Sen. Dennis Deconcini, D-Ariz., is still making waves in arts circles with his espousal of Martha Graham's cause. DeConcini seeks a $7 million grant for Graham, to renovate the 94-year-old dance legend's studio and videotape company repertory for permanent archives.

DeConcini most recently tried to tack the $7 million appropriation onto his own Treasury, Postal Service and General Government subcommittee's appropriation bill for fiscal 1989.The dance world is irate. Not that they don't respect Graham and her accomplishments, but the entire National Endowment appropriation for all dance in the country is only $9.2 million. They feel that such a separate grant for Graham would set a dangerous precedent, and also object that most of the funds sought would go for renovation of her studio, rather than videotaping.

* THE MILWAUKEE REPERTORY THEATER will team with the Abbey Theater (Dublin) on a new playwriting competition, seeking the best play on "the Irish-American experience." They hope to offer a $50,000 award. Judges will begin their work Dec. 15, with the winner to be announced on (when else?) St. Patrick's Day, March 17, 1989.

* THE COLON THEATER in Buenos Aires, once a foremost opera house that attracted international stars, has fallen upon hard times along with Angentina's economy. For the first time in 80 years, all opera performances at the Colon were cancelled for the 1988 May-December season so new mechanical stage equipment, including a computerized control system and new elevators, could be installed.

Two symphony orchestras will perform at the Colon, but Argentines, half of whom are descended from Italian immigrants, will miss their opera. Colon general manager Ricardo Szwarcer says when the opera re-opens in 1989, it will have humbler goals, with few international stars. "Argentina was prosperous in the 1960s, and the Colon was able to meet its expenses without any problem," Szwarcer says. "Now there is no way we can afford a star system."

The company will depend primarily upon second-echelon singers, and will seeking private sponsors to help finance the fees of a few big name singers. It will also seek a younger audience, do more modern works.

A beautiful house with lush, wide-spaced, red-velvet orchestra seats, six balconies and three tiers of box seats, the Colon holds 2,000 spectators. Its budget is only $10 million for 1,500 employees - low by world standards, but it also pays low salaries.

* MARILYN MASON was recently declared 1988 International Performer of the Year by the New York Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, who presented her in a recital of music she had commissioned, in Manhattan's Riverside Church.

Mason, a professor at the University of Michigan, has commissioned more than 45 works since 1947. Grove's Dictionary describes her as "a brilliant technician, a superb musician and a tireless person."

Compiled by Dorothy Stowe from Deseret News wire services.