Arts, Culture and Creativity Play Key Roles in NM Economy

"Arts and cultural vitality are not luxuries in our communities, they are preconditions to economic development.”

Date August 14, 2014 at 12:01 PM

Author Staff


Categories Art Markets & Galleries Business Community Culture Local News & Sports


 One out of every 10 jobs in New Mexico are in the arts and cultural industries. Photo: Courtesy New Mexico True

A new statewide report reveals the arts and cultural industries in New Mexico have a $5.6 billion impact on the economy. But, business, government, and non-profits are challenged to capitalize on opportunities to fully realize the economic potential.

Cabinet Secretary Veronica N. Gonzales, New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, released the report Wednesday, August 13, that quantifies the current economic impact of the arts and cultural industries in New Mexico.

Gonzales' report, "Building on the Past, Facing the Future: Renewing the Creative Economy," identifies challenges and key opportunities to improve the state’s cultural riches.

The economic analysis from the University of New Mexico’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER) provides insight into the impact and potential of New Mexico’s arts, cultural, and creative industries. 

Currently the arts and cultural sector contributes $5.6 billion to New Mexico’s economy each year. One out of every ten jobs in New Mexico are in the arts and cultural industries. And these industries annually generate $137 million in revenue for state and local governments.

Although the overall contribution of New Mexico’s arts and cultural industries is a major economic driver, there are critical challenges and untapped opportunities that would not only benefit arts and cultural workers, one out of every 10 jobs in the state, but also greatly improve the overall economic health of New Mexico’s communities.

Dr. Jeffrey Mitchell, lead researcher and director of BBER, says the research illustrates that as we invest resources and develop economic policies, we must “recognize that arts and cultural vitality are not luxuries in our communities, they are preconditions to economic development.”

Secretary Gonzales stated,  “This comprehensive economic research on New Mexico paired with the extensive national policy review from BBER, directly links the economic vitality of our communities statewide to the health of our arts and cultural sector.”

Secretary Gonzales said she is pleased that the research underscores the incredible artistic talent and cultural assets in our state.  In response to the recommendations, she stated, “The Department of Cultural Affairs will promote partnerships among public, private, and non-profit sectors that will foster cultural vibrancy statewide, invest in training opportunities for our creative workforce, and develop policies that reward innovation and collaboration. As this report shows, we are fortunate that New Mexico already has a very strong foundation to build upon.”

A 2013 national economic analysis of arts and culture from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and the National Endowment for the Arts reinforces the findings and recommendations outlined in BBER’s report on New Mexico’s economy.

A second community event will be held on Thursday, August 14, 2014 at 1 pm at the Santa Fe Convention Center in Santa Fe.  Both events are free and open to the public. Pre-registration is required. Email Dr. Shelle Sanchez to register to attend.