Both cities are currently undergoing a large bout of expansions in their biggest art museums, Minneapolis being near the end of the process and Boston just starting it. Minneapolis has been doing the Walker, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Guthrie and the Children's Theatre Company. Boston is building or remodeling the MFA, Peabody Essex, Institute of Contemporary Art, Calderwood Pavilion and the Arsenal Center for the Arts.
The article was quite kind of Minneapolis. If anything, it kind of puts down Boston. It kind of made the point that we rely on the other cities that are so close (New York, New Haven, Providence) whereas Minneapolis is so far from everything that people are very willing to invest in their museums.
I also found it interesting because I had just finished a book called Rise of the Creative Class by an urban sociologist/economist named Richard Florida. His basic premise is that creative workers form a new class that is the most in demand in current economy. One of the major changes about the way this class works is that they don’t stay with companies very long, so they tend to choose where they live first and then the company, instead of the other way around; therefore, the companies need to locate themselves where the creative people are.
Basically, he went about corresponding the heterogeneity of a place, the arts and music scene and so on, and how well their economies had fared. He found that they were extremely closely related. The idea behind it is that instead of giving companies tax breaks and building highways to draw them to a city, cities will be better off by investing in the arts and trying to draw more creative people.
Minneapolis and Boston were both in the top 10 (Boston was 3rd and Mpls 10th). I found it interesting personally too, since the list of the top fifteen contained pretty much everywhere I’d think about living in the states.