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Oct. 3, 2016 - New National Endowment of the Arts Report Ranks Boulder as Third in Country for Artists Per Capita, Behind Santa Fe and Los Angeles

Monday, Oct. 3, 2016
Media contacts:

Matt Chasansky, Office of Arts & Culture manager, 303-441-4113
Jennifer Bray, Library and Arts Communication, 303-441-4160
Jim Winchester, Media Relations, 303-441-4247

New National Endowment of the Arts report ranks Boulder as third in country for artists per capita, behind Santa Fe and Los Angeles

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) recently released a report, Creativity Connects, which examines how to address the needs of artists in a world of accelerating change. As part of this report, the NEA evaluated 367 metropolitan areas across the nation, and Boulder has ranked third for number of artists per capita, behind only Santa Fe, NM and Los Angeles, CA.

Other findings in the Creativity Connects report:

  • Across America, the population of artists is growing and diversifying, and norms about who is considered an artist are changing.
  • Substantial numbers of artists now work in interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary ways.
  • Many artists are finding work as artists in non-arts contexts.
  • Artists are pursuing new opportunities to work entrepreneurially.
  • Technology is altering the context and economics of artists’ work.
  • Artists share challenging economic conditions with other segments of the workforce.
  • Structural inequities in the artists’ ecosystem mirror inequities in society more broadly.
  • Training is not keeping pace with artists’ evolving needs and opportunities.
  • Artist fellowships, grants, and awards are not responding to new ways of working.

“This exhaustive study of artists in the workforce aligns with findings in Boulder’s Community Cultural Plan” says Matt Chasansky, manager of the Boulder Office of Arts and Culture. “Our community values our co-workers and neighbors who are artists.  The finding that Boulder ranks third in number of artists is no surprise.  However, it is clear that the livelihood of professional, practicing artists is precarious: on average they have lower wages than the rest of the workforce; they are doubly affected by issues of affordability (for housing as well as studio space); the challenges of artists as small business owners are many. It is very clear from the Community Cultural Plan that our entire community is ready to rally behind the artists that choose to live here.”

The City of Boulder Office of Arts and Culture is implementing Boulder’s Community Cultural Plan, adopted in November 2015 by City Council.

Through a set of programs including cultural grants, public art, initiatives for artists, the creative economy, and research, the Office of Arts and Culture seeks to facilitate an alignment in the community around our collective Vision for Culture: Together, we will craft Boulder’s social, physical, and cultural environment to include creativity as an essential ingredient for the wellbeing, prosperity, and joy of everyone in the community.

A community priority in the Community Cultural Plan, is to “create a supportive environment for artists and creative professionals, while fostering innovative thinking and leadership among them.”

As part of this supportive environment, some upcoming offerings for artists in Boulder include:

  • Combined Cultural Organizations Summit and Professional Artists Forum, from 3 to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 9, at the Main Boulder Public Library, 1001 Arapahoe Ave., in the Canyon Theater in the north wing.
  • The Boulder Arts Commission will again offer professional development scholarships in 2017 through the cultural grants program. Visit and click on “Grants” for more information.
  • The Office of Arts and Culture is pleased to partner with Boulder County Arts Alliance on their “Business of Arts” workshops, this fall.
  • Free, annual “Dance is for Every Body!” showcases at Boulder Public Library and its branches, Nov. 5, 6, and 19. Visit for more details.
  • A new online artist census will be launched by the Office of Arts and Culture, and will be available later this fall on the website,

For more information about the Boulder Community Cultural Plan, visit