San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, CA, reclaims top spot on the list of most arts-vibrant large communities for the first time since 2018; Milwaukee-Waukesha, WI and Canton-Massillon, OH secure rankings for the first time ever.
SMU DataArts, the National Center for Arts Research, presents the 2023 Arts Vibrancy Index which recognizes and celebrates the most arts-vibrant communities across the United States. Programming shutdowns, layoffs, shifts in audience behavior, and financial uncertainties continue to underscore systemic inequities around arts access, funding, and arts employment, yet communities have found ways to endure and find resiliency through a collective appreciation of the arts.
When assessing a community’s vibrancy, we take a data-driven approach drawing on 13 unique measures which cover aspects of supply, demand, and public support for arts and culture, and are adjusted for cost of living and population.
In this year’s index, we’ve updated our analysis approach to weight these 13 inputs based on their relative explanatory power for the underlying concept of arts vibrancy. This approach allows us to improve our measurement consistency in the face of data availability delays or other changes in individual datasets from year to year. You can read more about this change in the methodology section.
In these rankings we highlight and celebrate communities big and small, located in every region, that have cultivated higher levels of arts activity per person living in the community. These communities sustain their vibrancy through various resources including public support and engagement, local arts agencies, convention and visitor bureaus, and other institutions committed to promoting cultural enrichment and fostering creative expression, ensuring that the arts remain an integral part of community life. In addition to the top Arts-Vibrant Communities listed in this report, Arts Vibrancy scores for every county in the United States can be viewed in an accompanying map to identify arts and cultural strengths that are present in every community.
While our approach to assessing Arts Vibrancy is robust, we readily acknowledge that there are other characteristics of vibrancy that are not possible to capture and assess evenly on a national scale for every community, especially tribal communities. We are continually evaluating new datasets for inclusion in our calculations in attempts to capture additional facets of vibrancy within communities. For now, we base the metrics in this report on the most reliable and geographically inclusive sources of data available.
Joining us for an engaging conversation are three remarkable arts leaders, representing two unique geographical regions, but all sharing an unwavering commitment to nurturing the arts in their communities.