We knew arts were the best all along, but a new report from the National Endowment for the Arts' Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account ranks New Mexico among 13 states with the fastest-growing arts and culture economies in the country. The sector accounted for more than $800 billion of America's GDP, or 4.3 percent, in 2016 and represents arts and culture's rising impact on the national economy.
"Arts and culture adds nearly $60 billion more than construction," the report reads, "and $227 billion more than transportation and warehousing to the US economy."
According to the report, which focused on the three-year period between 2014 to 2016, New Mexico ranks seventh on the list with 7.7 percent growth, just below California and Tennessee's 7.8 percent growth, but a far cry from Washington state, which takes the top slot at 11.9 percent. The average growth among all states rests at 5.9 percent.
Impactful industries are many, but the report cites both sound recording and motion pictures as some of the highest contributors to the boom here, particularly interesting given former Gov. Susana Martinez' 2011 implementing of a $50 million cap on film incentive rebate dollars. Critics cited the cap as a reason for income lost to other states with more robust incentives, such as Georgia, which claims the NEA report's second-highest slot at 11.1 percent growth.
Legislators in the session that wrapped last weekend approved SB 2, which would increase the cap to $110 million among other provisions, however, and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's spokesman says she'll sign it.
"The [filmmaking] industry succeeded in spite of the previous administration, which shows the strength of the industry," Santa Fe Film Office Executive Director Eric Witt tells SFR. "Now that you have an administration—and Legislature, by the way—that's supportive, we'll go back to a natural growth. I think you're going to see production double in the next 18 to 24 months."
Also included as big money-makers according to the report are architecture, jewelry manufacturers, live theater and performing arts.