In the last few months I have read of the demise or potential demise of two popular annual New Mexico art shows. I am terrifically saddened by this. It is more than missing the art and the camaraderie of the artists. It is a loss of economic opportunity for artists in our State. Reasons for the cancellation or potential cancellation of the events range from the difficulty of managing them to a lack of government contribution to the expenses.
In the latter case, the potential for reduced government involvement in underwriting community events has been discussed for a few years. Organizations have long been encouraged to find additional funding sources. For whatever reasons, the sponsors of these events been reluctant to find additional underwriters. Maybe it is the belief that the governments should see the benefit in sales and lodgers' taxes the events bring to the communities. Maybe it is the belief that a commercial sponsor would somehow "taint" the event. I think the local government sponsorship train has left the station in most areas. It is time to re-evaluate commercial sponsorship, underwriting, or other sources of outside funding.
The need for funding likely exceeds the marketing funds available for sponsorships. It would be nice if it didn't, but I believe that is the case at least for now. As businesses see the benefits of sponsoring events -- increased business, tax deductions, good PR -- the number and of sponsorships and their dollar values are likely to increase. Perhaps Creative New Mexico can work with the State and with marketing experts to:
a) act as place (via the CNM online community) for sharing information and ideas about event sponsorship and other issues related to economic development through the arts,
b) create a document or package to help local organizations make a case for commercial sponsorship or underwriting of events
c) assist local organizations to connect with potential sponsors.
John J. McDermott, CPLP
Learning and Performance Consultant
jjm at jkintl.com 575/737-8556
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