Juneau ranked 8th among 10 most Arts- Vibrant small communities in the nation


Juneau, Alaska (KINY) – SMU DataArts, the National Center for Arts Research, Thursday released its 8th Arts Vibrancy Index, which identifies Juneau as number 8 in the list of 10 Small 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.

Juneau is returning to the Arts Vibrancy Index for the first time since 2018 and is ranked eighth on the annual list of the top 10 most arts-vibrant small communities across the nation.

Related research by SMU DataArts shows that Local Arts Agencies (LAAs) like the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council are powerful catalysts of arts vibrancy which ensures that the arts remain an integral part of community life.

Fluctuations in a community’s ranking occur from year to year for a variety of reasons, including the opening of an arts district or closing of a performance space as well as local economic conditions.

Arts-vibrant communities can be found in every region of the United States—a finding that 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.”

Small Communities (population <100,000)
Small communities are defined as areas with populations under 100,000. Jackson, WY-ID, and
Bennington, VT, has made the list of small communities every year since 2015, with Jackson maintaining
its ranking as first among small communities for the past four years.

  1. Jackson, WY-ID
  2. Brevard, NC
  3. Steamboat Springs, CO
  4. Bennington, VT
  5. Easton, MD
  6. Glenwood Springs, CO
  7. Hailey, ID
  8. Juneau, AK
  9. Brookings, SD
  10. Oneonta, NY

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.)

The overall Arts Vibrancy Index is composed of 13 unique measures that cover aspects of supply,
demand, and public support for arts and culture and are adjusted for cost of living and population differences among communities.

In this year’s index, the analysis approach was updated to weigh the 13 inputs based on their relative explanatory power for the underlying concept of arts vibrancy.

This approach improves measurement consistency in the face of data availability delays or other changes in
individual datasets from year to year.

All financial metrics have been adjusted for cost of living in order to level the playing field.

The cost of doing business varies based on local conditions, so the same dollar goes further in some communities than others.

Large (population: 1 million +) and medium (population: 100,000 – 1 million) communities were assessed as well.