For the third consecutive year, St. Petersburg has been named a top destination for the arts for mid-sized U.S. cities by the readers of AmericanStyle magazine.
Readers in the annual AmericanStyle readers' poll handed St. Petersburg the lead with 39 percent of the vote, followed by Tampa (3) and Miami (7) for cities with populations under 499,999.
According to a news release, eight Florida cities placed across all three categories, with Sarasota and Bradenton finishing first and second in the small city category and Key West fourth.
"This is great news for St. Petersburg," said Mayor Bill Foster in a news release. "We have one of the best arts and cultural communities in the country and we've succeeded in laying a strong foundation that our visitors and residents can enjoy for generations to come."
Results of a joint 2010 survey by the city's Arts Advisory Committee, Bank of America and USF showed the significance of arts and culture to St. Petersburg's economic well-being with 1.3 million visitors who helped add $23 million to the local economy and created more than 500 jobs.
"We've had to be creative to provide our artists with the freedom to express themselves and make a living," said Elizabeth Brincklow, the city's manager of the Office of Arts and International Relations in a news release. "We're also fortunate to have a passionate group of advocates who understand the future value of arts and culture in St. Petersburg and can find innovative ways to support our artists."