From early pioneers and ranchers to oil entrepreneurs, Artesia has long been a center of culture and commerce in southern New Mexico, with a history tied to agriculture and later with the opening of the oil fields locally and Permian Basin regionally. Artesia enjoys exceptional private support of the arts, investing in the city’s quality of life through public art projects, the performing arts, and arts education. Local artists have contributed to exhibits at the Artesia Historical Museum and Art Center, as well as to the Heritage Walkway, a series of murals downtown. Eleven monumental sculptures comprise the History in Bronze public art project, representing the cattle drive era and the later discovery of oil in the area. The Artesia Arts Council offers workshops, sponsors arts activities, and manages the Ocotillo Performing Arts Center which hosts many performance events. New and recent films are on offer at the historic Land of Sun Theatre. The Red Dirt Black Gold Festival celebrates the community’s unique heritage and connection to the local oil and gas industry, with more than 3,500 festival-goers in attendance last year.