Between April and October of this year the arts division of Prince George's County's department of parks and recreation is scheduled to receive $373,836 in federal funds under Title VI of the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA), according to figures from the county's personnel department.
This allotment marks the first use of CETA funds for the arts in Prince George's County and will have [WORDS ILLEGIBLE] of almost doublin [WORDS ILLEGIBLE] 1978 funding for [WORDS ILLEGIBLE], assistant [WORDS ILLEGIBLE] to the arts division for 1978 is $400,000.
With the CETA money the arts divison will carry out five new programs in Prince George's County.
Enacted as a job stimulus program in 1973 CETA was extended in 1976 under Title VI to create additional job projects for the unemployed. In order to qualify for CETA funding under Title VI, projects must serve an unmet public need, last no longer than a year and have measurable goals.
Title VI also established strict eligibilty requirements for employment.
According to Pierce, the arts division was surprised by the large number of artists in Prince George's Country who were able to meet the requirements. To qualify an artist had to be a county resident and have earned no more than $2,200 if living alone, $6,000 if part of a family of four or have been unemployed at least 15 weeks and exhausted benefits.
Artists were selected by the arts division. According to Pierce, the two most important factors in picking the participants for the programs were the quality of an artist's work and the artist's ability to communicate with the public. In addition, the artist's commitment to his art was considered, said Pierce.
"If this CETA job hadn't turned up, I would still be choreographing and starving, but not feeling very good about either," said Greg Reynolds, artistic director of the dancers-in-residence program.
"It's a lifesaver," said Marylou Duschl, coordinator of the dance project. For a year, said Duschl, she and her husband with their small child had lived off their savings while trying, unsuccessfully, to get a job in Prince George's County. Duschl added that the CETA job meant for her "the chance to do what I was trained to do, and on a full-time basis."
The dancers plan to tour junior high schools in the county offering students a two-week exposure to the entire process of creating a dance, including the development of movement, lighting and makeup. They will end each session in a school with a performance.
The mural artists hope to complete three outdoor projects before being stopped by the weather. One mural will be installed in Riverdale on Sept. 16, a second is underway in Greenbelt and a third is now being planned with the community of Brentwood. Three more murals will be painted next year.
The artists-in-residence are setting up their studios in schools and community centers where they will be giving classes and demonstrations as well as working on their own art. Included are sculptors, painters, ceramic and batik artists.
"We've found that school principals are welcoming us with open arms," said Allen Holly, co-ordinator of the artists-in-residence program. There seems to have been a swing back to basics, explained Holly, and many schools had lost programs.
CETA funds, though federal in origin, are locally allocated. Prince George's County is the only suburban jurisdiction in the metropolitan area to have committed a substantial amount of CETA money to the arts.
Amounting to approximately 4 per cent of the total CETA allocation to the county Prince George's CETA arts budget is higher than the 1 per cent committed on an average throughout the country, according to Deirdre Frontczak of the National Endowment for the Arts, which is collecting data on CETA arts projects. However, said Frontczak, the figure is still below the 7 to 8 per cent recommended by the Labor Department in its guideline for employment under CETA.
Funding for the CETA arts projects in Prince George's County is due to expire by the fall of 1978. What happens when the money runs out is uncertain.
According to Ellen Pierce, the limited duration of the projects was made clear to all of the artists employed under CETA. Pierce noted that the artists would be gathering valuable experience and exposure during their time of employment.
"The tax base of the county is such that these people cannot be absorbed into the county arts program," said Pierce. She added that the arts division hopes to develop new proposals which would be submitted to CETA as the current projects come to an end.
"These CETA programs are also creating within the community needs and expectations that didn't exist before," said Pierce. "If the federal programs are not renewed, we may have a lot of people wanting the arts and the money won't be there."
Asked what she would do when the year was up, ceramic artist Karen Schneider said that her plans centered on the present and the projects she wanted to carry out with the children in her assigned school. Then she added: "It's so fantastic to be able to do my own work. Next year? I just can't think about that right now." The programs to be funded