Thursday, April 9, 2015

Arts Vibrancy

As is the case for music, Rochester seems to have a strong inclination to the arts in general.  Art galleries, museums, and live theater seem particularly abundant.  In fact, it is this inclination that consistently allows transplants from larger cities to become enamored with Rochester's big city amenities which come without big city headaches.  But can a town with such a questionable reputation actually be so cultural? Outside perception clearly has this question answered with a no.  What is the reality?

As reported by the Democrat and Chronicle, Southern Methodist University's National Center for Arts Research recently released its first annual Arts Vibrancy Index.  Using a wide variety of data sources, vibrancy was measured as the level of supply, demand, and government support (state and federal) for arts and culture on a per capita basis.  Among Metropolitan Statistical Areas with populations of 1 million or more, the most vibrant art communities were:

  1. Washington, DC
  2. Nashville, TN
  3. New York, NY
  4. Boston, MA
  5. San Francisco, CA
  6. Minneapolis, MN
  7. Silver Spring-Frederick-Rockville, MD
  8. Seattle, WA
  9. Los Angeles, CA
  10. Chicago, IL
  11. Cambridge-Newton-Framingham, MA
  12. Denver, CO
  13. Philadelphia, PA
  14. Pittsburgh, PA
  15. Newark, NJ
  16. New Orleans, LA
  17. St. Louis, MO
  18. Charlotte, NC
  19. Richmond, VA
  20. Rochester, NY


  1. I expect to climb those rankings in the coming years. That new theater being renovated on East Ave looks like it could be really nice, and I fully expect a new performing arts center to be built by the city in the near future. I really hope they go all out and build something nice, make this a true destination. The Arts certainly isn't a bad thing for us to be latching onto.

    1. The new Lyric Theatre purchased by the Rochester Lyric Opera looks amazing! I think what many people outside our region don't realize is that our cities, which are known for the cold and urban decay, actually have a very strong cultural infrastructure. In Rochester's case, the infrastructure is particularly strong and something that we can all support and build upon.