The "Graffmapping x Toy Heritage" projection mapping installation at BLINK® 2022.
Photo credit: Zack Kauth

What does it mean for a region to be "arts vibrant?" In 2015, SMU DataArts developed a comprehensive, data-driven answer to that question: the Arts Vibrancy Index. The index analyzes over 900 communities across the United States based on 13 unique metrics that cover supply, demand and funding for arts and culture, adjusting for cost-of-living and population differences and ranking the top 40 regions.

How does Cincy measure up?
The Cincinnati region debuted on the Arts Vibrancy Index in 2020 at number 20 out of the top 20 large regions. This year marks a significant upward trajectory, with Cincy climbing to 11th on the list.

So, how did we hit such an upswing? It all comes down to strategic investment in the arts. Through decades of community-driven support by individuals and businesses, Cincy has developed a wide variety of high-quality arts, evidenced by its high marks on the Arts Vibrancy Index in earned program revenue (such as ticket sales) and contributed income (philanthropic gifts). With local arts organizations regularly winning competitive state and federal arts grants, the region also scored well for government support.

"The Index is an opportunity for communities to affirm and celebrate the individuals and organizations that are the sources of arts vibrancy in their region," stated Dr. Zannie Voss, Director of SMU DataArts. "For organizations, funders, local citizens, and public officials, the Arts Vibrancy Index is a powerful resource that leverages data-driven evidence to illuminate how the arts contribute to an area's economy and public life."

Research by SMU DataArts shows that local arts agencies like ArtsWave are powerful catalysts of arts vibrancy. "Civic leaders can spark arts vibrancy in their communities by expanding funding for local arts agencies, which spurs arts employment, stimulates more artistic activity and increases the strength of geographically dispersed arts-vibrant cultural resources," Voss suggests.

ArtsWave's consistent support, driven by its Blueprint for Collective Action, ensures that Cincinnati's arts will continue to put the region on the map, attracting positive national media attention, visitors and new residents.

ArtsWave is the primary source of arts funding for the Cincinnati region. To ensure an arts-vibrant future for the region, give today at