Historically artists have tended to flee from small midwest cities like Milwaukee and head to New York to find a welcoming cultural climate. However, according to a recent story in Utne Reader, called "A Diaspora of Artists," that may be changing. The author, Michael Fallon, identifies Detroit, Baltimore and Cleveland as making deliberate efforts to attract artists with housing incentives, grants, competitions, etc., and consequently fill a vacuum being left in New York by the economic downturn.
The recent uplifting report from Creativity Works about the state of the "creative industries" in Milwaukee might lead one to expect our city to make Mr. Fallon's list. Apparently we have more work to do in order to be noticed.
Recommended reading: A Diaspora of Artists
(Thanks go to Steven White for bringing this article to my attention.)