BEREA, Ky. (May 31, 2012) — AmericanStyle magazine’s annual readers’ poll recommends Berea, as a top arts destination for collectors and travelers who love galleries, museums and arts festivals. This ranking and designation is highly coveted by tourism and arts promoters and confirms Berea as the “Folk Arts & Craft Capital of Kentucky.”
Each year, readers tell AmericanStyle their favorite cities for viewing and buying fine craft and art. In the 2012 AmericanStyle poll, Berea has been ranked No. 21 among small cities, a category that includes such destinations as Sarasota, Fla. (No. 1); Asheville, N.C. (No. 3); Santa Fe, N.M. (No. 5); Taos, N.M. (No. 11); and Laguna Beach, Calif. (No.16).
Berea is the only Kentucky city to receive recognition in the small cities category. Berea was ranked 21st in small cities with populations of less than 100,000, up from 25th place in 2009.
While AmericanStyle’s readers are arts and travel enthusiasts, many are also supporters of their local and regional arts scenes. New and established galleries, museums, arts tours, festivals and public art installations all influence reader choices.
“A healthy arts scene improves a city’s livability and its tourism, and many of the winning cities recognize that,” said Wendy Rosen, publisher of AmericanStyle. “The arts are proven catalysts for economic development and recovery, creating jobs and making opportunities for entrepreneurs.”
The town of Berea has long been known for embracing the arts, and today it is known for its history, beauty, shops and studios, galleries and events. Berea is also home to the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea, the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen, the Working Studio Artists tours, the Berea Arts Council, Berea College’s Christmas Country Dance School, Berea Arena Theater, the Berea Center for Arts, Berea College Student Crafts, Berea College’s Loyal Jones Appalachian Center, and an array of workshops presented through the city’s annual Festival of Learnshops.
In addition to Berea, the other Kentucky city on this year’s AmericanStyle list is Louisville, ranking 23rd among big cities with populations of 500,000 and greater.