Fund raising for the Utah Pageant of the Arts began with members of the pageant board opening their checkbooks and donating more than $600.

Kimber Ricks, Orem, director of fund raising for the pageant, said the donations prior to the board's weekly meeting Saturday were a means for board members to demonstrate their support. Ricks said he wants to build a solid base with the pageant "family" - board members, staff, former staff members and the City Council - before extending the fund-raising effort into the community.The pageant recently received a donation of $5,000 from Best Productions Foundation in Richmond, Va., and a $200 donation from Southland Corp., the owner of 7-Eleven. The American Fork City Council has agreed to provide up to $20,000 in matching funds for donations, provided the funds are used for the 1989 production.

"We need the benefits of the arts in American Fork," said Don Hampton, a member of the City Council and acting president of the pageant. "The pageant represents the kind of wholesome activity our families like as well as an arts experience that benefits the community."

The pageant will be seeking contributions from businesses, civic organizations and individuals to help pay off debts and fund the 1989 production.

Janet Harris, American Fork, will head a campaign to raise donations from the community. Harris has established immediate goals of raising $10,000 and of building support for the pageant in northern Utah County cities.

A campaign to solicit individual contributions to the pageant will be coordinated by Dr. Mike Callahan, an orthopedic surgeon in American Fork, and his wife, Leslie.

During its meeting, the board agreed to turn over direction and operation of the youth and professional art shows and youth scholarship program to the Utah Pageant of the Arts Guild.

The pageant will present its 17th production from June 12 to July 22. Perfomances will be Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings in the American Fork High School Theater.

An early-bird ticket campaign will begin later this month, with discounts of $2 offered for June performances and $1 for July performances on tickets purchased before April 15. Regular ticket prices will remain the same: $8 for side seating and $11 for center section.