Applications due to state at end of month

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FARMINGTON — Downtown Farmington soon may become the ninth arts and cultural district in the state.

The City Council will discuss applying for the designation during its work session at 9 a.m. Tuesday at Farmington City Hall, 800 N. Municipal Drive. Applications are due at the end of the month.

The New Mexico Arts and Cultural Districts program was authorized by the state Legislature in 2007 as a way of expanding the creative economy in New Mexico. Two pilot programs began in 2008 in Las Vegas, N.M., and Silver City. There is now a total of eight districts in the state: Albuquerque, Artesia, Gallup, Las Vegas, Los Alamos, Mora, Raton and Silver City.

The districts receive assistance with developing cultural plans and receive historic tax credits to help rehabilitate structures.

Michael Bulloch, the city's downtown coordinator, said the designation would be a way for Farmington to show it understands that the economy, particularly in the downtown district, is very dependent on arts and culture.

He said the district has several galleries, trading posts and photography studios, as well as theaters. The designation would also be a way for the city to educate residents about the arts and cultural experiences available in the district.

It could also help the city receive state grants. Bulloch said there is not a lot of state money in the funds supporting arts and culture districts in the state, but the economy is improving, and those funds could be replenished.

The designation also would put the city on the state's Art and Cultural District map for tourism, which Bulloch said likely would boost tourism.

In addition to Farmington's City Council work session, the Central Consolidated School District will have a board meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in Kirtland.

The San Juan County Commission was scheduled to meet at 4 p.m. Tuesday, but the meeting has been postponed until Jan. 23.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.

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