Art is inspiring and motivating. But it is also a powerful catalyst for change within communities, invigorating neighborhoods, supporting local businesses, and creating vibrant places. America’s Top Twelve ArtPlaces is a new annual ArtPlace initiative recognizing neighborhoods in the largest 44 metropolitan areas in the country where the arts are central to creating places where people—residents and visitors—want to be.

Today, ArtPlace announced America’s Top Twelve ArtPlaces, communities that have most successfully combine art, artists and venues for creativity and expression with independent businesses, retail shops and restaurants, and a walkable lifestyle to make vibrant neighborhoods. Download the full report to learn more.

America’s Top 12 ArtPlaces for 2013 are:

Brooklyn, NY / The intersection of Downtown, Fort Greene, Gowanus, Park Slope and Prospect Heights
Dallas, TX / The Dallas Arts District, with parts of Deep Ellum and Exposition Park
Los Angeles, CA / Central Hollywood
Miami Beach, FL / South Beach
Milwaukee, WI / The Third Ward
New York, NY / Manhattan Valley
Oakland, CA / Downtown, including Chinatown, Old Oakland and Jack London Square
Philadelphia, PA / Old City
Portland, OR / The Pearl District and a portion of Downtown
San Francisco, CA / The Mission District
Seattle, WA / The Pike-Pine Corridor
Washington, DC / The intersection of Adams Morgan, U Street, and Dupont Circle

Members of the press can download images from each community from this image bank.

Watch the announcement of America’s Top 12 ArtPlaces in Washington DC with Mayor Gray and Carol Coletta here.

“The impact the arts have had on the social and economic vibrancy and economy of these communities is unmistakable,” noted Carol Coletta of ArtPlace. “This study shows how the arts can provide a foundation for a diversity of neighborhoods to thrive.”

ArtPlace’s selection of the twelve neighborhoods was based on a set of six indicators identified by Impresa Inc., a Portland-based consulting firm specializing in the study of metropolitan economies. Four indicators measure ingredients of vibrancy: the number of retail and service businesses; the percentage of independent businesses; the neighborhood’s Walk Score; and the percentage of workers in creative occupations living in the neighborhood. Two arts-related indicators were also used: the number of arts-related non-profits and the number of arts-related businesses. Finally, neighborhood scores were normalized for family income so that neighborhoods with the highest concentration of income did not skew the results.

Each community has a particular story to tell, but they share a common theme: when a community mobilizes to place the arts at the core of a set of strategies to effect positive civic change, everyone benefits.

In addition to the Top Twelve, thirty-two additional neighborhoods across the country qualified as robust ArtPlaces. To read more about these stories and for a complete list of ArtPlaces for 2013, download the full report.

ArtPlace is currently developing indicators specific to smaller metropolitan areas with the goal of releasing America’s Top Small Town ArtPlaces later this year.

PHOTO ABOVE: Pedestrians enjoying Miami Beach, one of America’s Top Twelve ArtPlaces 2013 (Photo: ArtPlace)