Programs & Services

Arts, Culture, Creativity are Big Business and “Must-Haves” as New Mexico Builds Economic Vibrancy

August 13, 2014

New statewide report reveals a $5.6 billion impact – but business, government, and non-profits are challenged to capitalize on opportunities to fully realize economic potential.

(Albuquerque, NM)Cabinet Secretary Veronica N. Gonzales, New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, releases commissioned report, Building on the Past, Facing the Future: Renewing the Creative Economy that quantifies the current economic impact of arts and cultural industries in New Mexico and identifies challenges and key opportunities. Secretary Gonzales will release the full report on Wednesday, August 13, 2014 at 1 pm in the Bank of America Theatre at National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque.

The comprehensive 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. Key data from the report include:

  • The arts and cultural sector contributes $5.6 billion to New Mexico’s economy each year.
  • Arts and cultural industries provide primary employment for 76,756 New Mexicans (9.8% of employment).
  • Arts and cultural industries contribute $2.2 billion in wages and salaries annually.
  • Arts and cultural industries generate $137 million in revenues 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 that “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 richness of 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, non-profit, and private entities, will foster cultural vibrancy statewide, invest in training opportunities for our creative workforce, and develop policies that reward innovation and collaboration. We are fortunate that, as this report shows, we already have a 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 in Albuquerque or Santa Fe.

About BBER ( The University of New Mexico Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER), established in 1945, has decades of experience and a proven track record in providing objective and credible demographic and economic information, analysis, and projections to New Mexico businesses, state and local government agencies, and the general public.

The New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs is New Mexico’s cultural steward and is charged with preserving and showcasing the state’s cultural riches. With its eight museums, eight historic sites, arts, archaeology, historic preservation and library programs, the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs is one of the largest and most diverse state cultural agencies in the nation. Together, the facilities, programs and services of the Department support a $5.6 billion cultural industry in New Mexico.

For press inquiries, or to obtain an advance copy of the report’s executive summary, please contact: Dr. Shelle Sanchez, Director of Strategic Initiatives, New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs,, (505) 469-3399; or Loie Fecteau, Director of New Mexico Arts,, (505) 231-7852.


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