Arts Vibrancy Index (2018)

The Top 40 Most Vibrant Arts Communities in America

Glenn Voss and Zannie Giraud Voss

Like its predecessors, this fourth annual edition uses a set of data-informed indices to identify arts-vibrant communities across the U.S.

Arts and culture play a vital role in a city’s livability and its social cohesion. The Arts Vibrancy Index (AVI) can help arts leaders, businesses, government agencies, funders, and engaged citizens understand the overall intensity and capacity of the community’s arts and culture sector. Communities can benchmark themselves against an aspirational set of communities and understand what sets them apart by examining the underlying dimensions of demand, supply, and public support for arts and culture.

In this report, we highlight and celebrate communities of every size and in every region that have cultivated higher levels of arts activity per person living in the community. We use the term “vibrancy” in keeping with Merriam-Webster’s definition of the word to mean “pulsating with life, vigor, or activity.”

To assess arts vibrancy across America, we incorporate multiple measures under three main rubrics: supply, demand, and public support for arts and culture on a per capita basis. We gauge supply as total arts providers, demand with measures of total nonprofit arts dollars in the community, and public support as state and federal arts funding. We use multiple measures since vibrancy can manifest in many ways.

Each community has its own story of what makes it unique and vibrant, so we share highlights to give a better understanding of the life, vigor, and activity that are reflected in the numbers.