Arts and Cultural activites are a core asset of Southeastern CT, and in the recently completed 2011 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) were recognized as an important and emerging economic Cluster in the region.
The Cluster is made up of individual artists in all media, a wide range of non-profit cultural institutions, and commercial enterprises. It is estimated that there are over 4000 employees and self employed residents involved directly in the Art and Creative Cluster, with several thousand more in supporting businesses.
The cities of Norwich and New London encourage artist Live/Work spaces as spurs to Downtown revitalization and development . ArtSpace Norwich and New London's Hygienic Artists Cooperative are examples of successes in reuse of historic buildings for this purpose. The 19th century Stonington Velvet Mill has been converted into artist studios and galleries in another example of creative reuse of distressed property.
The Southeastern CT Council of Governments, recognizing the economic vitality of the Film and Digital Media industries, in late 2007 formed a Regional Film Commission to encourage filming in the region and workforce development and training in the trades and skills associated with Film and Video production. The commission is an initiative intended to diversify the core economy of the region, building on its traditional strength in technology. Sonalysts Studios, one of the region's top employers, is a technology based defense company successfully diversified into the entertainment industry with a full service production facility in Waterford.