ESCONDIDO–The Day of the Dead is a time for family and friends to come together to remember and celebrate the lives of loved ones who have passed.
Once again, the California Center for the Arts, Escondido (the Center) will participate in this age-old Mexican holiday by hosting its free Día de los Muertos Festival from 6 to 9 p.m. on Fri., Nov. 1.
The 18th annual event is sponsored by Crescentera Foundation.
First presented in 1995, the community celebration has become an annual and beloved tradition at the Center. During the festival, community members are invited to create their own memorial in remembrance of departed family and friends. A grid containing approximately 170 altar spaces will be set up for this activity. Candles will be provided, but participants must bring their own photographs, mementos, etc. The altars will be displayed from Nov. 1-4.
While Día de los Muertos is certainly a time of reflection, it is also one of festivity. Roaming mariachis will add a lively spirit to the Center’s campus while a variety of arts and crafts activities, face painting and traditional Mexican fare will be available for attendees to enjoy.
The Center will offer its own concessions, including tamales and Mexican hot chocolate. El Guadalajara’s will be on site serving up authentic tacos, burritos, quesadillas, nachos, and rice and beans. Doggos Gus will be hawking its bacon-wrapped hot dogs and Azteca Roasted Corn will be selling its namesake dish by the cob.
The Center’s Education department will have craft stations set up on campus. Children and their families will be able to make paper flowers and masks, decorate sugar skulls, and color. Independent artist Daniel Martinez will also be hosting an Ofrenda Workshop. Meaning offering in Spanish, elaborate ofrendas are set up during Day of the Dead to honor one’s ancestors. The workshop will discuss how to create an ofrenda for Día de los Muertos.
Concurrent with the festival, the Center Museum will offer complimentary admission to the grand opening of its new exhibition, “Los Colores de la Muerte: A Day of the Dead Festival.”
With a Spanish title that means “The Colors of Death,” the exhibition will be a true feast for the eyes. Running through Dec. 1, the show will feature the work of celebrated Mexican photographer Mario Castillo and vibrant paintings created by Mexico City-native-turned-Paris-based artist Cristina Rubalcava.
The Museum’s galleries will also display 10 white clay sculptures of Catrinas– costumed skeleton figures that have become a prominent part of modern Day of the Dead observances– as well as an altar in homage to José Guadalupe Posada, a Mexican cartoonist and political satirist whose work left an indelible mark on Mexican pop culture and folk art.
In addition to these Day of the Dead festivities, the Center and Ballet Folklorico Tierra Caliente (BFTC) have teamed up to present “Mexico…Vive su Folklor,” an artistic overview of the history of Mexico on stage. The BFTC dance troupe will take the Concert Hall stage at 7 p.m. to perform an exciting repertoire incorporating music, costumes and choreographies in interpretation of Mexican regional dances.
Tickets cost $15 and can be purchased online or by calling the Ticket Office at (800) 988-4253.
For more information about the Día de los Muertos Festival, call (760) 839-4138, or visit www.artcenter.org.