New languages can be learned, novels can be written and buildings can be constructed faster than the time it takes the county to publish an artists' directory. After nearly three years of deciphering and fact-checking forms filled out by artists, the county's Division of Cultural Heritage says it is finally ready to publish an all-county artists' directory. The project should be completed by this spring, officials say - but it had been promised for a while. "It was the project from hell," said County Cultural Heritage Director Bill LaRosa last week. "We had a lot of problems with the directory itself. We had to do detective work. We had to contact artists and fact-check the [forms] because they were hard to read and information was missing." However, at least one artist who moved after filling out the form said that he was never contacted. LaRosa said that his small staff faced difficulties including computer problems, information changes, and many other projects to do. The directory will be about 72 pages long, but might be shorter depending on its dimensions, font size, spacing and the printer used, LaRosa said. Its main purpose is to serve as a networking and promotional tool for Hudson County artists, he said. It will be distributed at galleries, museums and schools as a referral for artists and should be ready by this March. But the division first has to decide whether the directory will be published in-house or by an outside bidder. "For two people, it's been kind of difficult," said LaRosa, who has only one person in the office to help him with the project. He said he had to seek outside help last summer. "We had some volunteer help from Stevens Institute of Technology," he said. "Bob Reed, who is the theater director, volunteered some of his students that came to the rescue." LaRosa also blamed the county which, he said, is trying to downsize and streamline government. As a result, certain departments are not getting their fair share of funding for personnel. "With all the other needs in the county, our office is not priority," LaRosa said. "We try to do our best." Sculptor Orlando Cuevas, a Jersey City resident and former city cultural affairs director, said of the project, "I think it is long overdue. An artists' directory for Hudson County is absolutely critical and it's an excellent idea. My only concern is how accurate that information is, because people do move and change phone numbers." Cuevas said he filled out the information three years ago but has since moved. As of last week, he had not been contacted by anyone for updated information. Cuevas said, "I think Bill is an excellent administrator, but he's understaffed, so it has to be difficult. I commend him and I'm glad the county is doing it." LaRosa said other projects are in the works including a database for artists that will be attached to the Park Theater's website and in print. The database will feature art studios and rehearsal areas that can be leased or rented by artists and dance companies, he said.