Mexico has one of the richest cultural heritages in the world and ranks sixth in terms of UNESCO World Heritage Sites internationally. Mexico possesses an expansive array of artwork and antiquities which offers business opportunities for U.S. exporters of museum supplies and high level technology for conservation. Mexico City and the metropolitan area represent the largest market for artwork domestically. Trends include growth in science, technology and children themed museums. There are approximately 18 million annual visitors to Mexican cultural sites, which include archeological locations, museums and art centers. Of these, 3.5 million are foreign visitors.
The National Council for Culture and Arts (Conaculta) is a government entity that coordinates cultural and artistic policies, organizations, and agencies. It also promotes, supports, and sponsors events to foster the sector. Their cultural information system has registered 1,773 cultural houses and cultural centers in Mexico. States with a significant presence of cultural sites include Puebla, Mexico City, Estado de Mexico and Oaxaca. There are an estimated 58,242 visitors per cultural center. Conaculta estimates that 57 percent of Mexican museums are public compared with 14 percent private.
The Mexican government issued a national program of culture for 2007-2012, which proposed an increase of resources for culture. This program details how to channel investment in cultural infrastructure for maintenance programs and space renovation, and services with priority to those that represent major impact in the cultural life of Mexicans. However, there is a need to strengthen the industry with a practical legal framework to organize cultural investment and exchange. Twenty percent of Mexico’s annual cultural budget is devoted to projects. The Mexican government is evaluating a new program to expand the cultural sector.
The private sector includes foundations, companies and banks that preserve and promote culture in Mexico. These players also manage corporate stewardship programs that cover education, academics, art and culture. In some cases, they have their own showrooms where they exhibit seasonal or thematic collections.
Conaculta estimates a local base of 609 public museums, followed by 154 private museums, 24 mixed museums, and 240 community museums. The artwork market has a market potential of USD$21 million dollars, as per 2011 statistics. However, these numbers have increased and US imports for 2012 might reach up to USD$11 million dollars, representing an export market share of 50 percent. Conaculta’s Cultural Information System reports a total of 1,058 museums nationwide. High concentrations of museums are located in Mexico City (127), Estado de Mexico, (74), and Jalisco (66).
There is a need for software technologies that facilitate information sharing for cultural project decision-making and storage. These technologies might include the ability to create and maintain databases, inventory, and information or extend multiple applications on related based platforms. Other needs include installation of specialized laboratories with chemistry and x-rays for artwork authentication along with expert seminars to prevent forgeries. Lithograph artwork which is used in resorts, hotels and restaurants has a good potential in this market. Mexico also possesses a Center of Architecture and Design (CAD) which functions as a designer shopping center where potential consumers such as architects and designers look for innovative art and modern creations.