ArtWorks News

Cincinnati takes top spot in USA TODAY’s 10Best Cities for Street Art in 2024

CINCINNATI—The vibrant public art that adorns Cincinnati streets has led to national recognition in the 2024 USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards for Best City for Street Art. Cincinnati clinched the #1 spot this year, giving Queen City residents yet another point of pride to shout about.

This triumph marks Cincinnati’s fourth consecutive appearance in the top 10, a testament to its commitment to artistic expression. Previously Cincinnati secured the #2 spot in 2021 and 2022, followed by a #8 ranking in 2023. Now Cincinnati has reached the pinnacle of street art excellence.

Over four weeks, culminating on Feb. 19, 2024, the public voted for their favorite through the 10Best online platform. The public could vote once per day, and Cincinnati residents rallied. The 20 nominated cities vying for the title were selected by a panel of experts, including USA TODAY editors, editors, and influential contributors.

ArtWorks, the organization responsible for more than 300 awe-inspiring outdoor murals shaping Cincinnati’s cityscape, is a driving force behind this recognition. Since its inception in 1996, ArtWorks has championed community-based public art, offering a canvas for artists of all ages to showcase their talents. With its dedicated mural program in place since 2007, ArtWorks not only beautifies the region but also fosters career opportunities for budding artists, particularly empowering diverse youth apprentices aged 14 through 21. These apprentices, mentored by seasoned professionals, bring vibrant visions to life while leaving an indelible mark on their communities. Self-guided and guided tours of ArtWorks’ murals are available.

Cincinnati’s street art is celebrated with BLINK, Illuminated by ArtsWave, a four-day, 30-city-block, outdoor art experience that brings art to life with projection mapping and light-based installations. As a BLINK founder and producing partner, ArtWorks celebrates the free opportunity for attendees to interact with some of the world’s most innovative and engaging art throughout the city this year, October 17–20.

As Cincinnati basks in the spotlight of this well-deserved accolade, the city’s streets continue to evolve into a living, breathing gallery, captivating locals and visitors alike. Dozens of new ArtWorks’ projects will be underway this spring and summer.

“Being the #1 city for street art is a testament to ArtWorks’ longstanding commitment to prioritizing community-based partnerships, listening to community voices, hiring local artists, celebrating heritage and elevating civic pride. Our process is just as important as these gorgeous works of art, which have forever changed our city. This award celebrates all who have been involved, from youth artists, professional artists, building owners, community councils, nonprofit partners, and the City of Cincinnati. Together with you, we celebrate the vibrant cultural landscape that defines our city and look forward to continuing to co-create a brighter future,” said Colleen Houston, ArtWorks CEO & Artistic Director.

In September 2023 on behalf of ArtWorks and the City of Cincinnati, Houston attended the first National Street Art Summit in Detroit. The summit brought together arts leaders from the 2023 10Best Top Ten Cities in America to discuss the rising mural movement, city initiatives to encourage mural art, mutual learning opportunities, and ideas for supporting artists. Plans are underway for a second Street Art Summit for the 2024 10Best Top Cities.

The top ten cities in 2024 in the USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice travel award contest for Best City for Street Art:

  1. Cincinnati, Ohio
  2. Richmond, Virginia
  3. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  4. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  5. Detroit, Michigan
  6. Portland, Oregon
  7. Miami, Florida
  8. Nashville, Tennessee
  9. Washington, D.C.
  10. New York City, New York

About USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards provides users with original, unbiased, and experiential travel content of top attractions, things to see and do, and restaurants for top destinations in the U.S. and around the world. USA TODAY is a multi-platform news and information media company. Founded in 1982, USA TODAY’s mission is to serve as a forum for better understanding and unity to help make the USA truly one nation. Through its unique visual storytelling, USA TODAY delivers high-quality and engaging content across print, digital, social and video platforms. An innovator of news and information, USA TODAY reflects the pulse of the nation and serves as the host of the American conversation — today, tomorrow and for decades to follow. USA TODAY, the nation’s number one newspaper in print circulation with an average of more than 1.6 million daily, and, an award-winning newspaper website launched in 1995, reach a combined 6.6 million readers daily. USA TODAY is a leader in mobile applications with more than 16 million downloads on mobile devices. USA TODAY is owned by Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI).

About ArtWorks
Since 1996, ArtWorks has collaborated with community organizations and residents, businesses, governments, foundations, and nonprofits to build creative works of art that support the Greater Cincinnati region’s global reputation as an arts destination. ArtWorks has employed and trained over 3,500 professional artists and 4,000 youth, ages 14–24. We invest in our creative economy by creating jobs that support local talent, pairing professional artists to inspire and mentor diverse teams of youth, and helping them build 21st-century career-readiness skills. Over the past 28 years, this collaborative approach has created a citywide gallery with more than 14,000 public and private art projects, including more than 300 permanent outdoor murals.