Cincinnati listed among most arts-vibrant U.S. Metros

SMU DataArts, a national center for arts research at Southern Methodist University, has released its annual Arts Vibrancy Index, ranking Cincinnati 20th nationally among large-sized metropolitan areas – over one million in population. It is one of only four Midwest cities to be among the top 20, and one of four newly added to the overall list. In total, the six-year-old index considers more than 900 communities.

The Arts Vibrancy Index is based on scores on three metrics of vibrancy:  level of arts providers (supply), arts dollars (demand), and government support for the arts.[1]

Cincinnati’s score was positively influenced by arts demand which places the city in the top 20 on every component and #14, overall. At the same time, the city ranks considerably lower relative to its size in both supply (136th highest) and government support (91st highest). Here is how Cincinnati ranked on each of the three areas that comprise the overall index:

“Cincinnati’s rankings on the list give us things to be proud of and things to work toward,” says Kintner. “We are ahead of the curve for arts dollars, which corresponds to our legacy of decades of community giving to ArtsWave and its predecessor, the Fine Arts Fund, and it correlates to high public demand for the arts. At the same time, we have an opportunity to nurture new and emerging arts providers as well as make Cincinnati more supportive and attractive to independent artists. These steps can increase the ‘supply’ of arts in our region.”

Alecia Kintner

The report is based on 2019 data and therefore does not reflect the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Full lists, with detailed information on each community, are available on the SMU DataArts website. In addition to the Arts Vibrancy Index, SMU DataArts provides scores for every U.S. county on its interactive Arts Vibrancy Map on measures of arts dollars, arts providers, government support, socio-economic factors and leisure characteristics.

Dr. Zannie Voss, director of SMU DataArts said, “It’s important to stress that rankings are based entirely on data, never on opinions or a popular vote.”

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