New Haven Arts Awards, Trees of Hope going virtual Dec. 2-5

Photo of Joe Amarante

Two New Haven arts traditions will go virtual this holiday season. Of course. But planners are hoping to make the best of it and maybe attract an even wider audience in this challenging year.

The New Haven Arts Council’s annual Arts Awards will be handed out Wednesday, Dec. 2, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. during a Watch Party for anyone interested, and registration is free at newhavenarts.org.

The 40th anniversary awards willl be hosted by Babz Rawls-Ivy live from the Arts Council’s newly renovated headquarters, and while there is no charge, donations will be accepted for the council’s Creative Sector Relief Fund during a critical time for the arts.

Participants will also get discounts at local restaurants Vegan Ahava, York Street Noodle House and Sherkaan, and there will be an available viewing kit with swag, games and decorations for a watch party.

Viewers are advised to follow the latest safety guidance in planning a gathering.

Being honored this year are interdisciplinary artist and instructor Amira Brown, festival organizer and Black beauty supply store manager IfeMichelle Gardin, painter, curator and writer Shaunda Sekai Holloway, singer, songwriter, pianist, and creative organizer Paul Bryant Hudson, New Haven drag community founder Tia Lynn Waters (aka Bubbles) and, receiving the C. Newton Schenck III Award for Lifetime Achievement in and Contribution to the Arts, Liz and John Fisher.

— The other event heading online is Virtual Trees of Hope, which will demonstrate the creative way that donors will deck the halls of the Maritime Center in New Haven to raise funds for the families at Ronald McDonald House of Connecticut.

The virtual holiday viewing, taking place online from Saturday, Dec. 5, through Dec. 13, will feature more than 120 artfully decorated trees, elegant wreaths, “dream” presents and baskets donated by the community to be raffled off in support of the Ronald McDonald House of Connecticut.

“The event has become a holiday staple in New Haven and we feel extremely grateful to have our community rally around this event, especially this year, to keep Ronald McDonald House families together,” stated Michelle D’Amore, executive director, Ronald McDonald House Charities of CT and Western Mass.

Raffle tickets will be sold online for $1 each at rmhct.ourraffle.org. The event will remain live 24/7 after opening at 10 a.m. Dec. 5.

The Ronald McDonald House of Connecticut is a temporary “home away from home” for families of children who are being treated at nearby hospitals and healthcare facilities, according to its website.