Arts, culture have big impact on state

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A study being released by state officials shows the arts and culture industries have a $5.6 billion economic impact in New Mexico.
The Cultural Affairs Department released the report Wednesday during an event at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque.
Aside from detailing the dollars behind the state’s arts and cultural attractions, the report says there are shortfalls that need to be addressed if the state wants to realize even more of the sector’s economic potential.
The report challenges businesses, government agencies and nonprofit groups to find more ways to take advantage of the state’s strengths.
Researchers say the cultural and creative industries are changing thanks to technology, but New Mexico needs to do more to adapt.
The study was done by the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of New Mexico.
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 percent of employment -- one of out of every 10 jobs).
• 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.
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.”
Cabinet Secretary Veronica N. Gonzales, New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, said, “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.”
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.