Knoxville arts scene captures No.2 nationwide ranking


Yay for Knoxville! In a recently released ranking of U.S. cities’ arts districts by USA Today, Knoxville beat out Chicago, Houston, Milwaukee and five other U.S. cities to rank No. 2, second only to Dallas. 

Cityview caught up with Liza Zenni, executive director of the Arts & Culture Alliance, to get her thoughts on the ranking. 

Cityview: Last year in the same ranking Knoxville was No. 4. What do you think accounts for the rise in rank? 

Zenni: Awareness of downtown Knoxville as a great place to see art has grown from last year to this. The USA Today 4th place ranking last year made people think: “Wow! It’s not my imagination. Other people realize downtown Knoxville has a wonderful arts district too.”

C: What’s on your wish list for the downtown arts district? 

Z: I’d like to see it grow even more with cool and funky places to discover on every block.

C: Most Knox-area residents know about First Friday Art Walks, Big Ears, Dogwood Arts, Rossini Festival — the major events. What lesser known aspects of our arts community should we get to know better? 

Z: The vibrance of Knoxville’s arts district is not seasonal. People are coming to realize that downtown Knoxville is full of interesting, excellent arts experiences nearly every day of the year.

C: How do we capture No. 1 next year? 

Z: Knoxville will capture No. 1 next year as the community keeps investing in its nonprofit arts industry and residents and visitors seek and discover new arts experiences.

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