With nearly 143 arts organizations, Rochester has an edge over Austin, the Arts Vibrancy Index IV: Hotbeds of America’s Arts and Culture shows. Rochester ranked No. 17 on the list of the top 20 communities with a population of 1 million or more, compiled by the National Center of Arts Research. The San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco area was No. 1.

Photo credit: Push Physical Theatre

In per capita program revenue earned from participation in the arts and cultural scene, Rochester ranked No. 13 and in the top 3 percent of communities on arts, culture, and entertainment firms as well as federal arts dollars.

The NACR report highlights communities of every size and in every region that have cultivated higher levels of arts activity per person living in the community. Authors of the study said the term “vibrancy” is in keeping with Merriam-Webster’s definition of the word to mean “pulsating with life, vigor, or activity.”

The index measured characteristics like the number of nonprofit arts and cultural organizations per capita in a community. More arts and cultural organizations in a community translates to more availability of arts experiences for people to engage with in that community

The report notes that Rochester’s arts scene is thriving. Its reputation in dance is outstanding, the study states, being home to award-winning choreographers, a wealth of performances, top university dance programs, exciting festivals, and many nationally and internationally acclaimed companies such as The Rochester City Ballet. Additionally, with over two dozen theatrical companies and first-class venues such as Geva Theatre Center, Blackfriars Theatre, Push Physical Theatre and the Eastman Theatre, this is a city full of passionate theater professionals.

Here are the other communities on the list:

  • New York-Jersey City-White Plains, NY-NJ
  • Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
  • Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA
  • Boston, MA
  • Silver Spring-Frederick-Rockville, MD
  • Newark, NJ-PA
  • Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA
  • Cambridge-Newton-Framingham, MA*
  • New Orleans-Metairie, LA
  • Oakland-Hayward-Berkeley, CA
  • Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights, IL
  • Austin-Round Rock, TX
  • Cleveland-Elyria, OH
  • Pittsburgh, PA

Read the full report here.