SANTA FE — During testimony Monday before the Legislative Finance Committee (LFC), New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs (NMDCA) Secretary Debra Garcia y Griego requested $37.25 million in general funds for the agency’s fiscal year 2023 operating budget.
These funds will ensure ongoing education, protection, and preservation of the state’s rich cultural resources. This represents a 10 percent increase over fiscal year 2022.
“Over the past fiscal year, and indeed over the past 18 months, I’m very proud of the Department’s accomplishments,” Secretary Garcia y Griego said. “We have proactively managed our vacancies and loss of revenue due to closures. We did not have any furloughs or layoffs, we are not requesting any supplementals or deficiencies, rather we carefully controlled our expenses and managed our cash to ride through over $4.3 million in lost revenue. With the guidance and perseverance of CFO Greg Geisler, the Department received $1.7 million in Shuttered Venue Operator Grant (SVOG) funding that went to several of the museum divisions. They are using these funds to cover costs and loss in budget due to the pandemic, but also to promote their return to operation, bringing visitors and residents back into these sites.”
NMDCA has developed a hybrid approach to delivering services as New Mexico continues to navigate the pandemic. The agency continues to meet people where they are, whether in a museum or historic site, in their living room, or in a classroom. While in-person service resumed in late February 2021, NMDCA continues to see a strong desire for virtual programming. This allows participation in programs and cultural content regardless of geography.
NMDCA continues to focus heavily on facilities, construction, and repairs. Several important remedies have recently been completed at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science in their collections building; work has been underway in the National Hispanic Cultural Center’s parking lot to fill potholes, repair irrigation lines, and replace trees; and the overhaul of Fort Stanton’s water system continues to move along.
The agency is requesting a base budget increase of $2.5 million to support statutory mandates, predominantly at its museums and historic sites. Additionally, NMDCA is requesting $850,000 for personnel and operating costs at the New Mexico Museum of Art – Vladem Contemporary for exhibitions and programs that increase visibility; $130,000 for personnel support for the southern region facilities managers to ensure cultural resources protection, preservation, and education; $150,000 in contract and operating funding to further arts learning and education; and $150,000 for contract and operating support to expand rural program delivery and increase collaboration with tribal communities.
“Adequate funding is vital to the DCA’s ability to serve its mission by providing a broad range of cultural services, including arts education programs, libraries, historic preservation, archaeological research, collection and preservation of cultural resources, and operating the state’s 8 museums and 7 historic sites,” Secretary Garcia y Griego said.
About the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs
Created in 1978 by the New Mexico Legislature, the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) is New Mexico’s cultural steward, charged with preserving and showcasing the state’s cultural riches. With its eight museums, seven historic sites, arts, archaeology, historic preservation, and library programs, the DCA 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.