Tag Archives: Dia de los Muertos

More than Margaritaville

Even the floors at Xico in Chandler are covered with artwork

For too many Americans, Cinco de Mayo is merely one more excuse to drink beyond reason. For others, it’s a friendly reminder to spend more time exploring the diverse arts and culture of Latin America. For those of you seeking more than Margaritaville, I’ve assembled a humble rundown of a few places you can explore Latin American arts and culture here in Arizona.

  • Arizona Latino Arts & Cultural Center in Phoenix presents visual and performance art. Their “2nd Annual Latina Art Exhibit and Festival” and “What Do Kids Want?” exhibit open today. May’s “First Friday” lineup at ALAC includes the performances by Mystic Events Dance Group, ethnographer Sarah Amira de la Garza and dance group Unidos en Amistad. A Jeremy Gillett play titled “Black & 25 in America” premieres at the center May 12. Learn more at www.alac.mouthtomouthmedia.com.
  • Phoenix Art Museum has a permanent collection of Latin American art that includes more than 400 works of art from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries including religious paintings, colonial furniture, decorative arts and more. Featured artists include Frida Kahlo, Rufino Tamayo and Diego Rivera — plus many contemporary artists. Learn more at www.phxarts.org.
  • Tucson Museum of Art has more than 1,900 works in its permanent Spanish colonial and folk art collections, in addition to oil-on-tin retablos and Mexican provinical paintings. Current exhibitions include “Frida Kahlo: Through the Lens of Nickolas Murray,” “Tesoros del Pueblo: Latin American Folk Art” and “Frida’s Style: Traditional Women’s Costumes from Mexico.” They’ll present a free screening of the film “Frida” on May 10, and partner with UA to present teacher training in Latin American art. Learn more at www.tucsonmuseumofart.org.
  • Xico in Chandler sponsors the region’s oldest “Dia de los Muertos Festival” — a free event that “showcases community performers, folk art vendors, storytelling, cultural music, children’s activities, a community procession and community altar. The 2012 festival takes place on Nov. 3. They also present community exhibitions and “meet the artist” events featuring works by Latino and Native American artists. Xico offers classes with professional artists to underserved youth, plus printmaking workshops (“an art-form with a rich history among indigenous artists”). Learn more at www.xicoinc.org.

Click here if you’re looking for family-friendly Cinco de Mayo celebrations, and here to learn more about an Arizona organization called Friends of Mexican Art.

— Lynn

Note: Click here if you’re celebrating Keith Haring’s birthday today and here to watch Robert Booker on PBS’s “Horizon” (Booker heads the Arizona Commission on the Arts). If you just like clicking things, simply fondle your remote control.

Coming up: The best pies in Glendale?, Art meets Austria

Update: Works by 2012 Arizona Doodle 4 Google finalists will be exhibited at the Tucson Museum of Art June 1-Aug 31. You can vote online for your favorite Doodle for Google through May 10 by clicking here. 5/4/12; Click here to read “Rescuing the Stories Behind Latino Art” by Holland Cotter published in The New York Times. 5/12.


A celebration of life!

Stilt walkers from the Taylor Circus performing at a Mesa Arts Center festival
Remember that you have me…. by Felipe M. Carranza
Grand Memories by Erica Lucci and Chris Altman
Inspirational Memories by Socorro Hernandez
The Daughter of Time by Skye Wilster
Detail of an offrenda in the “Adorned in Memories, Written in Stone” exhibit
A work by Moisés, designer of this year’s print for the CALA Alliance Festival
Ganas O Muerte by Ernesto Yerena
A sampling of unique items available for purchase at XICO gallery in Chandler
Part of the Loteria Series by Lalo Cota
Proof that the folks who give “Best of” awards need a category for best floor
Giant Katrina puppet commissioned by Xico gallery for El Dia de los Muertos
— Lynn
Note: Works of art were photographed at Burton Barr Central Library in Phoenix and Xico gallery in Chandler. Xico carries several Day of the Dead books, as well as a coloring book, for children — and is presenting a free El Dia de los Muertos festival on Sat, Nov. 5. The library’s “Adorned in Memories, Written in Stone” exhibit of artist-made altars runs through Sat, Nov. 5. Click here to learn more about the Taylor Circus, here to learn more about Mesa Arts Center and here to learn more about CALA festival events.
Coming up: A blast of blue!

Arizona Humanities Festival

Ballet Folklorico Esperanza performs at the Arizona Humanities Festival in Phoenix

I headed to Civic Space Park in downtown Phoenix Saturday for an event called the “Arizona Humanities Festival: Stories of Us,” presented by the Arizona Humanities Council — and sponsored by APS and the Arizona Commission on the Arts.

The all-day festival was designed as “a celebration of the cultures that surround us, the stories that define us, and the histories that connect us.”

A family activity area featured storytelling, face painting, Chinese calligraphy, Day of the Dead mask-making and much more. Characters like Maya & Miguel strolled through the crowd, posing with children for pictures. And various performers, including those pictured below, took to the stage. 

Face painting at the festival’s Dias de los Muertos Activity Center

Miguel and Maya with two girls attending the Arizona Humanities Festival

A pair of works (L) from the Tucson Chinese Cultural Center activity area

Traditional Chinese Lion Dancers preparing for a second performance

One of several groups that performed works with multicultural flair

Scenes from You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown by ASU’s Lyric Opera Theatre

The first of several dances performed by Ballet Forklorico Esperanza

A high-energy performance by Fushicho Daiko/Phoenix Taiko Drummers

Various speakers gave presentations in ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism building — on topics ranging from Anne Frank to pioneering women artists in Arizona. Nearby, attendees learned about things like hip hop and Arizona’s identity in Western movies.

Plenty of humanities-related organizations had booths at the festival — including the Central Arizona Museum Association, the Braille and Talking Book Library, the Arizona Authors Association and many more.

One of several exhibitors at Saturday's Arizona Humanities Festival in Phoenix

Folks who missed Saturday’s festival can enjoy other events presented by the Arizona Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities founded in 1973. Visit them online at www.azhumanities.org to learn more.

— Lynn

Note: According to the Arizona Humanities Council, the humanities include history, literature, languages, linguistics, philosophy, law, archeology, comparative religion, anthropology, ethics, art history and more.

Coming up: More fun with festivals

Photo credit: Lynn Trimble

Celebrating “Day of the Dead”

When I stopped by the Arizona Latino Arts and Culture Center in downtown Phoenix last weekend, artist José Andrés Girón eagerly told me about an exhibit of works by visual and performance artist Zarco Guerrero opening this week — just in time for “First Friday” on Oct 8.

Guerrero’s one-man, multi-media exhibit titled “Calacas y Mas” runs through Nov 30. It features photos, masks, large puppets, ofrendas and a special Dia de los Muertos art installation. ALAC credits Guerrero with making the celebration of Dia de los Muertos as popular in Arizona as the celebration of Cinco de Mayo.

This work in the ALAC gift shop got me thinking about The Day of the Dead

The Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix is celebrating Dia de los Muertos with “ongoing festivities, classes and exhibits” — plus entertainment to include song, dance and storytelling. The garden will present an interactive altar and a display honoring Dia de los Muertos.

Viewing of an “Ofrenda Offering” featuring installations by ten “local and renowned” artists is included with garden admission Oct 21-Nov 2. An event titled “Cuisine and Culture of Dia de los Muertos” takes place Thurs, Oct 27. And a traditional La Procesión blending symbolism and pageantry with music and dance begins at 5pm on Sat, Oct 30.

A work by Juan Chawuck of Chiapas Mexico exhibited at ALAC in Phoenix

Xico presents its 32nd annual “Dia de los Muertos: A Celebration of Life Festival” in Chandler Sat, Nov 5. The event features traditional music and dance by local performers, storytelling from the South Mountain Community College Storyteling Institute and children’s activities. Also folk arts and crafts and ethnic foods.

The Xico event also includes a community altar, a candlelight procession and their first ever “El Katrin/La Katrina Contest.” Their “El Dia de los Muertos” art exhibit featuring the works of more than 20 artists recently opened at their Chandler gallery. It’s part of their overall mission to “promote indigenous heritage and culture through the Arts.”

Works by Ruben Galicia on exhibit at ALAC in downtown Phoenix

Works by Ruben Galicia on exhibit at ALAC in downtown Phoenix

The Mesa Arts Center presents a “Dia le los Muertos Celebration” Oct 31-Nov 1. The event features a community altar, live music and performances, and food. Also a mercado complete with Day of the Dead merchandise, arts and crafts, children’s activities and more.

On Saturday, more than 150 students from various Mesa public schools will play mariachi-style music from 11am to noon. Altars created by local children and families will be on display, and one of several workshops (from noon-3pm) offers participants the opportunity to create an altar for a loved one, pet or event they wish to remember. Sunday events include a traditional procession starting at 4:30pm.

Detail of an Oliverio Balcells work titled Ometeotl exhibited at ALAC

The Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix presents “Dia de los Muertos at MIM: A Celebration of Life through Music” Nov 5 & 6. The event features a community altar, a music-inspired activity for all ages, a display of student-made altars and live performance by various solo artists and bands.

The MIM celebration also features a traditional mercado filled with unique crafts and art, Mexican-inspired food and drinks, and a “cemetary” honoring famous American and Mexican musicians.

One of many colorful displays at the ALAC gift shop in Phoenix

For complete event details, visit organization and venue websites. If you know of another “Day of the Dead” celebration in the Valley, please comment below to let our readers know.

— Lynn

Note: Art featured in this post was photographed during my recent visit to ALAC (prior to the installation of their “Day of the Dead” exhibit).

Coming up: More festivals with multicultural flair, A musical about second chances