5 Funky Cities for Artists

by Jonathan DeesingMarch 21, 2017

Artists thrive on their surroundings, which is why location is key for creatives. If art is your life, moving to a city with a vibrant art scene can certainly help you hone your craft. While big cities like New York and San Francisco offer world-class art communities, those also come with a steep cost of living. Check out these five cities that offer not just great perks for artists, but a low cost of living as well.

1. New Bedford, Massachusetts

Originally one of the whaling capitals of the world, New Bedford has traded in its heating oil for oil paints. With museums and art galleries cropping up all over the place, the art scene has flourished over the past decade, making New Bedford a hub for artists. On top of that, its population of just under 100,000 makes the city feel small while still offering access to a variety of music and live theater venues like The Z.

2. Providence, Rhode Island

Situated in the smallest state in the Union, Providence recently rebranded itself as the “Creative Capital” with a focus on arts and innovation. Its performing arts community regularly brings in Broadway shows and makes the city an attractive option for up and coming actors. Providence is also home to the Rhode Island School of Design – one of the top art and design programs in the world. Adding to this is the city’s unique community-driven underground art scene, which leaves its mark all over the city.

3. Columbus, Ohio
This bustling Midwestern city with a population of close to a million, loves its local artists. The Columbus Makes Art initiative aims to give local creatives a voice and community platform to tell their stories with their art, whether it’s through performance art or a mural. The city’s diverse art scene is bursting with everything from artists-in-residence to a city-supported street performer program. Locals enjoy regular events like concerts and galleries. And for fashionistas, Columbus College of Art and Design is one of the best programs in the country for fashion design.

4. Portland, Oregon

Notorious for its creative hipsters, Portland is practically a mecca for artisans. Progressive artists will be right at home in Portland’s pioneering art scene, which boasts displays like the PDX Contemporary Art Gallery. Craftspeople are especially welcome – the famous Portland Saturday Market is the longest-running outdoor market in the country and hosts more than 400 local retailers. For artists in training, Portland is home to six art schools and offers numerous art galleries.

5. Nashville, Tennessee

Known as Music City, Nashville is the capital of the country music industry. But the city’s love of music doesn’t stop there – music is part of the culture, whether it’s bluegrass or opera. Nashville has been a launch pad for countless musicians and offers support for newcomers. Nashville also funds emerging local artists through its Learning Lab program, which teaches life and business skills. Artists have the opportunity to leave their mark on the city – just check out this interactive map that allows locals to explore murals, public art displays and cultural places around the city.

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About The Author
Jonathan Deesing
Jonathan Deesing is a home improvement and real estate writer who has written for Auction.com, Modernize, and Apartment Guide. When he's not fixing up his duplex he splits time between running and beekeeping.

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