“Art is a nation’s most precious heritage. For it is in our works of art that we reveal to ourselves and to others the inner vision which guides us as a nation.” –Lyndon Johnson
Why do you love to travel? Chances are, it’s not so you can do the same things over and over again, but to see, hear, and feel something new. Art also allows us to do this, to take journeys to new ways of thinking and experiencing the world, to see deeper and live richer through imagination and connection. Perhaps that’s why it is so exciting to visit places with thriving arts communities, where you may run across colorful graffiti and murals, talented street performers, inspiring museums, stimulating literary events, and world-class theater.
In our second-annual feature of the most artistic towns in America, we followed largely the same rules as last year, finding another wealth of places currently giving our large cities a run for their money with creative festivals, top art schools, cutting-edge productions, dynamic street art, and generous community support and patronage. As we know, the major cities of the U.S. are leading centers of art with bigger resources and tourist draws, but this country’s mid- and small-size places keep exciting, surprising, and thriving with their creative spirits and innovation.
As with last year, we’ve chosen cities with populations under 1 million in the city center, but this time we are presenting them from least populous to most. For all their efforts, both recent and historical, these are the cities we’ve found are most contributing to the artistic culture of our country.