Cindy, New Mexico, Las Cruces discussed on Talk 1260 KTRC Programming
As a member of the Santa Fe Railyard Park and Plaza Public Art Planning Committee, a founding board member of the New Mexico Community Arts Network and membership on the New Mexico Public Arts Task Force. Deborah Welcome to the show. Hi, Cindy. Thank you so much for having me. It's so great to have you and to actually connect with you. It's been quite, uh, sometimes since we last chatted, Um you have been busy. It's been probably a pretty strange and tumultuous time. Being in such a high level leadership position in our state during this pandemic. I guess the first question I have for our audiences for some context. What does a Cabinet secretary of cultural affairs do? Well, thank you, Cindy. I think yeah, I think that's a That's a reasonable question. And I don't think a lot of set of fans are a lot of new Mexicans are really aware of the Department of Cultural Affairs and how incredible it is. So the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs is the largest and broadest state cultural agency in the country. And we operate the largest state run museum system in the country. So we do everything from historic preservation, archaeology, library services grants, public art, and then, of course, we have eight museums across the States State, everything from the farm and Ranch Museum down in Los Cruces, Uh, Space history in Alamogordo, the National Hispanic Cultural Center and the Natural History Museum in Albuquerque and then the Museum of International National Folk Art Museum of Indian Art and Culture, Museum of Art and the History Museum Palace of the Governors here insanity and then we also you just rattled that off off the top of your head like I'm watching you, and that was not even a list And then how many historic sites we have eight historic sites. Um, they are as far south as Fort Selden, which is right outside of Las Cruces, just north of Las Cruces. And, of course, Beautiful, loose, loose arrows up in northern New Mexico. So we are broadly speaking, the Stewarts of cultural resources in New Mexico. Um and our charge help focuses heavily on preservation and stewardship, but also education, especially for the youth of New Mexico. So everything we do has an educational focus to it. And so my job is to keep that incredible machine running. A line up to the governor's agenda and her vision for New Mexico so ensuring that we're serving our rule in tribal communities, Uh, contributing to economic development and tourism, being a sustainable as possible and movie and all of our facilities and operations to a sustainable blueprint. So it's a it's a big job. But it's also, um, an incredible job. It is amazing serving for governor and our lieutenant governor. Um, this year, um, the cabinet and all of my colleagues on the cabinet. We've had to come together, which was an expectation that the governor set for day one that we would be a cabinet that work together and supported. Um Her as well as the state of New Mexico. And that turned out to be amazing foresight because we have all had to work with each other over the past year in ways we probably never planned on doing Yeah, before we get to pandemic and sort of the ramifications of culture throughout our estate, sort of coming out of this time. You stepped into this position. I'm obviously you interacted with other Cabinet secretaries of culture. In the past, you've had a very you know, high profile political job, but definitely on a much smaller scale. What has been the most surprising aspect of this role as you've taken it on that you you weren't expecting or that it has just been different than you had expected, Uh, what this job might entail. Um, The biggest surprise has been the facility's operation. Um, so the department is responsible for its own facilities. Most state agencies follow under the General Services Division. We don't we own and take care of our own facilities. 191 structures across the state. 100 of them are on the on some type of historic registry. Um, it's over a million square feet of occupied space that welcomes 4 to 5 million visitors a year. Many of them are open seven days a week. 362 or 363 days a week. Um, so there's an incredible facilities element to all of this, Um, Fort Stanton. We're putting in a new water system right now. If you had asked me what I was going to grad school at the Art Institute of Chicago, but I'd ever be involved in placing a entire water system for a community. I would have said no. But here we are, Um, and it's great, and it actually placed to some of the strengths or at least Knowledge base that I have developed at the city of San Okay when I led the public art program and really focused on projects that were integrated into facilities and infrastructure projects, So that's that was a big surprise. That baby. I mean everything about what you're describing. I like to think of myself as very involved in in culture in New Mexico, and I just had no idea the scale and scope of what your department does and what you specifically do so obviously the pandemic You know has changed. Everybody's lives certainly has changed how we consume culture and I think I would argue our need for arts and culture as we heal as we transition. Into a new normal life. What are your key priorities? What are you looking at? As a cabinet secretary, as we, you know, move into a more open world are museums are open again. You know, we're really able to now travel. What does that look like for you? And what is the state looking at in terms of how we leveraged power culture to move forward? Wow, That's that's a loaded question. I'm not sure we have time in the segment to go into everything, so I just tried it to hit some highlights. I think one of um the shining, you know, the bright spots in the pandemic has been the department's ability to pivot to online resources and to outreach to continue to deliver programs and services again, especially to rural areas and and two students..