A coalition of major Utah arts organizations has agreed to launch a special 10-month campaign to raise $4 million in endowment funds on behalf of 90 arts groups statewide. It is the nation's first-ever unified endowment drive.

The Utah Arts Endowment Corporation has been formed solely to raise endowment funds. The 1990 Utah Legislature appropriated $2.3 million for endowments, with a requirement for matching funds. The 90 arts groups must raise approximately $2.9 million. But a recently completed independent planning study convinced the coalition that $4 million is attainable. The coalition believes a united effort will avoid competition among the arts groups and increase the campaign's success.Every major Utah arts group will participate by allowing the endowment corporation to conduct the campaign on its behalf. The corporation's board includes senior officials from the Utah Symphony, Ballet West, Pioneer Theatre Company, University Museum of Fine Arts, Utah Shakespearean Festival, Utah Arts Festival and the Utah Opera.

Trevor Cushman, former president and general manager of Ballet West, has been named administrative director of the corporation. Deseret News publisher Wm. James Mortimer, who also serves as chairman of the Pioneer Theatre Company, has been elected president. He will lead a steering committee that consists of Paul Chummers, Utah Symphony; Stephen D. Swindle, Ballet West; E. Frank Sanguinetti, University Museum of Fine Arts; Fred Adams, Utah Shakespearean Festival; Linda Bonar, Utah Arts Festival; David T. Mortensen, Utah Opera and M. Walker Wallace.

"This is a unique opportunity for Utah and its entire cultural community," Mortimer said during announcement of the campaign. "Endowment funds are permanent. As such, they represent a critical source of financial stability for arts institutions of all sizes and types.

"Utah's Legislature took the first bold step and now the Utah Arts Endowment Corporation is responding to that challenge with its own innovative plan. Obviously, different arts groups have different missions and must also continue to raise annual contributions on their own. But this endowment campaign is a logical way for them to come together and to make the widest possible appeal, since all will benefit."