Are Small Towns the Next Arts Districts?

As rising costs expel artists from urban cores, some small towns are positioning themselves as unlikely magnets for creative expression.

November 12, 2015, 10:00 AM PST

By Philip Rojc @PhilipRojc

Small Town Art

huffstutterrobertl / Flickr

Traditionally, artists and other bohemian creatives favor low-cost urban living, often gathering in "arts districts." Today's rising urban rents might turn that pattern on its head as artists migrate to the ultimate destination in ironic cool: small towns.

According to this piece in Nonprofit Quarterly, "small towns are reinventing themselves through the arts and attracting new revenue streams and business." Anne Katz, executive director of Arts Wisconsin, cites an "explosion" of art facilities and programs in her state. From community centers to galleries, festivals to theater companies, many towns are encouraging investment in an arts scene.

The author notes that "[Nonprofit Quarterly] is exposed to a lot of pitches for stories about the civil sector where the hype clearly outpaces any real movement. It's a tendency we are not fond of, though those stories clearly do show some creativity. But Katz's narrative is helped by the reality on the ground."

Thursday, October 29, 2015 in Nonprofit Quarterly


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