The arts community in Northwest Arkansas has offerings for nearly every audience, according to a new study commissioned by the Walton Family Foundation.
The growth of internationally recognized museums and other cultural amenities, the report found the region is becoming more competitive with American arts capitals.
“A highly engaged community where different voices have an opportunity to be heard is at the core of a thriving arts and culture scene,” said Walton Family Foundation Home Region Program Director Karen Minkel.
SMU DataArts National Center for Arts Research reported how Northwest Arkansas’ overall arts vibrancy has increased since 2013 with the growth of large arts and cultural institutions, such as the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.
It also substantially improved its rankings in arts education and “other museums,” as well as in the community-based, performing arts centers and theater sectors.
In arts providers, the region ranked below its peer counties of Larimer, Colorado (Fort Collins); Polk, Iowa (Des Moines); Fayette, Kentucky (Lexington); Durham, North Carolina (Durham); and Hamilton, Tennessee (Chattanooga), which have similar population sizes, arts vibrancy, socioeconomic characteristics and leisure amenities.
Northwest Arkansas remained competitive in arts dollars with both the peer counties and aspirational counties of Ramsey, Minnesota (St. Paul); Travis, Texas (Austin); Buncombe, North Carolina (Asheville); Charleston, South Carolina (Charleston); and Allegheny, Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh) due to its flourishing museum sector.
However, the report states that the region still lacks the critical mass of independent artists needed to support small arts and cultural organizations.
You can view the entire report about arts vibrancy in Northwest Arkansas by clicking here.