The arts are alive and well, thank you
very much. And we have 11 cities where you might be surprised
to discover greatness.
The curtains continue to rise on the stages of New York,
Chicago, and Los Angeles, and the houses are often packed, but in
these days of economic woes, you might expect the smaller arts
communities to be singing that old Gershwin number, "I Got Plenty
o' Nuttin'." Not so.
A key to the health of many cities' cultural scenes today, it turns
out, is you. When you reach your destination, if you take a seat at
a ballet performance of Swan Lake
or an orchestra's
rendering of Leonard Bernstein's Serenade
or a revival
staging of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman
engaging in what the National Endowment for the Arts and other
cultural agencies identify as "cultural tourism."
A survey commissioned by Partners in Tourism, which includes the
NEA and state arts associations, revealed some 46 percent of adult
U.S. travelers - almost 93 million people - include an activity of
a cultural or historically related nature on a trip. In fact, 26.7
million people surveyed said they'd actually added time to a trip
in order to take in a cultural event.
Cultural tourists may be the perfect complement to an arts
organization's local subscriber base, especially in a slow economy.
Results of a Travel Industry Association of America survey
indicated that "cultural tourists" have higher-than-average
household incomes, are more likely than others to have completed
college degrees, and have managerial or professional occupations.
Baby boomer travelers, in particular, like to slip into something
cultural on the road, the TIA says, with nine percent of them
hitting an arts event while traveling.