El Día de los Muertos “Day of the Dead” Festival

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The Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, 21c Museum and the U of L Fine Arts Department and the Latin American and Latino Studies Program will celebrate El Día de los Muertos “Day of the Dead” holiday by hosting several public altars and related events October 25 through November 11, 2008.            

Festivities kick-off at KMAC with Suzanne Martino hosting an altar-making workshop on October 25 from Noon-4pm in which participants will create their own shrine  to someone or something that is important to them using a variety of materials. Beginning Oct. 27, KMAC will begin constructing public altars in which members of the public are encouraged to bring items to honor family, friends, passed artists and soldiers, while the students and faculty of the U of L Latin American and Latino Studies Program erect an altar in memory of César Iván Aguilar-Cano. Christopher 2X, Founder of Fight Crimes Against Children Partnerships, is collaborating with the LALS Program on this effort to pay tribute to César Iván, who lost his life tragically in 2007. Members of the community are invited to place toys around the altar, which will then be donated to the surviving family members of homicide victims, during the upcoming Christmas season.            

On U of L’s campus, the Annual Day of the Dead Altar Contest will be hosted at Ekstrom Library, from October 27 to 31, and there will be an additional Day of the Dead celebration at the George Howe Red Barn from 10:00am-2:00am on November 3.Beginning October 31, 21c Museum will display 3 altars, including one dedicated to Frida Kahlo, erected by Professor Christopher Fulton’s Mexican Art and Architecture class, a glass altar created by the students of Fine Arts Professor Che Rhodes, and an altar being dedicated to the "Las Muertas de Juarez", the dead women of Juarez, created by Fine Arts professor Gabrielle Mayer, and her students. In addition, the students of Luci Mistratov’s U of L silk painting class will decorate the installation space with their original works. On November 1, from 5-9pm, KMAC will host festivities that will include food, live music and dancing, a sugar skull contest, tissue flower-making, a Frida Kahlo costume contest, fire dancers, flamenco dancer Christina Smith, face painting, puppets, art cars, a candle lit march and much, much more. Guests are encouraged to attend, wearing costumes and masks. Also that day, Suzanne Edds of Louisville, KY will host a Clay Skeleton Masks workshop at KMAC from 11am-3pm. Participants will learn about the history and traditions of this holiday, while crafting  clay skulls to honor the dead & celebrate life. During the First Friday Gallery Hop on November 7, 21c Museum will have altars for viewing and exhibitions will conclude at 21c Museum on Nov 11. The KMAC Gallery Shop will be featuring artwork for sale that is themed around the Day of the Dead holiday, including a selection of works by Suzanne Martino at KMAC from October 25-November 2 and at 21c Museum from November 3- 11.

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