The stunning geographic divide in American creativity

From The Washington Post:

Urbanist Richard Florida popularized the term “creative class,” describing the millions of workers in fields such as the arts, sciences and technology whose work largely involves coming up with new ideas and innovating on old ones.

The creative class has, for better or worse, primarily been associated with big American cities along the coasts: out of Richard Florida’s top 20 creative-class cities in 2015, only one — Dublin, Ohio — was located in a non-coastal state.

But new data recently released by the National Endowment for the Arts suggests that there’s an awful lot of creativity happening far inland from America’s coastal tech and arts hubs.

Among other things, the NEA worked with the Census to poll residents of all 50 states on their participation in the arts, particularly whether they performed or created works of art in 2014.

Those data reveal a somewhat surprising pattern: America’s Great Creative Divide isn’t between the coasts and the center, but rather between North and South. Take a look.

Nationwide, 45 percent of American adults said they personally performed or created artwork in 2014. ”Art,” in this case, was defined by a wide variety of activities. Rather than recite all of them, I’ll just leave the definition, from the NEA’s report, here:

As you can see from the map, the study found a surprisingly wide range of arts participation between states. At one end of the spectrum, folks in places such as West Virginia, Oklahoma and Florida seemed to have little interest in doing art — participation levels there hovered around 30 percent.

By contrast, people in states such as Colorado, Vermont, Montana and Oregon were roughly twice as likely to personally create or perform artwork.

You can see that the states are heavily sorted …

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