Who would have thought that our little town of Edwards, Colorado in the Vail Valley, would get named Number #1 most arts-vibrant small community in the United States by National Center for Arts Research?
That is pretty cool!
Edwards landed the top spot for the small community category (10,000-50,000 people) out of 900 communities! That is incredible.
The annual index looks at level of supply, demand and government support for the arts in each enclave. This recognition celebrates the essential role that arts and culture play in making communities more vibrant places to live and visit. As the National Center for Arts Research describes on their website ” Creativity is a desirable and necessary element for an innovative and thriving community. Aside from being an engine of job creation and economic growth, arts and culture contribute to social well-being and are essential to creating more livable, safe, memorable, and connected communities.
Some of the competition that we beat was: Jackson, Wyoming, second; Summit Park in Utah was third; Hood River in Oregon was fourth; and Durango, Colorado was fifth. I mean, come on, that is awesome! I love Edwards and I know it has a keen artsy vibe so I looked deeper to see what is so special about Edwards.
The National Center for the Arts Research website describes the Vail Valley, Edwards, Colorado as follows
“Edwards offers a diversity of cultural and educational activities suited for both locals and guests.
Although the area is known for outdoor recreation, the cultural scene is well-developed, and offers access to theater, music, arts, and educational experiences meant to enrich the soul and enliven the spirit.
Special event and performance venues abound, including the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater and Vilar Performing Arts Center (VPAC), which regularly host world-class orchestra and dance performances, globally recognized comedians, musical artists, and political and cultural thought leaders.
Residents and visitors alike are surrounded by special arts events such as Art on the Rockies, the Vail Jazz Festival and the Beaver Creek Arts Festival. Additionally, local organizations and institutions holding regular arts and culture programs include the family-focused Alpine Arts Center, Colorado Mountain College, Walking Mountains Science Center, and the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Museum and Hall of Fame.
Edwards attracts artists who enjoy the mountain way of life. The arts in this town are primarily funded through private giving – the town is in the top 3% in contributed revenue per capita – though the towns and communities have begun to build significant infrastructure to continue this support, leading to the area being in the top 2% in federal arts grants”
I know this to be true, as I enjoy many of these events myself.
I LOVE the outdoor jazz concerts that are played on the First Friday of every month during the summer on the backyard amphitheater. They always have a fabulous line up and to listen to music while looking at the river is just so cool! This is a not-to-miss- event when living or visiting in Edwards.
Another blockbuster is Alpine Arts Center located in Riverwalk in Edwards. This place is a force for supporting the art. There are courses for professionals, as well as beginners and they are always offering classes and camps so kids can be comfortable making and seeing art and enjoy it at a young age. My favorite is the Canvas & Cocktails. They offer these events about once a week and you can paint your own canvas (which they will assist you with) while enjoying a cocktail or two. This is a great event for family and friends to do together or even as a unique ” date night”.
Colorado Mountain College also offers many art classes as well culturally
Another not-to-miss event is the Art on the Rockies Festival which was voted the best festival in the Vail Daily (our local newspaper) readers’ poll. It is growing into a premiere, destination arts festival, known for the quality of art and first class treatment of both artists and its guests.
It really is nice to see that the rest of the world is acknowledging what we here in Edwards have always known, that this is a very special town with a lot to offer.
Here are other nearby Art and Cultural programs that are worth checking out:
We hope you enjoyed this article about Edwards CO #1 most arts-vibrant small community in the US. Have you visited Edwards, Colorado in the past? What are your thoughts about the area? What are your favorite activities, restaurants or shops in the area? We would love to hear your thoughts, comments and stories Thank you for reading.