We are pleased to announce a Neighbor to Neighbor theme for the 39th Annual Arts Awards, scheduled for December 6th. This year’s luncheon aims to celebrate local leaders who strengthen their communities through arts and culture. With this theme in mind, the Arts Council’s Board of Directors has selected Rafael Ramos to receive the C. Newton Schenck III Award for Lifetime Achievement in and Contribution to the Arts.

Nominations are open through September 9th from all corners of Greater New Haven, which might include individuals, organizations, businesses, volunteers, philanthropists, events, and ideas. Questions the organization is asking include: 

  • Who are the expected and unexpected creative leaders in your local community?
  • What organizations bring neighborhoods together through the arts?
  • Where does culture and self-expression form the basis for community development?

There is no limit to how many nominations one may submit. In fact, the Arts Council encourages multiple submissions. An independent jury will select five winners based on quality, not quantity, of the nomination.

Submit A Nomination Today


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Rafael Ramos

C. Newton Schenck III Award for Lifetime Achievement in and Contribution to the Arts

Raphael Ramos (Gellman)

Rafael Ramos founded Bregamos Community Theater in 2000 with the mission of bringing New Haveners together around collective, diverse artistic practice by and for the community. In the nearly two decades since, the space has become a haven for Latinx artists, social justice fighters, anti-racism and anti-poverty work in the arts, and cross-diasporic conversations. In a given month, he hosts community celebrations, bilingual theater, cultural festivals and weekly healing drum circles that are free and open to the public. While Ramos was raised in the Bronx, in a Puerto Rican family that informed his practice, he has since made New Haven very much his home.

In a 2013 interview with CT Latino News, he said that he chose the name of the theater because “In Latin America, ‘bregamos’ means ‘We fix it, tweak it, to make it work, to make it happen, by any means necessary, to make a deal, consider it done." Ramos also works for the City of New Haven's anti-blight agency, the Liveable City Initiative (LCI), from which he plans to retire next year. We are so proud to honor his work as a tireless public servant and community treasure.

Photo: Lucy Gellman


Winners Will Be Announced in September

Become an Arts Council member to meet them first! 

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Performance Commission

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We are thrilled to announce that the 39th Annual Arts Awards on December 6th will begin with an original and collaborative performance by Thabisa. Having relocated from South Africa to New Haven in 2016, the piece is inspired by the African philosophy “umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu” - a person is a person because of others.

Watch one of her recent performances for a preview!

Photo: Elethu-Ithemba Mhlakulwana Rich

 Selection Process

The C. Newton Schenck III Award for Lifetime Achievement in and Contribution to the Arts is selected by our Board of Directors. The theme and commission were selected by the Arts Council team. Awardees are nominated by the community and selected by an independent jury, which this year includes Elinor Slomba, Senator George Logan, Diane Brown, David Greco, and Julie Smith.

Explore Arts Awards Winners

BitsiePostcardart-one-rowBitsie Clark Fund for Artists

Created in honor of the dynamic, transformative former Executive Director of the Arts Council, the Fund is designed to strengthen and enrich our community by investing in its artists. Visit their website for full details.

Congratulations to Barbara Harder, phenomenal artist and teacher, who is the first grant recipient of The Bitsie Clark Fund for Artists. We will celebrate the next grant recipients at the upcoming Arts Awards.

Save the Date
December 6, 2019 | 11am-1:30pm | New Haven Lawn Club

Last year sold out!
Become a member to purchase your tickets first.

Join Today


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Interested in sponsorship opportunities? Contact our Development Director Megan Manton for details.

Experience the Celebration

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Rosa DeLauro Arts Council Awards

Video by Alisha Martindale | Photos by Lucy McClure 


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