New Mexico Arts and the Military

 ABQ Therapeutic Songwriting Ken Weedington

What is Arts and the Military?

The Arts & The Military Initiative is deeply rooted in New Mexico Arts’ mission to ensure the arts are central to the lives of New Mexicans. New Mexico has 141,558 veterans residing in the state with military retirees in all 33 counties. 8.8% of the adults in the state are veterans, a higher percentage than neighboring states and the 12th largest veteran-to-adult population in the United States. 21 New Mexico counties have a veteran population where half are over age 65. New Mexico is also home to 11,458 veterans who are between the ages of 18 and 34. 31,371 are age 35 to 54.


New Mexico Arts and The Military Program Goals

  1. Create more opportunities for military and veteran audiences – including active-duty service members, reservists, National Guard members, veterans, their families and caregivers, and others – to meaningfully engage with the arts.
  1. Build capacity among New Mexico organizations to offer arts programs for military-connected participants.

The Next Phase of Arts and the Military

The next phase of the New Mexico Arts & The Military program will shift from information gathering to a multi-pronged approached aligned with new strategic goals. New Mexico Arts is prepared to support arts organizations and collaborating veteran focused organizations creating and expanding opportunities for veterans and active-duty service members to engage with the arts.

$2,000 Mini Grants program is planned to assist organizations creating and expanding arts programming for military connected participants via a streamlined granting process.

In addition, New Mexico Arts will facilitate capacity building for organizations interested in offering arts programs for military-connected audiences soon. Workshops, professional development, and tactical planning workshops will be offered to New Mexico organizations to equip them for future arts programming.

History of New Mexico Arts and the Military

In 2015, New Mexico Arts began to explore the relationships between veterans, military families, government agencies, and non-profit arts organizations that believe in the healing power of art and creativity. With guidance from the National Endowment for the Arts and Americans for the Arts, a series of facilitated roundtables across the state were held with representatives of the arts community and the military community. Along with the round tables, a survey was distributed, and other Veteran related information resources were collected and compiled. The Arts & The Military program also supported community building arts activities such as the Love Armor Project, a collaboration with Keshet Dance and EXIT12 dance company and a Veteran’s Songwriting Project among others.

The covid pandemic paused all public programming in 2020-2022 but staff initiated a collaboration with the Art in Public Places program to produce two series of posters featuring art works from veteran artists dedicated to the state’s first responders and front-line pandemic personnel. In 2022, a collaboration with the State Library system produced a resource library that included both electronic and hard copy texts focused on Arts and Healing topics for veterans. These books continue to be available via online library access as well as hard copy books in over 100 libraries located across the state of New Mexico.


Find the FY23 Arts and the Military Mini Grants Initiative Final Report and Invoice here

New opportunities happening soon. Check back often.

Follow NM Arts & The Military on Facebook