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Lawndale wants you to learn about Día de los Muertos
Press Release

September, 2008

Lawndale Art Center is pleased to present its 21st Annual Día de los Muertos series of programs, a celebration of the art, music and practices of Mexico.

Lawndale invites Texas artists to create their own interpretation of the traditional tin devotional painting practice in Mexico known as the retablo in this exhibition.

October 20 – November 8, 2008.

Everything you need to know about Día de los Muertos from Lawndale Art Center

Why learn about Day of the Dead?

Day of the Dead promotes cultural awareness of Mexican folk art practices associated with the celebration. This community and family tradition celebrates family, life, and community. Specific practices for celebrating Day of the Dead vary from community to community. However there are some common practices central to the celebration. 

What is Day of the Dead?

Every year, according to Mexican folk tradition, the living honor the return of the souls of dead family and friends on November 1 and November 2. The first of November is reserved for the return of departed children and the second for adults. The living celebrate the return of the dead with elaborate home altars and graveside arrangements composed of the deceased’s favorite foods and keepsakes.

Is Day of the Dead like Halloween?

No, Day of the Dead is not a scary or gruesome event. Witches, monsters, goblins, and demons are ONLY associated with Halloween. In contrast, Day of the Dead honors and celebrates the deceased. “It is a uniquely Indo-Hispanic custom that demonstrates a strong sense of love and respect for one’s ancestors; celebrates the continuance of life, family relationships, community solidarity; and even finds humor after death—all positive concepts!” (Salinas, Bobbi. Indo-Hispanic Folk Art Traditions II. Michigan : Piñata Publications, 1988)

Does Day of the Dead honor death?

No, Day of the Dead does not honor death, but the memory and the souls of the dearly departed.

Are retablos traditionally associated with Day of the Dead?

Day of the Dead altars can contain a variety of items, such as marigolds, food, beverages, candles, photographs, and keepsakes. Although altars normally hold specific items, the composition of the altar is usually determined today by its caretakers. Images of saints can be included within this composition. Retablos are not specifically created for Day of the Dead altars.

What is the relationship between All Souls /All Saints Day and Mexico's Day of the Dead?

Both set aside a day for remembering loved ones who have passed away. The Mexican Day of the Dead celebration differs from the European tradition of All Soulsy/All Saints Day because it is a complex mix of pre-Hispanic and Hispanic/European traditions. Those observing Day of the Dead believe their departed family members return to Earth for the day. In the eyes of a Mexican, it is not a somber occasion, but a time to celebrate.

Here are some links to further clarify Day of the Dead traditions:

Common misconceptions about Day of the Dead What do Mexicans celebrate on the "Day of the Dead?"  

Article and images by Salvador, R.J. (2003)  Calendar of EventsRetablo

October 20 - November 8, 2008

Lawndale Art Center is pleased to present its 21st Annual Día de los Muertos series of programs, a celebration of the art, music and practices of Mexico. Lawndale invites Texas artists to create their own interpretation of the traditional tin devotional painting practice in Mexico known as the retablo in this annual exhibition.   

Gala and Retablo Silent Auction
Thursday, October 23, 2008

Artist, Member and Sponsor preview 6:00-7:00 PM
Gala and Silent Auction 7:00 - 9:00 PM

Admission: $40 per person
$30 for Lawndale Members

The festivities begin with a silent auction Thursday, October 23. The auction of retablos, created and donated by nearly 300 Texas artists, will feature contemporary interpretations of this traditional, devotional art. Guests will also enjoy Día de los Muertos exhibitions in the Cavnar and Mezzanine Galleries which feature the works of Houston school children. Complimentary food and drinks will be provided for attending guests by local restaurants along with Latin grooves provided by Mr. Bristle and friends.

Musical Ofrenda
Tuesday, October 28, 2008

5:30-7:30 PMDuring Día de los Muertos families create ofrendas or altars to remember and honor the memory of their ancestors. River Oaks Chamber Orchestra and Musiqa will present short original contemporary, classic compositions as musical ofrendas. Each piece was written as a remembrance in the tradition of making an offering during the Día de los Muertos celebrations. Join ROCO, Musiqa and Lawndale Art Center on Tuesday, October 28, 5:30 - 7:30 pm, for an evening of celebration and remembrance. Admission is free. This event is a partnership between ROCO, Musiqa and Lawndale Art Center.

Sugar Skull Workshop
Thursday, October 30, 2008

4:00-7:00 PM
In conjunction with our 21st annual Día de los Muertos celebration, Lawndale Art Center is offering a sugar skull making workshop. Stop in for a quick lesson, or stick around and help us make skulls to be decorated at our Family Day Fiesta on Saturday, November 1st. The workshop is free and open to the public. All participants may take home one sugar skull and a printed recipe. 

Family Day Fiesta
Saturday, November 1, 2008

Noon - 4:00 PM

Admission: Free
Lawndale’s 21st annual Día de los Muertos celebration continues with a Saturday fiesta honoring participating teachers and students whose works of art can be viewed in the Canvar and Mezzanine Galleries. Sugar skulls, papel picado, papier mache skeletons, retablos, altars and large-scale installations are just a few of the many projects on display. Guests will enjoy hot chocolate and pan de muerto, performances by Mixteco Ballet Folklorico, and various children’s activities, such as decorating sugar skulls.

Students and TeachersFor information about Día de los Muertos please visit Lawndale's Teacher's Resource Page. This site, assembled by Carrie Green Markello, serves as an excellent resource for students and teachers interested in learning about the history and traditions of this unique holiday.Participate in the Event Ways you can participate in Lawndale's Día de los Muertos events:

  • If you are an artist, you can submit a retablo for Lawndale's silent auction. Pick up a sheet of metal from Lawndale while supplies last and return to us as your artwork submission. With your submission, you will be given one admission ticket to our well-attended gala/silent auction. At least 50% of the proceeds made from the sale of your retablo help Lawndale present the work of artists from this region. Click here for the entry form.
  • Introduce your students to the Día de los Muertos tradition by scheduling a tour with the Lawndale staff.
  • Bring personal items for Lawndale's community altar.
  • Volunteer for Día de los Muertos events
Lawndale Art Center | 4912 Main Street | Houston | TX | 77002 | 713.528.5858


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