It is more or less known that coastal cities around the world are usually more appealing to artists and as creative hubs. This, of course, has to do in large part with the fact that most coastal cities are far more economically powerful due to their close proximity to the sea. However, some new data coming in from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), has revealed the fact that this cultural divide in the US is not between the coasts and the interior, but rather between North and South.
According to urbanist Richard Florida who had popularized the term “creative class”, he discovered that out of the top 20 creative class cities in the US in 2015, 19 were not located within a coastal state. Creative class here refers to people who are involved in creating original ideas or even re-imagining old ones. These people could as well work in fields such as arts, sciences or technology, it doesn’t really matter. Following the census polls across all 50 states, the NEA found that 45 percent of all American adults ha performed or created one or several forms of art.
In NEA’s definition, “artwork” was encompassed to mean “created pottery, ceramics, or jewelry; created leatherwork, metalwork, or woodwork; did weaving, crocheting, or other textile art; played a musical instrument; did acting; performed or practiced dance; did social dancing; performed or practiced singing; created films or videos as an artistic activity; took photographs as an artistic activity; created visual arts such as paintings, sculptures, or graphic designs; did creative writing.”
What the NEA was able to do, was to generate a map of all 50 states with information gathered in 2014, which shows the clear divide in terms of arts participation. On the one side, there are states like West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Florida, with around 30% participation in art related fields, while on the other there are Colorado, Montana, Oregon, and Vermont, which have twice that number.
Unsurprising to many is the other correlations these findings show. The number of people with a higher degree of education has a direct link to the society there being more involved in all sorts of arts and crafts. While on the other hand, states with a higher rate of poverty, have a negative impact in this regard.
You can view NEA’s other maps measuring arts participation in the US below, and through the NEA website.