11% is the amount by which US arts-related jobs are expected to grow between 2008 and 2018.

is the number of arts-related jobs Santa Fe County supported in 2004, equivalent to approximately 17.5 percent of the labor force.

"Why should medical students have opportunity to do practicum and we not in our art department?"—Mechele Hesbrook, dean of Santa Fe Community College’s School of Arts and Design

Nationwide, arts-related jobs will grow just as quickly as the entire labor force over the next eight years, according to a recent US Bureau of Labor Statistics report. Much of that growth should come to Santa Fe, which already has the second-highest percentage of artists in the labor force, according to a 2008 study by the National Endowment for the Arts.

"[Art] is our strength," Hesbrook tells SFR. "It's the reason people come here."

A 2004 study by the University of New Mexico's Bureau of Business and Economic Research found that more than three-quarters of Santa Fe County's arts-related business came from people living outside the county.

BBER hasn't updated the study in seven years; since then, the arts market has likely taken a nosedive.

The city's 200 art galleries are merely a facet of its arts market, Hesbrook says; interior designers, costume and set designers for the opera, and staffing for films fill out the rest of the industry.

SFCC hopes to take advantage of the projected growth by giving students internships in each of those fields, Hesbrook says. In her view, art students are often denied hands-on experience.

To illustrate her point, she mentions her own two daughters. One is in law school, and the other is pursuing a master's of fine arts. The law student has a wealth of pro bono work and clerkship options, while Hesbrook's other daughter has practically none. "That's pretty much the path of arts students," she says.

Hesbrook cites the student-run Red Dot Gallery on Canyon Road as an example of SFCC's efforts to change that—and as a validation of how Santa Fe can make art synonymous with economic revitalization.

“I felt it was imperative we have a learning laboratory,” she says. “That’s what the Red Dot Gallery is.”