A new report has again ranked Boulder, Colorado, in the top ten most vibrant arts communities among medium-sized U.S. communities.

A new report has again ranked Boulder, Colorado, in the top ten most vibrant arts communities among medium-sized U.S. communities.

SMU DataArts, the National Center for Arts Research at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, recently released its Arts Vibrancy Index Report (AVI). Boulder scores within the top 1% on Arts Providers overall, with particular strengths in arts, culture, and entertainment firms.

SMU DataArts, the National Center for Arts Research, released the AVI in its seventh iteration. The report celebrates arts-vibrant communities across the United States even as they grapple with the ongoing realities of the COVID-19 pandemic. As this is the first AVI since 2020, they did not present ranked lists. Rather, Boulder is included in a list of top ten medium sized cities. The rankings are established by analyzing per capita data specifically focusing on supply, demand, and public support for the arts. Supply is gauged as total arts providers, demand measures the total nonprofit arts dollars in the community, and public support as state and federal arts funding.

“Boulder has received this accolade three years in a row.” said Interim Director of Community Vitality Cris Jones, “This is due to the resilience of our arts nonprofits, the commitment and passion of the arts patrons in our community, and the professional artists who continue to be drawn to Boulder as a great place for their business to flourish. And the City of Boulder’s Community Cultural Plan played its part in galvanizing community support. Things were hard for the creative community through the pandemic. But, as the AVI ranking shows, our arts sector continues to contribute to our economy and social cohesion.”

Through the pandemic, the arts and culture sector was disrupted and changed to meet societal needs. How ‘Arts Vibrancy’ is defined continues to evolve, particularly in relation to the means that organizations offer programming. During the pandemic, issues around social equity came to the forefront, including in the arts community, while the arts also acted to amplify the discussion. And the sector continues to be one of the hardest hit by the pandemic. Thus, SMU DataArts stated, “We feel that this moment calls for reflection on arts vibrancy from a place of gratitude for what communities have been through and solidarity in support of their resilience.”

“The AVI study examined the arts sector for the entire county.” said Charlotte LaSasso, executive director of the Boulder County Arts Alliance. “I congratulate the arts organizations, creative businesses, artists, and arts patrons in Longmont, Lafayette, Superior, Lyons, Erie, Louisville… everywhere you look there are great stories to tell about the hopeful future of the arts in our communities.”
For more information on the findings from SMU DataArts and other studies from the Office of Arts and Culture, visit: boulderarts.org.