ArtPlace Announces America’s Top 12 Small-Town Art Places

Crested Butte, CO.; Taos, NM; Marfa, TX and Saratoga, WY made the list of the Top Twelve Small-Town ArtPlaces for 2013.

The twelve communities on the list were chosen based upon per capita numbers of arts related non-profits, arts-oriented businesses and workers in creative occupations among small towns in the United States. The small towns were defined as being single-town zip codes in non-metropolitan areas with a population of 100,000 or less. The scores were normalized on a percentile scale (100 being the highest score and zero the lowest) and multiplied. The top twelve had the highest scores in the country. The data was analyzed for ArtPlace by Impresa, Inc., a Portland-based firm specializing in the study of regional economies.

ArtPlace is a collaboration of leading national and regional foundations including Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Ford Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, The McKnight Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The William Penn Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, Rasmuson Foundation, The Surdna Foundation and two anonymous donors. ArtPlace is also supported by a $12 million loan fund capitalized by six major financial institutionsL Bank of America, Citi, Deutsche Bank, Chase, MetLife and Morgan Stanley. They work with these federal agencies: the National Endowment for the Arts, the departments of Housing and urban Development, Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Education and Transportation and the White House Office of Management and Budget and the Domestic Policy Council, to accelerating creative placemaking, which they define as putting the arts at the heart of a portfolio of strategies designed to revitalize communities.

The twelve in alphabetical order by state:

  1. Eureka Springs, AR
  2. Crested Butte, CO
  3. Ketchum, ID
  4. Vineyard Haven, MA
  5. Boothbay Harbor, ME
  6. Lanesboro, MN
  7. Highlands, NC
  8. Taos, NM
  9. Marfa, TX
  10. Stowe, VT
  11. Eastsound, WA
  12. Saratoga, WY

About the regional winners:

Crested Butte, CO

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.

Taos, NM

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, TX

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.

Saratoga, WY

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.


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