Portland Ranked 16th Among the 20 Most Arts-Vibrant Large Communities in the Nation

The 8th Annual Arts Vibrancy Index from SMU DataArts Compiles List of 40 Most Vibrant Arts Communities Across the U.S., Based on Measures of Per Capita Supply, Demand and Government Support for the Arts.

SMU DataArts, the National Center for Arts Research, today released its 8th Arts Vibrancy Index, which identifies the Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro region as number 16 in the list of 20 Large communities in the United States through an analysis of the level of supply, demand, and government support for the arts in more than 900 communities across the country. Organized into three separate lists based on community population size, totaling 40 communities across the country, this year’s Arts Vibrancy Index is the first to include numerical rankings since 2020, a reflection of arts organizations returning to in-person activities and performances following the easing of pandemic restrictions. Portland, along with its neighbors Vancouver and Hillsboro, has consistently appeared on the Arts Vibrancy Index since 2016. This year, the Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro area is ranked sixteenth on the annual list of the 20 most arts-vibrant large communities in the nation.

Related research by SMU DataArts shows that Local Arts Agencies (LAAs) like the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) are powerful catalysts of arts vibrancy which ensure that the arts remain an integral part of community life. RACC was built by community for community. For almost three decades, RACC has stood by our mission and values: To enrich our communities through arts and culture and create a thriving region, powered by creativity, bringing arts and culture to every neighborhood.

Arts-vibrant communities can be found in every region of the United States—a finding which arises from an objective analysis of the data, and not from selecting communities by hand to achieve geographic representation. “The arts and culture sector was hit hard by the pandemic, and some organizations and communities are still recovering. The Index is an opportunity for communities to affirm and celebrate the individuals and organizations that are the sources of arts vibrancy in their region, whether that’s artists who have mastered a local craft tradition over generations, a cultural festival that families enjoy year after year, or a cherished historic theater, museum, or arts-education center. For organizations, funders, local citizens, and public officials, the Arts Vibrancy Index is a powerful resource that leverages data-driven evidence to illuminate how the arts contribute to an area’s economy and public life,” stated Dr. Zannie Voss, Director of SMU DataArts. “One way that public leaders can spark arts vibrancy in their communities is by expanding funding for local arts agencies, which spurs arts employment, stimulates more artistic activity, and increases the strength of geographically dispersed arts-vibrant cultural resources throughout communities.”

In addition to the top arts-vibrant communities listed in the Arts Vibrancy Index, arts-vibrancy scores for every county in the United States can be viewed on an interactive map that identifies arts and cultural strengths that are present in every community. (Also known as Metropolitan or Micropolitan Statistical Areas, these communities have boundaries that are defined by the United States Census Bureau.)

Large Communities (population: 1 million +)

    1. San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, CA
    2. New York-Jersey City-White Plains, NY-NJ
    3. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
    4. Boston, MA
    5. Philadelphia, PA
    6. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI
    7. Frederick-Gaithersburg-Rockville, MD
    8. Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN
    9. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA
    10. New Orleans-Metairie, LA
    11. Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN
    12. Cleveland-Elyria, OH
    13. Cambridge-Newton-Framingham, MA
    14. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
    15. Pittsburgh, PA
    16. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA
    17. Seattle-Bellevue-Kent, WA
    18. Milwaukee-Waukesha, WI
    19. Chicago-Naperville-Evanston, IL
    20. St. Louis, MO-IL

View additional lists and information here.