DENVER (KDVR) – After a three-year hiatus, the metro Denver area has once again been ranked among the nation’s top communities for supporting arts, but that’s not the only Colorado city to make the grade.

On Thursday, SMU DaTaArts published its annually released list of the top cities when it comes to art vibrancy, and for the first time since 2019, the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood community has returned to that list.

This seventh annual installment pointed to an improved effort from the Denver area, but it wasn’t the only art-lifting community in the state to carry detectable levels of artistic support.

Colorado’s most art-vibrant communities

This list was developed by researchers over at SMU DaTaArts who looked at 900 communities across the country, evaluating each one’s overall level of supply, demand and governmental support for the arts as a public-serving entity.

“The return on an investment in the arts is a community that pulsates with life, vigor, and activity,” Director of SMU DaTaArts Dr. Zannie Voss said.

The 900 communities examined by SMU DaTaArts researchers were broken down into the following three categories:

  • Larger Cities
    • Carries a population larger than 1 million
  • Medium Cities
    • Carries a population ranging between 100,000 and 1 million
  • Small Cities
    • Carries a population ranging between 10,000 and 50,000

Among the highest-ranked cities for each of these divisions is a Colorado community. Here is how each of those rankings broke down.

How Denver fairs among the large cities

  • Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, Texas
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Cambridge-Newton-Framingham, Massachusetts  
  • Chicago-Naperville-Evanston, Illinois
  • Cincinnati, Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana 
  • Cleveland-Elyria, Ohio
  • Denver-Aurora-Lakewood
  • Frederick-Gaithersburg-Rockville, Maryland
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, California
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minnesota
  • Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, Tennessee
  • New Orleans-Metairie, Louisiana
  • New York-Jersey City-White Plains, New York – New Jersey 
  • Newark, New jersey – Pennsylvania 
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Oregon – Washington
  • Salt Lake City, Utah (First time our Western Slope neighbors have made the list)
  • San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, California 
  • Seattle-Bellevue-Kent, Washington
  • Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-Virginia – Maryland – West Virginia 

How Colorado’s medium cities ranked

  • Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Boulder
  • Bozeman, Montana
  • Des Moines-West Des Moines, Iowa
  • Ithaca, New York
  • Kalamazoo-Portage, Michigian
  • Missoula, Montana
  • Pittsfield, Massachusetts
  • San Rafael, California
  • Santa Fe, New Mexico

How Colorado’s small cities ranked

  • Bennington, Vermont
  • Brevard, North Carolina
  • Easton, Maryland
  • Glenwood Springs
  • Hailey, Idaho
  • Hudson, New York
  • Jackson, Wyoming – Idaho
  • Key West, Florida
  • Steamboat Springs 
  • Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts

So with Boulder, Steamboat Springs, Glenwood Springs and the metro Denver area all making the list of towns that support the arts and those who produce them, it would be beyond safe to say that Colorado is among the most art-vibrant states in the country.