The greater Wilmington area has just been named one of the “hotbeds of America’s culture.”
Or more bureaucratically, it’s ranked No. 6 among medium-sized metropolitan areas on the sixth annual Arts Vibrancy Index Report from SMU DataArts, the National Center for Arts Research, at Southern Methodist University in Texas.
The study analyzes counties so Wilmington actually means New Castle County; Cecil County, Maryland; and Salem County, New Jersey.
A map in the report of the top 10 areas in each population group is dominated by places in the Boston-Washington corridor and along the West Coast.
“This report is based on 2019 data and does not reflect the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, but its findings help illustrate the critical role of the arts, both socially and economically, in cities and towns around the nation,” the Grand said in a statement on Monday announcing the ranking.
“At this historic moment, the report serves as a pre-pandemic benchmark of where the most arts-vibrant communities are located and may offer cause for celebration during these difficult times.”
The report name-drops the Delaware Art Museum, the Wilmington Art Loop, the Wilmington Drama League, the Delaware Theatre Company and the Elkton Arts & Entertainment District.
It also cites the Delaware Arts Alliance and three state agencies: Delaware Division of the Arts, Delaware State Arts Council and Delaware Department of Education.
“The region boasts 23 organizations dedicated to historic preservation, assisted by Delaware’s Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program, which has helped preserve over 230 historic buildings since 2001,” it said.
Greater Wilmington is ranked 22nd among all 900 or so areas in arts dollars, 41st in government support and 99th in arts providers.
It ranks eighth in program revenue, 19th in total expenses and 19th in total compensation, based on nonprofits’ federal tax forms and other research.