Study: Oneonta is among most 'arts-vibrant' in U.S.

Julie Lewis | The Daily StarThis October 2018 file photo shows a rehearsal for The Stuff of Dreams' production of Agatha Christie’s ‘And Then There Were None’ at the Foothills Performing Arts and Civic Center in Oneonta.

Oneonta ranked eighth among more than 900 communities across the United States in a recent report of the most “arts-vibrant small communities.”

SMU DataArts, the National Center for Arts Research at Southern Methodist University in Dallas released its fifth annual Arts Vibrancy Index Report Aug. 20. The report ranks communities across the nation, examining the level of supply, demand, and public support for the arts and culture on a per capita basis, according to the report. Otsego County is represented as the Oneonta large Metropolitan Statistical Area in the study. According to the report, some large Metropolitan Statistical Areas have a strong arts vibrancy concentration in the urban core and less going on in outlying districts, while others have vibrancy dispersed throughout the metropolitan area.

The report mentioned the Community Arts Network of Oneonta, the Foothills Performing Arts and Civic Center, the Fenimore Art Museum and the Glimmerglass Opera as contributing to the community's arts scene.

"I'm very happy that both the city of Oneonta and Otsego County are recognized for the abundance of art organizations, artists and support for the arts that we have here," Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig said. "This confirms the study which we did this spring with the organization Artspace in conjunction with SUNY Oneonta. Affordable space, live-work space, for artists would both satisfy a need and also be a good thing for the city of Oneonta to attract artists to be part of our community."

Foothills is a public nonprofit aiming to provide cultural enrichment to Otsego, Delaware and Chenango counties, according to its website. It does this through performing arts and educational programs that reflect the local community, and focuses on introducing theater, music and other arts to young people, according to the website. In 2010, Foothills was recognized by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority for new energy efficient measures that help cut energy costs by more than $65,000 a year.

Bill Youngs, Foothills managing director, said he wants everyone in the community to realize there's something for them at Foothills. He said he is proud of the ranking and to be a hub for the arts in the area. 

"It's fantastic," Young said. "We're proud that we work really hard to present all these things and be a center for culture, arts and entertainment." 

Shweta Karikehalli, staff writer, can be reached at or 607-441-7221. Follow her @DS_ShwetaK on Twitter.

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