Cincinnati region among most arts-vibrant large cities

A seminal arts and culture report has once again named the Cincinnati metro area as one of the 20 most arts-vibrant large cities in the United States.

SMU DataArts, a national center for arts research at Southern Methodist University, released the 2022 Arts Vibrancy Index, which shows Cincinnati No. 12, up from No. 20 two years ago.

Among regions with more than 1 million in population, Cincinnati first emerged in the top ranks of the index when it was last released in 2020.

The Arts Vibrancy Index examines the level of supply, demand and government support of the arts in more than 900 communities across the country. Cincinnati is one of only four Midwest cities in the top 20.

“Cincinnati’s placement on the Arts Vibrancy Index speaks to our history of strong citizen support for the arts, as well as the support of the city of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, both of which stepped up in the wake of the COVID pandemic,” said Alecia Kintner, ArtsWave president and CEO.

Alecia Kintner

Each region’s Arts Vibrancy Index score is calculated based on three metrics: level of arts providers (supply), arts dollars (demand) and government support for the arts.

Cincinnati’s score was positively influenced by arts demand, which places the city in the top 20 on every component. Government support for the arts in the region improved over 2020 thanks to CARES Act and American Rescue Plan funding allocated by the city of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, both administered by ArtsWave. The region ranks lower relative to its size in supply, at No. 150 overall.

Here is how Cincinnati ranked in areas that comprise the overall index:

  • Arts providers (supply), 150
  • Independent artists, 218
  • Arts and culture employees, 57
  • Arts and culture organizations, 213
  • Arts, culture & entertainment firms, 212
  • Arts dollars (demand), 12
  • Program revenue, 10
  • Contributed revenue, 12
  • Total expenses, 19
  • Total compensation, 11
  • Government support, 32
  • State arts dollars, 57
  • State arts grants, 182
  • Federal arts dollars, 68
  • Federal arts grants, 79

“Our rankings show a positive growth in vibrancy and relevancy of the Cincinnati region’s arts,” said Kintner. “Organized community arts support is a defining characteristic of the region, going back to ArtsWave’s founding in 1927. Now, we have an opportunity to nurture new and emerging arts providers to take our arts to the next level.”

In addition to the Arts Vibrancy Index, SMU DataArts provides scores for every U.S. county on an interactive map on measures of arts dollars, arts providers, government support, socio-economic factors and leisure characteristics. The latest Arts Vibrancy Index is based on data from 2021.