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National Center for Arts Research Identifies Most Vibrant Arts Communities

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Jun 01, 2015

Washington D.C., Nashville, and New York are among the most vibrant arts communities in the country, according to new research from the Southern Methodist University’s National Center for Arts Research (NCAR). The report creates an “arts vibrancy index,” a ranking of more than 900 communities across the country that takes into account the level of supply, demand, and government support for arts and culture within a given population.

What decides the vibrancy of an arts community? While recognizing the complexity of this question, the researchers suggest that vibrancy can be assessed by looking at a wide range of interrelated factors: the supply of artistic resources (people working in the arts, number of arts organizations, etc.), the demand for arts programming (arts program revenue, total expenses, etc.) and the amount of governmental support for the arts (state arts grants and federal arts dollars). When looking at these indicators, the most vibrant arts communities are:

  1. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
  2. Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN
  3. New York-Jersey City-White Plains, NY-NJ
  4. Boston, MA
  5. San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, CA

“The numbers are only the start of the story, not the end,” says Dr. Zannie Giraud Voss, Director of NCAR. “Each city in our report is unique in what makes it a vibrant community for the arts. Our intention in developing this report is to stimulate conversation about what makes a city vibrant in the arts and how arts vibrancy varies across cities.”

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This resource brought to you by the National Guild for Community Arts Education. www.nationalguild.org