March 28, 2017

Supporting New Mexico Artists and Boosting Our Creative Economy

New Mexico is home to one of the most vibrant artistic communities in America. The abundance of art in our state reflects our unique and diverse heritage, and our artists play a vital role in shaping our culture, and building the future of our state.

The arts are also an important part of our economy. One in 10 jobs in New Mexico is related to arts and culture, from Navajo jewelers in Gallup to performers and artisans in Las Cruces. And from Pueblo sculptors, santeros and weavers in Northern New Mexico to painters in Silver City. That’s why, last year, I introduced a bill to support artists, arts entrepreneurs and workers employed in tourism and cultural development in growing their businesses, accessing funding, and expanding their networks within local communities. And this year, I've updated it thanks to their helpful insight.
We've received enormous support since we first unveiled the Comprehensive Resources for Entrepreneurs in the Arts to Transform the Economy Act – the CREATE Act. But we knew it could be improved. My staff and I traveled across the state – from Gallup, Silver City and Albuquerque, to Santa Fe and Las Cruces – to meet with artists and arts entrepreneurs to get their feedback on this legislation. They told me that they need more help raising startup funds and with marketing — so we have added that. And last week, I reintroduced the bill. It now includes measures to help artists with grant writing, marketing and financial planning, so they're better prepared to handle the business side of things. 
The legislation boosts the creative economy in three main ways; it gives support to artists and entrepreneurs to create and sustain arts-related businesses; it helps museums and institutions make art more available to the public; and it provides more opportunities for our communities to access the arts.
These improvements will make a big difference, and I thank all of the artists in New Mexico who offered suggestions and helped shape this updated legislation — and our conversation is not over. Artists and arts entrepreneurs often struggle to grow their businesses and fund their projects, and we need to do more for them in New Mexico. I want to hear from you about this bill and how the arts are important to your community. Please share your ideas with me—through letters or phone calls to my office, or on my website or social media— about how we can continue to grow the arts in our communities.