Museum of New Mexico Media Center Press Release

Groundbreaking study reveals impact of $740.9 million by nonprofit arts and culture sector to state economy in 2022

New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs

December 14, 2023


SANTA FE, NM — New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs today announced that New Mexico’s nonprofit arts and culture industry generated $740.9 million in economic activity in 2022, according to the newly released Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 (AEP6), an economic and social impact study conducted by Americans for the Arts. That economic activity–$267.5 million in spending by nonprofit arts and culture organizations and $473.4 million in event-related spending by their audiences–supported 9,381 jobs and generated $106.1 million in local, state, and federal government revenue. Spending by arts and culture audiences generates valuable commerce to local merchants, a value-add that few other industries can compete with. New Mexico exceeds the national average in many areas including per person spending. 

“Our vibrant arts and culture scene is a testament to New Mexico’s uniqueness, attracting visitors and dollars from across the nation and the world,” said Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. “The nonprofit arts are a powerful engine driving New Mexico’s economic prosperity, delivering $740 million in the last year.” 

Building on its 30-year legacy as the largest and most inclusive study of its kind, AEP6 uses a rigorous methodology to document the economic and social contributions of the nation’s nonprofit arts and culture industry. The study demonstrates locally as well as nationally, arts and culture are a critical economic driver of vibrant communities. In New Mexico, the data was collected in the cities of Santa Fe and Albuquerque through their respective Departments of Arts and Culture, and in Taos County through the Millicent Rogers Museum. New Mexico Arts, the state arts agency and a division of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, managed the project at the state level and worked with local non-profit arts organizations to collect data in rural communities across the state. 

“Investing in the nonprofit arts bolsters New Mexico’s economy, fostering a genuine sense of pride and community among residents and visitors alike.” said New Mexico State Cultural Affairs Cabinet Secretary Debra Garcia y Griego, “It also nurtures our artistic communities, showcasing the respect and confidence people have in the endeavors taking place here.” 

Nationally, the Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 (AEP6) study reveals that America’s nonprofit arts and culture sector is a $151.7 billion industry—one that supports 2.6 million jobs and generates $29.1 billion in government revenue. 

“Arts and culture organizations have a powerful ability to attract and hold dollars in the community longer. They employ people locally, purchase goods and services from nearby businesses, and produce the authentic cultural experiences that are magnets for visitors, tourists, and new residents,” said Nolen V. Bivens, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “When we invest in nonprofit arts and culture, we strengthen our economy and build more livable communities.” 

AEP6 represents a reset from its previous versions, establishing a new benchmark in the AEP study series. For the first time, AEP6 expands beyond the economic and financial data to include social impact measurements of arts and culture’s effect on the well-being of communities and residents. AEP6 also broke new ground by prioritizing equity, community engagement, and inclusivity.  

Key figures from New Mexico’s AEP6 study include: 

By measuring arts and culture’s wide-ranging impact, public and private sector leaders can work together to secure funding and arts-friendly policies that shape more vibrant and equitable communities. 

“Arts and culture in New Mexico are deeply rooted in our communities and a tremendous source of pride for all of us who have the pleasure to live here. In addition, this long and rich cultural history has given New Mexico a reputation around the world.” said Michelle Laflamme-Childs, Executive Director of New Mexico Arts, “Fostering New Mexico’s creative activity through public funding for the arts is critical to our financial future. The arts not only provide direct economic benefits by creating jobs and generating tax revenue but also stimulate economic growth by creating communities where people want to live and work.” 

“This study affirms what Santa Fe has long known and celebrated—that the arts are not only an integral part of life here, but also our livelihood,” said Chelsey Johnson, Arts & Culture Director, Santa Fe Department of Arts & Culture. “Arts and culture’s remarkable economic impact helps to sustain our local artists and creative businesses, the people who help define the very character of Santa Fe. We look forward to continuing to strengthen and grow our arts economy so that present and future generations of artists and creators can thrive here.” 

The full report and the summary of findings for the State of New Mexico, the national report, and full reports for Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Taos County can be found at

Other resources, including a map of the 373 study regions and a two-page economic impact summary for each, can be found at


Created in 1978 by the New Mexico Legislature, the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs (NMDCA) is New Mexico’s cultural steward, charged with preserving and showcasing the state’s cultural riches. With its eight museums, eight historic sites, arts, archaeology, historic preservation, and library programs, NMDCA 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. 

New Mexico Arts is the state arts agency and a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs. New Mexico Arts administers the state’s One Percent for Public Art program, awards grants to nonprofit organizations for arts and cultural programs in their communities across the state, and provides technical assistance and educational opportunities for organizations, artists, and arts educators throughout New Mexico. 

The Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 study was conducted by Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education. It was supported by The Ruth Lilly Endowment Fund of Americans for the Arts. Americans for the Arts’ 297 study partners contributed both time and financial support to the study. For a full list of the communities who participated in the Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 study, visit 

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