The University of Wyoming Art Museum is set to kick of the Christmas season with two celebrations next week.
The Festival of Trees silent auction is scheduled to begin Thursday, while Happy Holidays, Laramie! is set for Dec. 2, both at the museum, 2111 Willett.
During Festival of Trees, almost 20 trees decorated by student groups, civic organizations, businesses and community members will be on display. The trees will be lit at 6 p.m. Thursday, which also marks the beginning of a silent auction.
Also on Thursday evening, the public can vote for the tree that wins the People’s Choice Award, while choirs from Laramie High School, Snowy Range Academy and Indian Paintbrush Elementary School will perform.
“It’s a really exciting event, as people get to vote on what their favorite tree is,” said Katie Christensen, curator of education and statewide engagement at the museum.
The silent auction continues from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 1 and closes at 2:30 p.m. Dec. 2.
Saturday also marks Happy Holidays, Laramie! from 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. During the event, art from all Albany County schools will be on display, continuing through Dec. 16. Families can create ornaments, cards and other decorations while also stopping to say hello to Santa Claus and enjoy refreshments.
Performances are scheduled from the Laramie Community Band, Spring Creek and Beitel elementary schools, String Academy of Wyoming and other community musicians, singers and dancers.
“It’s a really exciting, fun, celebratory day,” Christensen said.
She said people are invited to come and go throughout the day to take in the trees, art and performances.
“You can go into the gallery to enjoy the trees and probably enjoy a different performance by the time you come out,” she said.
Both events are in their 25th year. Proceeds from the tree sales will benefit programming at the museum, such as art classes and family art days.
“It just goes back to the community so that we can offer free programming,” Christensen said.
In addition to raising money, Christensen said the events are a showcase for the visual and performing arts happening in the Laramie community and in local schools.
“It’s a way to celebrate each other and this wonderful, art-supportive community that we all live in,” she said.