New Mexico School for the Arts, the state’s only public, statewide high school offering pre-professional arts training and academics, opened its doors in 2010 with 138 students and has since established itself as one of New Mexico’s top-performing schools.
The school got its start in 2007, when a group of New Mexico parents and educators began to envision an in-state pre-professional arts high school that could serve the state’s creative youth. The idea seemed like a natural fit for a state so rich in arts culture, history and industry. It quickly gained momentum with the support of area artists, philanthropists and policy makers, who joined forces to develop a charter application
that was approved by the Public Education Commission of New Mexico and signed into law under Senate Bill 34
by Governor Bill Richardson in 2008.
State legislation gives NMSA unique structure and policies to fulfill its mission to provide educational opportunity to New Mexico students who have demonstrated artistic abilities and potential. It enables admission by audition, based on a student’s passion, promise and aptitude, and provides state funding for academic programming, which is overseen by a Governing Council
in accordance with the New Mexico Charter Schools Act. The NMSA Art Institute, the school’s nonprofit partner, with support from its Board of Trustees
, funds the school’s residential and outreach program entirely and the arts program almost entirely through private contributions.