Atlantic Magazine Ranks Santa Cruz and Watsonville 5th Most Artistic Area in America

Locals knew if you threw a rock, you'd hit an artist. Now Santa Cruz and Watsonville artists have gotten national recognition.

Santa Cruz and Watsonville were chosen together as the fifth most artistic area in the whole country, according to a survey in Atlantic Magazine this week.

The survey didn't figure numbers of artists but rather artists per capita in the area.

For artists overall, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Seattle topped the list.

But, using a formula calculating artists per capita changes things significantly, according to Atlantic's Senior Editor, Richard Florida.

The top city? Santa Fe, New Mexico, followed by San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles and – cough, gasp, wth? – Santa Cruz/Watsonville.

"It’s time to get over the notion that only large urban cities like New York or L.A. can make it as artistic centers," wrote Florida, whose other higher ranking cities included Jersey City, Boulder, CO and that cultural hotspot, New Bedford, MA.

"Now smaller metros move up the list. Boulder has a university, bohemian culture, and scenery; Santa Fe, of course, has been an arts center since the days of Georgia O’Keeffe. Santa Cruz, New Bedford, and Barnstable-Yarmouth are coastal locations with long-standing artistic communities. Jersey City is just across the Hudson from Manhattan; like Brooklyn across the East River, it is a source of more affordable housing and work spaces."

Florida used data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community, which listed 237,000 people who made a living as artists and compared the ratio in each region to the national number. Santa Fe ranked a 7.57 quotient, or more than seven times the average number of national artists, while Santa Cruz/Watsonville had a 2.57, more than twice as many.

Santa Cruz Mayor Ryan Coonerty was happy with the finding.

“We have so much creativity in Santa Cruz. We do compete on a global stage and that’s because of the investments we’ve made in such organizations as the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, and the Cultural Council of Santa
Cruz County, which have created that artistic foundation.”

What does he say to local artists and cultural organizations?

“Keep being your creative selves and we’ll do our best to get your art out to the world.”

The Cultural Council's goal is “to help local arts organizations, artists, and local governments continue to keep the arts alive in our community.”

You can donate at http://www.ccscc.org/index.php/one-step-donation.html.


Whitney Wilde December 09, 2011 at 07:11 AM
Support your local street performers! No arts organization pays the Great Morgani (and others) to be creative.
Judi Grunstra March 01, 2012 at 04:06 AM
This is kind of a ridiculous ranking. We still have very few actual art galleries.


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