Southern Methodist University’s National Center for Arts Research has released its fourth annual Arts Vibrancy Index, which ranks more than 900 communities across the country. AHCMC is thrilled to share that the Silver Spring-Frederick-Rockville, MD Metro Division has ranked #8 on the list of top 20 most arts vibrant large communities (population over 1 million)! Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV and Silver Spring-Frederick-Rockville, MD – the two Metro Divisions that make up the larger Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV, MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area) – made the list for the fourth year in a row.
The Silver Spring-Frederick-Rockville, MD, Metro Division, which encompasses Montgomery County and Frederick County, is part of the greater Washington MSA. Being partly inside the Capital Beltway, its arts and culture vibrancy benefits from being a close suburb of D.C., as evidenced by its 5th and 3rd place rankings on contributed revenue and total expenses, respectively, as well as its 4th place ranking on compensation to arts and culture employees. In addition to close social and economic ties to D.C.’s arts and cultural offerings, Silver Spring is home to the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, as well as several entertainment, musical, and ethnic festivals. The most notable of these festivals are AFI Docs and the Silver Spring Jazz Festival.
Montgomery County’s Silver Spring, Bethesda, and Wheaton Arts & Entertainment Districts include venues for live music, theater, independent films, visual arts, dance, and more. Other notable area organizations include Strathmore, Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts and Culture, BlackRock Center for the Arts, Washington International Piano Festival, the Olney Theatre Center, Round House Theatre, and Imagination Stage. In Rockville, there is a civic ballet, civic chorus, and civic concert band. VisArts in Rockville provides arts education classes and camp programs, as well as gallery space for local artists.
In the Frederick Arts and Entertainment District, you will find the Delaplaine Arts Center, Griffin Art Center, Weinberg Center for the Arts, the annual Frederick Festival of the Arts and a vibrant independent artist scene in Downtown Frederick. This combined area has more than two dozen arts education organizations and two dozen dance companies. The Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County and the Frederick Arts Council foster environments where the arts may flourish through grantmaking, professional development, and capacity-building support programs.
Arts vibrancy continues to take many shapes and forms. Some communities have large, impressive nonprofit arts and cultural institutions, some have an explosion of smaller and mid-sized organizations and venues, some benefit from their close proximity and ties to another arts vibrant community, and others are artist magnets or tourist destinations. Numerous arts sectors flourish in some communities while a particular art form dominates in other cities. Vibrancy in very large metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) takes two distinct forms. Some large MSAs feature a strong concentration of arts vibrancy in the urban core with less going on in outlying districts whereas others feature vibrancy that is dispersed throughout the metropolitan area.
Read more to discover this year’s key findings.