LA GRANDE — The annual Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) community gathering and youth art exhibit returns Oct. 28-Nov. 12 to Art Center East, 1006 Penn Ave.
The free, family-friendly community gathering on Oct. 28 from 6-8 p.m. coincides with the opening reception for the annual exhibit featuring artworks created by Union County K-12 students inspired by Mexican folk-art traditions associated with Día de los Muertos.
A community ofrenda (altar) is also part of ACE’s annual Día de los Muertos celebration.
Community members of all ages are invited to add to the altar throughout the duration of the exhibit by bringing photographs or mementos that honor their loved ones who have passed away. Visit the ofrenda and art exhibit through Nov. 12. Gallery admission is free.
During the Oct. 28 gathering, ACE will have tamales (prepared by La Fiesta Restaurant & Lounge in La Grande) for sale with a choice of chicken or vegetarian. ACE offers a wide array of Día de los Muertos Take & Make Art Kits for all ages and skill levels, free to anyone 18 years or younger. Take & Make Arts Learning Kits are available for pre-order now at artcentereast.org/events/dia-de-los-muertos.
ACE will open its doors on Nov. 1 from 8-9 p.m. and Nov. 2 from 7-8 p.m. for community members to visit the ofrenda during a quiet time.
The ofrenda’s candles will be lit and gallery lighting will be low.
About the holiday
Día de los Muertos is a Mexican national holiday that celebrates the joys of life and offers an opportunity to honor loved ones who have passed away. This celebration is cheerful and playful rather than mournful and sad, and its traditions highlight the importance of family, both living and dead.
Día de los Muertos is traditionally celebrated in Mexico and Central and South America but has also become a widely celebrated holiday in the United States and other countries worldwide. The holiday highlights the beauty and the brevity of life and the importance of remembering and honoring ancestors. Día de Los Muertos is a fusion between the Catholic holidays All Saint’s Day (Nov. 1), All Soul’s Day (Nov. 2), and the ancestor-honoring traditions of Indigenous Mexico. Día de los Muertos sugar skulls (calaveras) and costumed skeletons (calacas) are commonly seen as an extension of Halloween imagery in the United States, but they are not intended to be spooky. Holiday festivities include Mexican folk art, vibrant colors, music, parades, happy reminiscing with family and lots of good food. Families prepare for this cheerful, celebratory day by tidying and decorating their ancestors’ graves, preparing a feast of foods their ancestors loved and laying a pathway of marigolds from their loved ones’ resting place to the family’s home.
Find out more about this event and others at artcentereast.org. Regular gallery hours are Wednesday through Friday from noon-5 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m.-2 p.m.