Eight Día de los Muertos Events Happening This week

Edoardo Alejandro Ortegon paints faces at a past event

Edoardo Alejandro Ortegon paints faces at a past event

Not to be confused with Halloween, Dia de los Muertos is the other holiday that will be celebrated this weekend. The event, which has roots in Indigenous Latin American traditions that were co-opted by the Catholic Church during the colonization of the Spanish empire, has grown in popularity here in the Twin Cities, perhaps due to our rising Latino population. 

There have been some growing pains, however, with the increasing mainstreaming of Dia de los Muertos, such as calls of appropriation when those without Latino heritage put on the Calaveras face paint. For example, this last week Gallery 122 at Hang It was the subject of an open letter for an exhibit, "Afterlife Merriment," that celebrated the holiday but didn't feature any Latino artists or input from the Latino community.

Still, we wanted to give a heads up of some cool things that are going on this next week, all of which we believe have some connection to the Latino community and/or feature artists of color. 

6:20-9 p.m. Saturday, November 1


El Colegio, 4137 Bloomington Ave. S., Minneapolis. 

El Colegio High School, a charter school in south Minneapolis, continues its long-standing Dia de los Muertos tradition this Saturday. The celebration begins at 6:20 p.m. with a procession starting outside of the school, and continues with an artistic program inside. The school will also have student-created ofrendas (altars) on display in its art gallery, and there will be food such as pan de muerto, tamales, and chocolate. The event is open to the public and all ages, plus $5 gets you a Dia de los Muertos 2014 button. All proceeds support the school. 

Festival de las Calaveras/Day of the Dead 
Saturday, November 1

Parkway Theatre, 4814 Chicago Ave. S., Minneapolis.

The Parkway Theatre will host a whole day of activities on Saturday, starting with a community dialogue and family ofrenda workshop from noon to 2 p.m. In the evening, there will be a multimedia concert that includes guest artist Bocafloja (Mexico/NYC) and live music from a number of Latino bands, plus performances by spoken-word group the Palabristas [email protected] Wordslingers, Aztec dancers Kalpulli Yaocenoxtli, and the Twin Cities Breakers. There will also be pieces shown by a number of local artists such as Rodrigo Oñate, Ricardo Levins Morales, Rubin, Urrutia, Douglas Padilla, Gustavo Lira, Xavier Tavera, and Deborah Ramos. 
October 21 through November 30, 2014
Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Each year, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts partners with several Minnesota schools for the Young People's Ofrendas program, drawing on the Dia de los Muertos tradition. Students from El Colegio and Washburn in Minneapolis, Humboldt Senior High in St. Paul, and Austin High School have participated in the program, which includes learning about art, memory, and diverse cultural practices honoring the dead. It all culminates in the creation of their own personal, contemporary ofrendas. The student work will be on display in the Katherine Kierland Herberger Gallery 110 at the museum through November. 

Dia de los Muertos 
2-6 p.m. Sunday, November 2

Color Wheel Gallery

One of the sponsors of the Festival de las Calaveras event at Parkway Theatre is the Color Wheel Gallery, which is based in the Kingfield neighborhood. They'll be hosting their own Dia de los Muertos event on Sunday. The afternoon includes art inspired by the holiday, plus sweet treats. The day of activities includes mask-making, and a chance to create tissue flowers and collage art. Artists include Tammy Ortegon, Gordon Coons, Eileen Connor, Eddie Ortegon, and Eileen Espinosa. 

Dia de Los Muertos
Thursday, October 30 through Sunday, November 2
Café Ena continues its Dia de los Muertos tradition by serving a special prix fixe menu prepared by chef Hector Ruiz. The special event includes an assortment of ofrendas on display, as well as free tarot-card readings on Friday and Saturday from 6 to 8:30 p.m. $35 per person (not including tax or gratuity).

"Death Has a Permit" 

Ruben Urrutia

Ruben Urrutia

Through November 2

Minnesota History Center

Over at the Minnesota History Center, check out the work of Jose Guadalupe Posada (1852-1913), a Mexican artist, illustrator, and engraver. In addition to creating images of outlaws, fugitives, demons, and matadors, his body of work mainly depicts calaveras, a.k.a. skeletons. These works were often used to satirize the rich and the political climate at the time, though these days his pieces and general aesthetic are strongly associated with Dia de los Muertos. 

Celebrating the Spirits at Walker Free First Saturday
10 a.m.- 3 p.m. Saturday, November 1 

For Free First Saturday at the Walker Art Center, the museum has planned a day of activities and performances celebrating the Dia de los Muertos. The day's events, curated by Allison Herrera, include art-making activities such as monoprinting and calavera-making with clay, foil, and markers. There will also be an ofrenda, created by Maria Cristina Tavera, in honor of Americo, a Mexican street artist who lived in Minneapolis for 20 years and who recently passed away after returning to Mexico. There will be a puppet shows at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. performed by Julie and Gustavo Boada, from In the Heart of the Beast, and music by local DJ Miguel Vargas. 


Dia de los Muertos at Bedlam Lowertown 
7 p.m. to midnight Saturday, November 1


Eric Carranza and Nora O'Brien of Sweet 317 are putting together a Dia de Los Muertos event featuring Lowertown artists on Saturday. The evening will include music from Daniel Zamzow, Mahngüs, Har-di-Har and Yeti Steady; live painting by Adetomiwa Gbadebo; and art by Ta-coumba Tyrone Aiken, Dan Wieken, Chad Hambright, and Jessie McNally. It'll be a night of art-making and revelry celebrating the holiday. Guests are encouraged to wear a piece of clothing of a loved one who has passed and bring a remembrance to place on the altar.