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Santa Barbara Museum of Art to Hold Free Family Day Celebrating Día de los Muertos

The Santa Barbara Museum of Art (SBMA) presents a free family day in celebration of Día de los Muertos Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015, 1–4 p.m., in the Museum’s back plaza, State Street terrace, Family Resource Center and galleries. 

For the 26th year, the museum honors the Mexican tradition of remembering the dead with a variety of family festivities including altar displays, art activities, live music, dance performances, an interactive altar installation by Los Angeles-based Art Division and companion activity designed by the Museum’s Teen Internship Program and traditional Mexican refreshments. 

Inspired by the Día de los Muertos traditions and works of art currently on view in the Museum galleries, the event’s art activities include mini-altars, using details of images from the Looking In, Looking Out: Latin American Photography exhibition, skeleton landscape postcards and paper flower still lifes, as well as traditional festival skull charms. 

In the Family Resource Center, the public is invited to remember friends and family by adding to the community altar and to view a special installation by artists from Art Division Youth Arts Program, a professional training program for underserved young adults who show genuine commitment and passion for the visual arts. 

Conjunto Jardin, Mariachi Sol Huasteco and Folkloric Dance Group Quetzalcoatl return with musical and dance performances throughout the day.

The Day of the Dead is traditionally celebrated by creating altars or ofrendas (offerings) that include portraits, personal goods, clothing, favorite foods and possessions of the deceased family member.

This is an important social ritual that symbolizes the cycle of life and death that is human existence.

SBMA’s display of altars are created by various partner schools and community organizations including La Cuesta Continuation High School, Santa Barbara Public Library Eastside Branch, Montecito Union School, the Carpinteria Library Homework Center and Marymount School of Santa Barbara; students enrolled in the Museum’s after-school outreach programs, including Homework/Artwork After-School; Art After School in collaboration with the Police Activities League and A-OK After School Education and Safety Programs at Santa Barbara Community Academy; and Brandon Elementary, El Camino Elementary and Aliso Elementary, recipients of the Museums’ in-classroom outreach program ArtReach.

Each group has incorporated traditional symbols and iconography to offer thanks to departed family, friends or artists in the Museum’s collection.

Limited edition t-shirts and tote bags with original, stenciled designs created by La Cuesta Continuation High School student artists are also on sale as part of the celebration.

The sale proceeds go toward the La Cuesta Art Scholarship, which will be awarded to a graduating senior at the 2016 commencement.

The Santa Barbara Museum of Art and La Cuesta Continuation High School have collaborated since 2007, providing opportunities for students to explore forms of self-expression through art and language.

Previous projects have been exhibited in the Museum Store window and SBMA elevator and at the Ridley-Tree Education Center at McCormick House and at a number of Free Family Days.

Free Family Guides are available at the Visitor Services desks in both English and Spanish.

— Katrina Carl is the public relations manager for the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.

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