The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded the Utah Opera Company a $5,000 grant to help support the company's 1988-89 season.

Endowment Chairman Frank Hodsoll said the company's grant application was "weighed heavily on its artistic merit in peer panel review."Nationwide, 197 grants were made totaling $6.2 million.

"The financial situation for most opera companies remains difficult," Hodsoll said. That fact leads to a dependence on tried and true repertory rather than on new and adventurous works, which the endowment wishes to encourage, he said.

He added that a federal grant carries with it a message that recipients are deserving of support from non-federal sources.