Teton County, Wyoming/Idaho on Top 10 List of Most Arts-Vibrant Cities in the U.S.

SMU’s National Center for Arts Research (NCAR) announced its third annual Arts Vibrancy Index, ranking more than 900 communities across the country on their level of support for the arts. The results? Teton County, Wyoming, grouped with neighbor Teton County, Idaho, ranked #9 on the list of top 10 most vibrant small arts communities in the nation.


“It’s exciting to see hard data back up what we are experiencing first-hand within our community – a thriving, economically relevant arts scene. We are thrilled for Jackson to receive this national recognition,” remarked Martha Bancroft, Director of Center for the Arts.


“This report is further proof of what we experience every day, the arts scene is robust and positively impacts our daily lives. The arts add meaning to our lives and enrich us in ways beyond economic impacts – the arts also help us appreciate and understand the world around us,” said Carrie Geraci, Executive Director of Jackson Hole Public Art.


Lyndsay McCandless, Executive Director of Center of Wonder praised community contributions saying, “It is wonderful to see Jackson being nationally recognized. We have painters, writers, musicians, filmmakers, dancers and all kinds of creative thinkers living and creating here. It is the people here in Jackson that help bring us such incredible art experiences every day!”


The overall arts vibrancy index is composed of three dimensions: supply, demand, and government support. Supply is assessed by the total number of arts providers in the community, including the number of arts and culture organizations and employees, independent artists, and entertainment firms. Demand is gauged by the total nonprofit arts dollars in the community, including program revenue, contributed revenue, total expenses, and total compensation. Lastly, the level of government support is based on state and federal arts dollars and grants.


“The arts are an underappreciated sector in America. As this report demonstrates, the idea that they are for an elite few is simply not true. The arts generate tremendous amounts of tourism dollars, enhance and encourage a love of learning, and connect diverse communities and people,” said Karen Brooks Hopkins, NCAR’s Nasher Haemisegger Fellow.


This is the third time that Teton County, WY/ID has been recognized for the vibrancy of its arts and culture. In 2015, the community was ranked #3 and in 2016 came in #1 for medium and small arts populations. In 2017, NCAR added a new population category that shifted Teton County to the designation of a small arts community.


About NCAR

In 2012, the Meadows School of the Arts and Cox School of Business at SMU launched the National Center for Arts Research (NCAR). The vision of NCAR is to act as a catalyst for the transformation and sustainability of the national arts and cultural community. The goals of the Center are to unlock insights on: 1) arts attendance and patronage; 2) understanding how managerial decisions, arts attendance, and patronage affect one another; and 3) fiscal trends and fiscal stability of the arts in the U.S., and to create an in-depth assessment of the industry that allows arts and cultural leaders to make more informed decisions and improve the health of their organizations. To work toward these goals, NCAR integrates data from DataArts and its Cultural Data Profile[1] and other national and government sources such as Theatre Communications Group, the League of American Orchestras, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Census Bureau, and the National Center for Charitable Statistics. NCAR makes its findings available free of charge to arts leaders, funders, policymakers, researchers, and the general public.


NCAR develops reports based on this uniquely comprehensive set of arts organizations’ data. It assesses the industry from multiple perspectives, including sector/art form, geography, and size of the organization, and it determines what drives health from the organization’s conditions and its community’s characteristics. Recent publications include a white paper on diversity and equity in the arts, a white paper dispelling the myth that the arts are elitist, and reports on the health of the U.S. arts and cultural sector. In July 2016, NCAR launched the KIPI Dashboard, a free online diagnostic tool that allows arts organizations to benchmark their individual performance in nine finance and operations categories against their peers.

For more information, please visit the NCAR website at smu.edu/artsresearch.

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