Take a look at this great viewpoint of the recent announcement of Milwaukee as a "top art place of 2012"...
It can't just be about being "art-friendly"...we need to be art-focused or else it will always be the detail on the back wall of a fancy party. We've done a great job at making Milwaukee a place that welcomes art and artists...if we really want anything of value to happen, though, we need to take that next step and make art the focus rather than the bonus.
think each artist needs to work on informing the general public on
their work, reading into it, and trusting their own opinion...too many
gallery visitors feel totally uncomfortable around art and no number of
"art place" awards is going to change that. If people feel stupid in a
gallery setting, they will avoid it. I think we (artists and
art-critics) really need to work at explaining work, informing the
public on how to read artwork, and engaging the public on a personal
level...if you get people comfortable with art, you don't need to give
them a different excuse to attend an event and, then, maybe the
conversation can actually move to the artwork instead of just being next