Gov. Lujan Grisham breaks ground on Creative Campus in Las Cruces
LAS CRUCES – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Tuesday broke ground on the new Creative Campus at New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center, which will house the Las Cruces satellite campus of the New Mexico Media Academy alongside new film and media educational facilities for Doña Ana Community College and NMSU.
The New Mexico Media Academy (NMMA) is a priority initiative of Gov. Lujan Grisham, who has identified film and television production as a key industry sector in the state to create high-paying jobs and diversify the economy. The governor will announce the location of the New Mexico Media Academy headquarters tomorrow in Albuquerque.
“The Las Cruces satellite campus of the New Mexico Media Academy exemplifies the collaboration that continues to grow the film and television industry in communities all across the state,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said. “The partnership between the booming industry and New Mexico’s tuition-free higher education will foster that growth and support the impressive field of top-notch production companies and media programs right here in Las Cruces.”
The Creative Campus will feature a 4,000-square-foot traditional soundstage, a volumetric stage, flex classrooms, and classrooms designed specifically for graphic and web design, game design, virtual reality, animation, cinematography, and more. Additionally, the building commons will be a hub for students and activities such as screenings.
“The Creative Media Technology Program at DACC prepares students for the workforce in Las Cruces and across the region,” Monica Torres, Doña Ana Community College president, said. “It is exciting to provide a state-of-the-art facility for students to develop the skills needed for a growing industry in Southern New Mexico.”
“This is such an exciting project for Doña Ana Community College, for New Mexico State University, and for everyone in our region,” NMSU Chancellor Dan Arvizu said. “This facility will provide incredible opportunities for our students while supporting new economic development opportunities. The film industry has a bright future in New Mexico and we’re proud to have the Creative Campus as part of NMSU’s Arrowhead Park.”
The New Mexico Media Academy will offer a certificate program that fast-tracks students into film and media jobs with specific craft training and on-set paid apprenticeships with New Mexico Film Partners, Netflix, NBCUniversal and 828 Productions. The Las Cruces NMMA campus, in collaboration with NMSU and DACC, will offer a bespoke bilingual curriculum helping to create a film set-savvy and bilingual crew base that will be ready to work on Spanish-language productions, for which there is a major global demand. A one-of-a-kind “teach the teachers” program is also planned to train high school and college instructors about the industry, the latest production technologies and equipment, and best practices. Fifteen New Mexico post-secondary film and media programs across the state have already partnered with the NMMA and agreed upon a core curriculum that will cover basic production knowledge.
Gov. Lujan Grisham proposed the creation of a state media academy in 2022 in order to prepare students for employment in the state’s thriving film and media industry. The governor secured $40 million in the 2022 legislative session for the establishment of the NMMA and its first satellite campus in Las Cruces.
“In the context of Arrowhead Center’s mission and New Mexico State University’s commitment to increase economic opportunity through entrepreneurship and innovation, creativity is a core value that we embrace in all that we do,” Kathryn Hansen, Director of Arrowhead Center at NMSU, said. “The Creative Campus at Arrowhead Park is our next step in fostering the collaborative, entrepreneurial environment that brings together creatives from industry, academics, and the community to provide solutions to current and future needs and to generate the economic impact that our communities require. This is an exciting day as we break ground on a new facility for Doña Ana Community College that will be a major driver in realizing our Creative Campus vision.”
“The Las Cruces creative campus and bilingual curriculum will not only train southern New Mexicans for successful careers in film and television, but it will also boost a valuable industry in the ever-growing economy of the Borderplex,” New Mexico Economic Development Secretary Alicia J. Keyes said. “Southern New Mexico’s media production environment continues to grow, with last year’s designation of Las Cruces’s own 828 Productions as an official state film partner and this year’s expansion of the rural uplift. As the industry continues to expand across the region, the Las Cruces satellite campus of the New Mexico Media Academy will ensure that we can meet the demand for skilled crew, building a successful workforce statewide.”
Las Cruces was named by MovieMaker Magazine as one of the top ten cities for film professionals to live and work in 2023.
“Las Cruces has already proven itself as a film production hotspot, and with today’s groundbreaking, this very special southern city will also become a hotspot for forward-thinking film workforce training,” said Amber Dodson, Director of the New Mexico Film Office.
Direct spending from film and television productions hit a record high of $855 million in the most recent fiscal year, a 36% increase over the fiscal year 2021. Direct spending grew from $6.5 million in the fiscal year 2021 to $50 million last year. Spending in rural communities outside of the Albuquerque-Santa Fe corridor has also exploded due to added incentives championed by the governor.