Until 2012, Southeastern Connecticut was the only region in the state without a Designated Regional Service Organization (DRSO) supporting the CT Office of the Arts in the Department of Economic and Community Development to organize and advocate for the creative sector.

In the fall of 2012 a group of more than 50 regional business, arts, tourism, government, and education leaders conducted cultural assessments in both the greater New London and greater Norwich areas.  These studies identified the region’s assets and potential, and clearly demonstrated the need for strategic collaboration. Based on the assessments, a group of leaders volunteered to serve as a Transition Team to begin the behind-the-scenes infrastructure work to build the coalition.  The Team accomplished several key tasks, including arranging initial fiscal agency with the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut while filing for its own nonprofit status, creating a temporary website, beginning to build a cultural sector database, and receiving official state designation as a DRSO.

In November of 2013, a founding Board of Directors was established. An executive director was hired in January of 2014.

The Coalition is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization headquartered in New London governed by a board of directors comprising cultural, community, and business leadership.