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Traverse City named among top 20 'vibrant' arts cities

Interlochen Arts Festival 2013

Traverse City is one of the nation’s most vibrant arts communities, according to new research from Southern Methodist University.

The study ranked the northern Michigan community as number 20 in the nation among small and mid-sized cities.Researchers judged cities based on economic data, including money spent on arts programs per capita. The Traverse City-area is ranked in the top ten for total 'arts dollars,' which comes substantially from the "thousands of artists and patrons [coming] to Interlochen."

The study also noted the Traverse Symphony Orchestra and Northwest Michigan Ballet Theatre as important arts institutions.

SMU Professor Zannie Voss, director of the National Center for Arts Research, lead the study which compiled economic data from hundreds of cities across the nation. She says she was initially surprised that Traverse City was on the list, which also included a number of western cities including Missoula, MT and Santa Fe, NM.

“It wasn’t a place that I necessarily associated with arts and culture," Voss says. "And yet the numbers support that in fact on a per capita basis some of those communities are incredibly vibrant."

“Places that now as a consumer I’m really curious to go and visit and find out really what the character of the place is.”

Only one other midwestern city was ranked above Traverse City – Des Moines, IA.

Glenwood Springs, CO is number one among smaller cities. Washington, D.C. is top-ranked among larger communities in the United States.