Arts Trails: Funding Guidelines

The Arts Trails Program is an art and economic development initiative designed to put New Mexico artists on the map and bring the market to artisans and enterprises statewide.  The Arts Trails Program seeks to provide visibility for New Mexico artists so that they can be productive as artists and increase the sales of their work while continuing to live in their current communities.  The trails are a way to market the outstanding quality, vibrancy, and diversity of the arts in New Mexico to the rest of the world, bringing recognition and beneficial economic development to New Mexico communities rich in artistic traditions and expressions.

An arts trail is a series of artists’ studios, galleries, and other related sites within a geographic region (one county to statewide).  The trail may be limited to sites related to one artistic discipline (pottery, fiber arts, glass arts, etc.), or it may be multidisciplinary (open to all artistic disciplines).  Sites on the trail must open for business year-round.  Marketing materials for Arts Trails may also include restaurant, lodging, and important community historical and/or cultural information that can enhance the visitor’s experience on the trail.

*Studio tours are not eligible to apply for Arts Trails funding.  Please see Economic and Entrepreneurial Development funding, for more information about support for studio tours.

Some of the goals of the program are listed here.

  • Respond to artists’ stated needs to work in their studios while earning their livelihoods in their current locales.
  • Promote arts-based tourism throughout New Mexico.
  • Stimulate year-round local arts-based economic activity in communities throughout New Mexico, especially in rural areas.
  • Increase New Mexicans’ awareness of the impact artists have on their communities or regions.

Arts Trails Eligibility Criteria:

  • The applicant must be a tax-exempt nonprofit organization or use a fiscal agent, and must serve as lead-partner with other nonprofit and for-profit partners to present an Art Trail in its region.
  • An application for Arts Trails support may be submitted by an organization submitting an application for other projects in another funding category.
  • The sites on the Arts Trails must be open for business year-round.
  • Applicants for Arts Trails are limited to a maximum request of $20,000.
  • Arts Trails requests must include a 50% match by the applicant organization, at least 25% of which must be cash.

Eligible Projects: Arts Trails Start-Up or Arts Trails Development

New Mexico Arts offers two grant categories for Arts Trails: Arts Trails Start-Up and Arts Trails Development.

  • A Start-Up application is appropriate for years one and two as the trail is being organized.  Start-Up Arts Trails develop criteria for acceptance for sites on the trail, issue calls for applications, jury the applications, and create the initial arts trail map.  Web development, print materials, and business training for artists and sites are other examples of appropriate activities during this initial phase.  A timeline for start-up activities is required in the application.
  • Arts Trails Development projects have moved through the start-up phase and are now in operation.  New Mexico Arts encourages development projects to highlight marketing the arts trail (including website); provide business training for artists and sites; create unique events that promote the arts trail; and collect data regarding new jobs created, numbers of visitors, and income increases from sites along the arts trail.  Arts Trails Development applications may be catered to projects that meet the specific needs of the trail.  A marketing plan is required in a development application.  The plan should include a variety of methods print, web, etc., and how the methods will be used to reach different audiences.