Gaithersburg, MD Selected 7th Most Vibrant Art Community in the Nation!


The Most Vibrant Art Communities in the U.S. and How Gaithersburg-Frederick-Rockville Made the List

Art is a powerful form of expression that can enrich our lives, inspire our minds, and connect our hearts. But where can we find the most vibrant art communities in the U.S.? How do they cultivate and celebrate their artistic diversity and excellence? And what makes Gaithersburg-Frederick-Rockville one of the top arts-vibrant communities in the nation?

Arts vibrancy is a term that refers to the level of supply, demand, and public support for arts and culture in a community. It is not a subjective judgment, but a data-driven assessment based on various indicators and sources. SMU DataArts, the National Center for Arts Research, has been releasing the Arts Vibrancy Index Report since 2015, which ranks more than 900 communities across the U.S. according to their arts vibrancy score. The report organizes the communities into three lists based on population size: large, medium, and small.

The arts vibrancy score is calculated by analyzing four measures under each of the three main rubrics: supply, demand, and public support. Supply measures the total number of arts providers in the community, such as arts organizations, independent artists, and arts and culture employees. Demand measures the total amount of nonprofit arts dollars in the community, such as program revenue, contributed revenue, and total expenses. Public support measures the state and federal arts funding per capita that the community receives.

According to the 2023 Arts Vibrancy Index Report¹, the most arts-vibrant communities in the U.S. are as follows: Large Communities (population 1 million)

1. San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, CA

2. New York-Jersey City-White Plains, NY-NJ

3. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV

4. Boston, MA

5. Philadelphia, PA

6. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI

7. Frederick-Gaithersburg-Rockville, MD

8. Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN

9. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA

10. New Orleans-Metairie, LA

Medium Communities (population 100,000 to 1 million)

1. Santa Fe, NM

2. Pittsfield, MA

3. Burlington-South Burlington, VT

4. Missoula, MT

5. Asheville, NC

6. Iowa City, IA

7. Boulder, CO

8. Ann Arbor, MI

9. San Rafael, CA

10. Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA

Small Communities (population less than 100,000)

1. Jackson, WY-ID

2. Bennington, VT

3. Vineyard Haven, MA

4. Breckenridge, CO

5. Summit Park, UT

6. Heber, UT

7. Steamboat Springs, CO

8. Juneau, AK

9. Edwards, CO

10. Brevard, NC

What Makes Gaithersburg-Frederick-Rockville an Arts-Vibrant Community?

Gaithersburg-Frederick-Rockville is a combined area that encompasses three cities in Maryland: Gaithersburg, Frederick, and Rockville. It has been consistently appearing on the Arts Vibrancy Rankings since 2015, and in 2023, it ranked seventh among the large communities, scoring in the top 1% of measures related to contributed revenue and total compensation paid to those working in arts and culture. 

The area boasts a rich and diverse arts and culture scene, with a variety of offerings, such as festivals, museums, galleries, studios, public art, concerts, theaters, and more. Some of the highlights include:

- The Gaithersburg Book Festival, which is an annual celebration of literature that features more than 100 authors, workshops, children's activities, and literary exhibitors. 

- The Arts Barn, which is a cultural arts center that offers classes, exhibits, performances, and special events in a historic barn in Gaithersburg. 

- The Frederick Arts Council, which is a nonprofit organization that supports and promotes the arts in Frederick County through grants, programs, advocacy, and public art. 

- The Weinberg Center for the Arts, which is a historic theater that hosts live music, comedy, dance, film, and family shows in downtown Frederick.

- The Rockville Town Square, which is a vibrant urban center that features a variety of restaurants, shops, and entertainment options, as well as a seasonal ice rink and outdoor concerts.

- The F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre, which is a 446-seat theater that hosts musicals, plays, concerts, and cultural events in Rockville.

These are just some of the examples of the arts and culture opportunities that Gaithersburg-Frederick-Rockville offers to its residents and visitors. The area has a robust and resilient arts community that contributes to its economy, quality of life, and social cohesion. It is no wonder that it is recognized as one of the most arts-vibrant communities in the nation.

Art is not only a form of expression, but also a source of inspiration, education, and connection. The Arts Vibrancy Index Report by SMU DataArts celebrates the communities that have developed higher levels of arts activity and support per person living in the community. Gaithersburg-Frederick-Rockville is one of those communities, and it deserves to be proud of its artistic achievements and diversity. 

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