at least 10 years old with budgets of at least $500,000 and full-time paid staffs.

The other grant recipients were Arena Stage, $38,000 to assist in recruitment, hiring and training; Ellington Fund, $36,000 to hire a theater manager for training students of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts; Folger Shakespeare Library, $38,000 to develop a special events coordinator, to "increase opportunities for minority artists" and to expand the high school program; Ford's Theatre, $25,000 for an assistant to the artistic director; Capital Children's Museum, $38,000 for two "media artists to produce at least two major works for broadcast" and to conduct video workshops; National Museum of American History, $30,000 for a pilot program to recruit either a public information officer or a deputy director for American Indian art; National Symphony, $38,000 for the Youth Orchestra Fellowship Program; the Shakespeare Theatre at the Folger, $36,000 for an assistant to the artistic director and to assist in the theater's transition from support by Amherst College; Textile Museum, $7,500 for funding staff in partnership with the D.C. Aid to Adults With Dependents Program; Washington Ballet, $38,000 to increase the number of minority dancers in the company; Washington Opera, $15,000 to support salaries for 15 chorus members; Washington Performing Arts Society, $25,000 for additional staff on "District arts presenting programs"; and Washington Project for the Arts, $38,000 for the Open Studio project and to increase the number of minority artists and curators.