Which cities are emerging creative hubs? WeTransfer has the answer

(Courtesy TripTK)

As creative professionals, we all have a desire to know where to go to find that next job. Cities that were once creative, quite frankly dry up. It’s natural. It happened in New York. It happened in LA. And yes, it happened in Chicago. Sometimes the creative erosion is slow. Other times, it’s a volcanic eruption of mediocrity. While creatives struggle to find jobs in those cities, others are blossoming. Now, WeTransfer, has announced the launch of its newest research, the Emerging Creative Hubs Index which alerts us to the newest creative hubs.

Hint, it ain’t New York, LA or Chicago.

The Index shines a light on where creative progress is happening and calls out the top 10 emerging creative epicenters in the United States. WeTransfer teamed up with strategic insight and brand studio, TRIPTK, to dive deep into a wide range of data sets, including anonymous WeTransfer user data, to uncover the stories hiding in plain sight. The list is packed with under-the-radar locales, celebrating the people and places that challenge conventional wisdom about who, where, and how creativity strikes. 

So how did they determine which cities made the list?

To find which cities would be included in the index, WeTransfer and TRIPTK evaluated a host of data sets including each city’s growth rate in creative jobs, revenue growth in the creative industry, the growth rate of new startups, and the diversity breakdown in each city.

WeTransfer merged this research with proprietary data from its 87 million people using its service, who largely identify as creative to uncover interesting spikes in product usage to zero in on where the most creative people were producing work. Empowered with the knowledge of the most creator-friendly environments and the most active creative hotspots, WeTransfer developed the list of places to be for ambitious, inspired creative thinkers.

The 10 cities named to the Emerging Creative Hubs Index are: 

  1. Atlanta, Georgia
  2. Madison, Wisconsin
  3. Norfolk, Virginia
  4. Boston, Massachusetts
  5. Denver, Colorado
  6. Honolulu, Hawaii
  7. San Antonio, Texas
  8. Salt Lake City, Utah
  9. Nashville, Tennessee
  10. Memphis, Tennessee

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“WeTransfer has always prioritized sharing unexpected stories about the lives of creatives and championing creativity as a force for good. The Emerging Creative Hubs Index not only gives lesser-known creative cities the opportunity to be recognized for the hubs of creative life that they are, but it also offers a roadmap for creatives looking to live and work among their peers,” Annie Malarkey, WeTransfer Brand and Products Communications Lead said. 

In addition to the Index, WeTransfer has launched the Emerging Creative Hubs Grant Program. This grant program will distribute $100,000 to nonprofit organizations working to support and empower the creative communities within Index cities.

As a certified B Corporation on a mission to use business as a force for good, WeTransfer is motivated to help these kinds of critical nonprofits reach their goals. Interested organizations will be able to apply for the grant program through a simple form on the Emerging Creative Hubs website.

“We’re especially excited to couple the Index with funding through our new grant program. Creativity is flourishing in these ten cities because of the work that countless nonprofits are doing within them. We’re honored to send much-needed funding to those organizations that lift up the underrepresented artists that make their communities shine,” Malarkey adds.

“In a time when creatives are re-imagining where they choose to do their work, we joined the WeTransfer team in identifying these new hot spots and unpacking what makes them so magnetic to the creative community,” says Sam Hornsby TRIPTK founder and CEO.

“The result is an index that’s completely unique from anything that’s been built before. The groundbreaking mixed-methods analytics that sits behind the index included a ‘creativity factor analysis’ of thousands of data points connected to the things that matter most to creative professionals. Scoring cities for things like ‘the cost of inspiration factor’ or the ‘activism energy factor’ yielded a city index that sees these amazing hubs through the eyes of creatives,” Hornsby notes.

The index also showcases local insiders who are propelling creativity forward in their respective cities, including Pea the Feary, an Atlanta-based illustrator; AJ Juarez, founder of Barrio Dance in Madison; and Dani Meluski-Jimenez, a creative director in Norfolk.

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