Should Art Purchases Take Priority in Tough Budgetary Times?

I recently discussed this issue with KRQE Channel 13. Rather than the state spending taxpayer dollars to purchase art, I’d like to see the state allow up-and-coming artists display their art for sale in public places. Unfortunately, taxpayers are on the hook for art purchases made with our money:

State spending flying under the radar: krqe.com

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6 Replies to “Should Art Purchases Take Priority in Tough Budgetary Times?”

  1. Paul Gessing: No one is suggesting that art purchases take priority in this economy. No one is suggesting that the arts be central focus of government. What state law says is that 1% of capital appropriations be used for art in and around public buildings. You can read about the law here– http://nmarts.org/art-in-public-places.html

    What you need to understand is that arts and culture is jobs. It is one of the largest industries in New Mexico. Purchases by the Arts in Public Places program can mean the difference between a gallery like ours hiring additional staff, and even staying in business. Relatively speaking, AIPP purchases are small expenses that make a very big difference.

    Yours, Michael Carroll

    1. Taxing New Mexicans to buy art does not create jobs. It re-distributes wealth. If the idea is to get art out and before the public, there are better and cheaper ways to do this like giving free space to up and coming artists to show off their work.

  2. Paul Gessing: You are incorrect. The people of New Mexico have said that they think arts and culture has a role in public life via the One Percent for the Arts law. I can personally speak to the success of AIPP in helping with jobs. The program is incredibly successful. There is nothing better in giving free (?) space to up-and-coming artists. It would certainly cheapen–in every sense of the words–the culture of New Mexico. “Cheap” and “the arts” don’t go together as concepts. If you would like to learn about arts and culture and how important they are to jobs, I have a lot of information that I am happy to share with you. Michael Carroll

    1. I’d be happy to have any information on the economic impact of state purchased art in New Mexico. And, no “the people” of New Mexico didn’t approve this program, rather, a bunch of well-connected citizens lobbied their legislators and got a bill passed.

      Just like “the people” of the United States don’t necessarily support ethanol subsidies or foreign aid, “the people” of New Mexico by and large don’t even know that the state is in the business of purchasing art on their behalf.

  3. Hi Paul: You need to give more credit to the citizenry! Apparently your philosophy trumps the reality of my experience. At this point I don’t think that numbers and facts and studies could inform or change your beliefs. All the best, Michael Carroll

  4. Another approach to “public” art is to review the collections every, say, five years, and work to sell off some pieces and acquire better works of the same artist. Also, having experience curators manage collections should improve the quality of collections as well.

    Another point is that when budgets are tight from declining tax revenues, art purchases should be deferred until budget surpluses return.

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