With the Utah Pageant of the Arts' 17th annual production only six weeks away, fund-raising efforts have been stepped up following reorganization of the board.

A variety of methods is being used to generate contributions. Community fund-raising chairman Janet Harris has placed multigallon containers in schools, City Hall, and local businesses in Lehi, Alpine, American Fork, and Pleasant Grove, inviting donations from students and citizens.Kimber Ricks, fund-raising chairman, said at least 200 letters have been sent out to staff members who have supported the pageant in the past with their time and talents. Other letters have been mailed to past patrons, and Dale Gunther has made contacts in the business community.

American Fork Mayor Kent Evans signed a proclamation recognizing the pageant's contributions to the city and urged people to make a commitment to attend the production this year - especially if they have never seen it before.

Ricks said the board is eager to see the pageant overcome its financial difficulties and succeed. So far, more than $20,000 has been raised by the board, and matching funds in that amount have been released by the city. Past debts are being paid off, including back rent owed to the Alpine School District for use of American Fork High School.

But more is needed. If people have been contacted by more than one means asking for a contribution, said Ricks, it's because of the board's enthusiasm. "We're trying to reach every resource we can."

Walt Farmer was recently named to the board of directors as business manager, replacing Ron Cook.

In addition to the board, Pharis Blackhurst, an accountant, has been named controller for the pageant, succeeding Richard Elkins.

The production is scheduled for Monday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings, June 12-July 22, on the stage of American Fork High School. Tickets prices are $8 for side-section and $11 for center-section seats. A pre-show backstage tour is also being offered to a limited number of patrons at $2 each. Tickets can be purchased in person at the box office, 54 E. Main, between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. Discount coupons, good through May 12, may be picked up at City Hall, the library, and local businesses. Phone orders will be taken at 756-3505, and charge cards are accepted.