New York City took a demotion yesterday, after Richard Florida of CityLab crowned Los Angeles the new art capital of the U.S. The Big Apple has been at the center of America’s art industry since god-only-knows-when; so naturally, New Yorkers aren’t taking the news lightly.
Los Angeles’ newly acquired title is based off economic data that suggests the city has the largest amount of employed and self-employed artists. Surprisingly, it also has a higher concentration of artists than NYC, even though its general population is much smaller.
For years, prominent artists and musicians like David Byrne, Moby, and Patti Smith have warned that the rising cost of living in cities like New York, L.A., and San Francisco will drive away most of the artistic talent. But that doesn’t appear to be the case based on this data set gathered from the years 2011 – 2016.
“While it is surely harder for younger, struggling, yet-to-be-established artists to afford living in these cities now, they remain the country’s preeminent artistic centers,” Florida explained. “Interestingly enough, leading tech and knowledge hubs, such as Austin, Seattle, Portland, Nashville, and even San Jose, in the heart of Silicon Valley, also number among the nation’s leading art scenes.”
And while the reason for this cannot be attributed to one main cause, Florida has a few theories as to why artists are still flocking to major cities.
Theory number one is that there is an increase in demand for multimedia artists, which would explain why creative types are congregating in tech hubs. Another theory is that artists are chasing the “big bucks.” Big bucks, of course, is in quotation marks because while these megacities may pay more than their smaller counterparts, the higher cost of living doesn’t always offset that.
But don’t forget about the ol’ stardom appeal. Since their very inception, major cities like New York and Los Angeles have represented prosperity and fame. Big dreams and big cities go together like bagels and lox.