Vineyard Haven Named a Top 10 Arts-Vibrant Community

Vineyard Haven Named a Top 10 Arts-Vibrant Community

A Top 10 Arts-Vibrant Community

Vineyard Haven has been named one of the country's Top 10 Arts-Vibrant Small Communities in the annual Arts Vibrancy Index Report from SMU Data Arts, the National Center for Arts Research at Southern Methodist University. It is third Top 10 designation in four years.

To arrive at the rankings, researchers looked at metrics including the number of independent artists; revenue, expenses and payroll for arts and cultural organizations; and the amount of state and federal arts funding and grants.

The Whole Island Contributes

Vineyard Haven ranked sixth on this year’s list and was the No. 1 community in the eastern U.S. The town also appeared on the center's 2019 and 2017 Top 10 lists for communities with populations between 10,000 and 50,000.

The whole of Martha’s Vineyard shared in the light shed by the report which said that Vineyard Haven’s ranking reflected arts activity across the entire island and not just in the town of Tisbury.

Each Community Has Its Own Story

To assess arts vibrancy across the United States, the center analyzes four measures under each of three main rubrics: supply, demand, and public support for arts and culture on a per capita basis.

Supply is weighed by total arts providers, demand with measures of total nonprofit arts dollars in the community, and public support as state and federal arts funding. Multiple measures are used since vibrancy reveals itself in a constellation of ways.

In its report the center said: “Each community has its own story of what makes it unique and vibrant, so we share highlights to give a better understanding of the life, vigor, and activity that are reflected in the numbers.

Top 10 Arts-Vibrant
Oil painting by island artist Max Decker (private collection).

The Arts Bring People Together

Arts and cultural organizations are engines of community development and community cohesion, according to the study's Executive Summary.The summary goes on to say:

"The arts provide culturally infused experiences that are consumed in an open, social setting, which is ideal for engendering social integration in a diverse marketplace.

"The current climate of political, sociocultural, and economic polarization makes it more important than ever to recognize and celebrate the essential role that arts and culture play in making communities throughout the country not only more vibrant places to live and visit but also more unified, safe, and tolerant.”

The Overall Top 10

The top five small communities on the list are all in the West: the Jackson area of Wyoming and Idaho; Steamboat Springs, Colo.; Heber, Utah; Hailey, Ida. and Glenwood Springs, Colo.

Oneonta and Hudson in New York, Bennington, Vt. and Hood River, Ore. round out the list.

The complete Arts Vibrancy Index Report, including maps and Top 10 Arts-Vibrant lists for medium-sized and large communities, is posted online at

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