Cultural Districts

What is a Cultural District?
A Cultural District is a specific area of a city or town identified by the municipality that has a number of cultural facilities, activities and/or assets – both for profit and nonprofit. It is a walkable, compact area that is easy for visitors to recognize. It is a center of cultural activities – artistic and economic. It is a place in your city/town where community members congregate, and visitors may enjoy those places that make a community special. Because each community is unique, each Cultural District will look different.

Where can I find the Connecticut legislation that enables Cultural Districts?
An Act Concerning the Establishment of Municipal Cultural Districts (effective October 2019)

Where can I find a general overview, standards & criteria, and how to qualify for the State’s investment?
CT Cultural Districts (DECD/Office of the Arts)

CT Office of the Arts/DECD – CT Cultural Districts Standards and Criteria: PDF

Determining Municipal Readiness
Cities and towns should assess their readiness to establish a Cultural District.

  • Assess the inventory and location of cultural assets in the municipality.
  • Confirm if your city or town is eligible by reviewing the Standards & Criteria.
  • Submit a letter of intent to establish a Cultural District to the Cultural Coalition (eastern CT towns/cities) or your Designated Regional Service Organization (DRSO).

If you have questions, please contact your Designated Regional Service Organization (DRSO).
For eastern CT, contact Deb Mathiasen at or (860) 460-5236.

State-Designated Cultural Districts in eastern CT:

City of New London – New London approves formation of cultural district (4/5/21-The Day)

Formation of Municipal Cultural District(s) being explored in:

Town of Stonington
City of Norwich
Town of Mansfield
City of Groton
Town of Killingly