In a January 5 article on http://www.forbes.com titled "America's Most Educated Small Towns," Jacqueline Detwiler lists West Lafayette as the sixth-most educated small town in the United States. Of the town's 27,664 residents, 46.9% have an advanced degree, 30.3% have a Bachelor's degree and 3.3% have an Associate degree. She writes that "top science minds" are drawn to West Lafayette because of Purdue University, and she cites the engineering program specifically. She also says employers at the Purdue Research Park -- including Butler International, Nanovis and Nissan Chemical -- help to keep these "top minds" in the city.
You can read the full article and the criteria used to create the list, as well as see a slideshow of the Top 20 cities here. The slideshow can be found at the "In Depth" link halfway down the article.
Detwiler notes that highly educated people are involved with the arts and culture, which influences opportunities in their hometown. She said that downtown Bethesda, Maryland, has almost 200 restaurants, despite the city having a total population of only 56,842. Brookline, Massachusetts, has more than 20 bookstores including travel specialists and out-of-print shops.
Detwiler also shares information about the arts in Palo Alto, California, home of Stanford University.
"Palo Alto, Calif., is serous about providing arts and entertainment opportunities for its highly educated residents," she writes. "The city's Arts, Parks and Recreation department organizes several community theaters, an annual film festival and an art center that hosts exhibitions and classes for children."
Does the idea that highly educated people are involved in the arts hold true in West Lafayette, Lafayette and Tippecanoe County? There are several arts and culture organizations in the area, including Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette. Can part of the reason be because of the educational makeup of the area?
Or, perhaps, the opportunity for artistic outlets affect an area's educational makeup, especially when it comes to younger people. I've known several students who have been part of Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette's Civic Youth Theatre program, and, for the most part, they're self-confident, sell-assured young people who respond well in front of large groups; they have good time management skills; and they seem to be involved in a lot of activities in which they take a leadership role. I would assume this holds true for students who participate in the Lafayette Ballet Company and other arts organizations in Tippecanoe County.
So here's the question: How much does one influence the other? Are the arts influenced by highly educated people in Tippecanoe County, and do the arts influence the education of residents, especially young people?