Steamboat named second most arts-vibrant community in the country |

Steamboat named second most arts-vibrant community in the country

By Eugene Buchanan
Move To Steamboat magazine

Among small cities, Steamboat is considered the second most arts-vibrant community in the country, according to SMU DataArts, one of the country’s leading arts and culture institutes. The organization ranked 900 communities by examining the level of supply and demand for arts in a community as well as government support, including number of arts providers, nonprofit arts dollars, state and federal arts funding, and per-capita public support.

“This is huge news,” says Kim Keith, executive director of Steamboat Creates, a nonprofit that promotes the creative sector in Routt County. “With world-class organizations like Strings Music Festival, Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp, and the Steamboat Art Museum, combined with smaller cultural organizations and businesses, we’re getting well-deserved recognition as a creative hive that supports and encourages creative activities, events, education and engagement. Our residents and visitors care about the arts, and local philanthropists help us attract and retain top-quality artists that share their music, poetry, films, paintings, performances, children’s art programs and more with our community.”

With creative industries accounting for 431 jobs locally and contributing nearly $50 million to the local economy, Steamboat was recently awarded a prestigious Creative District designation from Colorado Creative Industries (and an accompanying $10,000 grant award).  

“Steamboat’s arts, heritage and cultural assets are incredible.”

—        Candice Bannister, Tread of Pioneers Museum

Last spring it was also selected to host Colorado Creative Industries’ annual Creative Summit for the first time.

“We’ve always been a creative community, but it’s exciting to now have our creative sector recognized,” adds Keith.

Steamboat is truly soaring when it comes to creative culture, hosting a slew of art galleries, clubs, seminars, arts festivals, First Friday Artwalks and more — as well as such performing arts venues as the Chief Theater, Strings Music Pavilion and more than 100-year-old Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp. 

Tread of Pioneers Museum Director Candice Bannister says it’s the community’s heritage that sets Steamboat apart. “Steamboat’s arts, heritage and cultural assets are incredible and deserve all the attention that they’re receiving,” she says.

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