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Santa Fe art walk embraces DÍa de los Muertos

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Photo: Ayden Adair · The Sentry (see more in this week’s Photobooth)

Denver’s finest art showcase celebrates the holiday

The Santa Fe Art District sidewalks became crowded with those celebrating Día de los Muertos on Nov 2. All manner of people, some dressed up and others not, joined together to celebrate their loved ones that had passed away.

Although this holiday originated in Mexico, this particular event and most celebrations in the United States follow the traditions of Day of the Dead in one form or another. Día de los Muertos is a celebration to love and remember deceased friends and family, because in Mexican culture, if the dead aren’t remembered, they disappear.

For the art walk in the Santa Fe District, there were five places available to celebrate: The Colorado Ballet, Grace Gallery, Museo de las Americas, Su Teatro, and the Chicano Humanities and Art Council (CHAC).

Su Teatro was the main attraction as it had the most to do. Outside in the parking lot, there were altars and a live Mariachi band that drew in crowds and created an atmosphere of celebration. People danced and sang along to the music.

Upon entering the building, a small hallway opened up to tables for painting sugar skulls with glitter, and a makeup artist for calavera painting. Free Mexican hot chocolate and pan de muerto was offered to anyone who wanted it.

Altars and food are an integral part of Día de los Muertos and honoring the dead. This doesn’t necessarily have to be family, as can be seen by an altar in CHAC—one photo was dedicated to Freddie Mercury.

Although every altar is different, several things that they have in common are that they are all set up in a special place in the house, they hold photos of the deceased, candles, Mexican Marigolds, and the favorite food and drinks of the dead.

Su Teatro also honored masses of women that have been killed in Juarez. Every year hundreds of women from Juarez, Mexico are kidnapped and murdered, and their bodies are left along the border.

The reason that so much food is cooked is that it is believed that the spirits eat the food through the steam it gives off. It has been said that the food  left on the altar would be flavorless after the celebration.

Upon entering the CHAC gallery and walking up a ramp into the studio, soft ranchera music was heard, and the eyes were drawn to the papel picado, or cut paper, with beautiful work of skeletons and celebrations hanging from the ceiling.

While all of the gallery’s artwork did not pertain to Día de los Muertos, most of it did, such as a painting of a child praying with a rosary in one hand and a sugar skull in another, a woman with her face painted like a sugar skull, and paintings of Mayan and Aztec gods.

The Santa Fe First Friday Art Walks made an enjoyable experience for all those who celebrate the Day of the Dead.

The Colorado Ballet
1075 Santa Fe Dr.

Grace Gallery
877 Santa Fe Dr.

Museo de las Americas
861 Santa Fe Dr.

Su Treato
721 Santa Fe Dr.

Chicano Humanities and Arts Council
222 Santa Fe Dr.

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