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UNM’s Economic Development Council thinks business opportunity

Academic units start thinking economic development

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flute & violin players

Deans, administrators and interested faculty members are beginning to think about what UNM does and how it relates to long term economic goals for the university. For example, how do you think about the College of Fine Arts and economic development in the same sentence?

The UNM Economic Development Council is listening to presentations from schools and colleges and beginning to inventory the resources available. The EDC was established by President Robert G. Frank and is comprised of UNM faculty and administrators who serve as a coordinating entity and think tank for the internal UNM community on economic development initiatives – specifically focusing on how UNM can impact the New Mexico economy. The main degree granting units in the College of Fine Arts include: Department of Art & Art History, Department of Music, Department of Theatre & Dance and the Department of Cinematic Arts.

Within those departments there are programs such as Interdisciplinary Film & Digital Media, the Tamarind Institute, the Arts Learning Laboratory and the Arts Management Program. The college has exhibition spaces at the UNM Art Museum, Tamarind Gallery, the John Sommers Gallery, Popejoy and Keller Halls and Rodey Theatre. More than 1,600 undergraduates and graduates spread their collective imagination over the college – but UNM thinks of the college as an academic unit rather than an economic development possibility.

Is there a way to make this talent collective into something the City of Albuquerque can nurture and celebrate?  That is one of the possibilities before the Council.  After all, the most current National Endowment for the Arts rankings place New Mexico No. 1 for fine arts in the workforce, No. 3 for actors and No. 15 for musicians and for the total number of artists in residence – surely one of the best “good” lists New Mexico has ever seen. UNM’s College of Fine Arts currently has more than $1 million in grant awards.

The Economic Development Council is only beginning to survey the landscape, but Lisa Kuuttila, UNM’s Chief Economic Development officer is nudging the academic community to think of something more expansive than grades and degrees.  “We want to assess what colleges and departments are doing or could be doing regarding economic development activities so we can promote all the great economic development assets that are available across the campus.”

She’s asking the academic community whether they want to become part of something larger in the Innovate ABQ economic development picture or whether they want to design that picture for themselves and their students. 

UNM Fine Arts Resources
University of New Mexico Art Museum is free and open to the public and houses expensive permanent collections of photography, prints, the Raymond Jonson Collection and archives of the Tamarind Institute.

Tamarind Institute, a lithography studio and gallery is a division of the College of Fine Arts at UNM.  It trains students in the art of lithography or print making.  It also offers public tours and has rotating displays in the gallery.

UNM ARTS Lab explores immersive dome technology.  It functions as a teaching studio for students and welcomes outside collaborations.

UNM hosts events with the National Institute of Flamenco and offers an undergraduate major in flamenco dance.

UNM offers a music prep school for students of any age and a minor for undergraduates in arts management for students interested in working in museums, galleries or non-profit organizations.

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