America’s Top Small Town ArtPlaces 2013
America’s Top Twelve Small-Town ArtPlaces are announced today by ArtPlace, a collaboration of leading national and regional foundations, banks, and federal agencies committed to accelerating creative placemaking—putting the arts at the heart of a portfolio of strategies designed to revitalize communities.
America’s Top Twelve Small-Town ArtPlaces is a new annual ArtPlace initiative recognizing smaller communities in the country where the arts are central to creating the kinds of places where people want to live, work, and visit.
ArtPlace Director Carol Coletta said, “Earlier this year, ArtPlace announced America’s Top Twelve ArtPlaces in major metropolitan areas—vibrant communities identified as being exceptionally successful in combining the arts, artists, and venues for creativity and expression with independent businesses, restaurants, and a walkable lifestyle. It is equally important to recognize and celebrate dynamic Small-Town ArtPlaces and the unique qualities that make them well worth the journey to explore and enjoy.”
The twelve communities had the highest concentrations of arts non-profits, core arts-oriented businesses, and workers in creative occupations among smaller towns in the United States, according to data analyzed Impresa, Inc., a Portland-based firm specializing in the study of regional economies.
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In alphabetical order by state, the Top Twelve Small-Town ArtPlaces for 2013 are:
Eureka Springs, AR
Crested Butte, CO
Vineyard Haven, MA
Boothbay Harbor, ME
The 2013 Top Twelve Small-Town ArtPlaces comprise arts-centric communities in single-town zip codes in non-metropolitan areas and metropolitan areas with a population of 100,000 or less. The selection was based on three factors identified by Impresa Inc., a Portland-based consulting firm specializing in the study of regional and metropolitan economies. The factors were the per capita numbers of; arts-related non-profits; arts-related businesses; and people working in creative occupations. The scores were normalized on a percentile scale (100 being the highest score and zero the lowest) and multiplied. The towns selected had the highest scores in the country.
America’s Top Twelve Small Town ArtPlaces 2013
Eureka Springs, located in the Ozark Mountain in northwest Arkansas, is a mountain resort of approximately 2,000 residents. In the late 19th century, people came for the therapeutic qualities of the towns’ springs. Many of the Victorian buildings erected during this boom time remain. Eureka Springs hosts an annual art festival in May, the highlight of which is the Artrageous Parade. The town boasts over 200 working artists and more than 20 galleries as well as a writers’ colony and fine arts colony.
Crested Butte is a town of less than 1,500 people in mountainous Gunnison County, CO. A former coal-mining town and now primarily a ski destination, it is also home to a robust arts scene throughout the year. The annual Crested Butte Arts Festival, which includes visual, performing and culinary arts, is preparing for its 41st iteration in August. The town also hosts an annual, month-long music festival, numerous theater and dance productions, and evening Artwalks.
A resort city of 2,689, Ketchum is a small town adjacent to Sun Valley, a popular ski resort. In addition to monthly gallery walks through town, the Sun Valley Center for the Arts is a hub of arts activity. The Center presents five exhibitions a year devoted to contemporary art and hosts a range of multidisciplinary projects including exhibitions, performing arts, family events, readings, and talks. For over four decades, the Center organizes a popular arts and crafts festival in August, drawing artists and shoppers from across the country.
Vineyard Haven is a coastal community of about 2,000 permanent residents located in the town of Tisbury, on Martha’s Vineyard. The town is centered around the picturesque harbor, once one of New England’s busiest ports. The community participates in an annual Cape Cod arts festival, Fall for the Arts, through the month of October. The Vineyard Playhouse is home to a year-round professional theater company. A local collaborative promotes the high concentration of artists and cultural offerings including art galleries, theaters, boutiques, and restaurants.
A historic port and safe haven, Boothbay Harbor is on the coast of southern Maine, just north of Portland. While a popular summer destination and active harbor, the year-round population is 2,200. For over thirty years, the town has hosted the Lincoln Arts Festival, a lively event showcasing poetry, music, and art and supporting the region’s community of artists. A range of performances are held in the Boothbay Playhouse, Carrousel Music Theater, and Opera House. The town also has numerous galleries, boutiques, and eateries
Lanesboro, a town of fewer than 800 residents, is located on the Root River in the southeast corner of Minnesota. It features numerous arts and culture offerings including the 25-year-old Commonweal Theatre Company which moved into an expanded facility in 2007. The Lanesboro Arts Center showcases work by local artists and galleries and studios are plentiful. In June, the town hosts its annual “Art in the Park” festival which brings more than 90 fine arts and craft exhibitors to town.
With fewer than1,000 permanent residents, Highlands is located on a plateau in Macon County in the Appalachian Mountains on the borders of the Carolinas and Georgia. In the summer, Highlands draws large numbers of vacationers and Southerners eager to escape the heat and humidity of low-lying area and the population swells to 15,000. The arts scene is active year-round with the new Bascom Center for Visual Arts and four theaters as well as antiques dealers, restaurants, and galleries.
Adjacent to the Taos Pueblo, the millennium-old village and tribe from which the town takes its name, Taos is a well-liked destination for art-lovers. With a population of 5,716, the town is home to 80 galleries and three art museums. The Taos Center for the Arts hosts exhibitions, performances, film series, and various special events. In 1915, the Taos Society of Artists was formed and the studios of some of the original artists are now attractions of their own. Throughout the year, the town also has an active calendar of festivals, fiestas, ceremonies, art shows, tours, concerts, workshops, and demonstrations.
Marfa is situated in the high desert in western Texas, with a population of less than 2,000 permanent residents. Originally founded as a railroad water stop, it served as a military base, and is now the home of Donald Judd’s Chinati Foundation. The Foundation began with a permanent collection of works by Judd, John Chamberlain, and Dan Flavin and expanded to include works by some of the most prominent artists of our time, special exhibitions, an artists’ residency program, internships, and public programs. Other cultural activities include film screenings, readings, and gallery shows.
Eastsound is a lively community of just over 3,000 on Orcas Island, the largest of the scenic San Juan Islands in Puget Sound, about midway between Seattle and Vancouver. Located at the top of a fjord, the village is home to galleries, boutiques, and eateries. The galleries display a mix of locally produced art including ceramics from the three pottery studios on the island. Eastsound also has a vibrant performing arts scene including a Chamber Music Festival held every August.
Located in south-central Wyoming in the Platte River valley surrounded by mountains, Saratoga sits above an active mineral hot springs. Its 1,700 residents and many visitors who come for the rugged natural beauty enjoy a vibrant boutique shopping and dining district. The cultural anchor is the Platte Valley Community Center, providing visitors and residents with a roster of concerts, art shows, lectures, theatrical performances, and community events.
Stowe, a town with a population of 4,400, is situated in a valley between Mount Mansfield and the Green Mountains, in central Vermont. The robust offerings include galleries, art centers, antique shops, arts and crafts shows, and many other seasonal events. The Stowe Theater Guild, Stowe Performing Arts, and the Waterbury Festival Players stage theatrical productions throughout the summer and the Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center offers concerts, comedy, dance performances, and theaters throughout the year.