Halloween may be over but the fun doesn’t have to be thanks to multiple Dia de los Muertos celebrations occurring Friday and Saturday throughout the city.

Roberts Art Gallery

The students of Santa Monica High School invite the community to view altars and celebrate their ancestors at Friday’s Day of the Dead Art Exhibition from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the school’s art gallery.

Featuring food, music and dancers, the community event is sure to be a celebration you won’t want to miss, according to teachers who created some of the stunning altars that will be on display Saturday.

“This has been going on for 15 years. It’s a long tradition for the Santa Monica Art Department,” said Tania Fischer, a Samohi teacher and longtime organizer of the event.

The department felt it was important to expose students to the culture and allow people a safe place to honor those who have passed away, Fischer said, mentioning she worked with the school’s Spanish teachers and the Pico Youth and Family Center when organizing the community artists.

Attendees will also have the ability to view artwork created by the students of John Adams Middle School and Samohi, Fisher added, stating: “Anyone is welcome because we’ve really worked hard to make this a community event.”

Virginia Avenue Park

Residents are also invited to attend the “Dia De Los Muertos: Exposicion Cultural” at Virginia Avenue Park.

Organized by Familias Latinas Unidas, the event will kickoff at 5:30 p.m. and run until 8 p.m. on Friday, according to Library Assistant Jesus Cordero, who said, “We’re going to have an altar here and people from the community can come to view a documentary that was filmed in Mexico that will speak about the true origins of Dia de los Muertos and how it really is celebrated down in Mexico.”

The documentary is going to be 30 minutes and chairs will be placed in front of the library so residents can be comfortable while they watch the film, Cordero said. Following the documentary, attendees will have an opportunity to speak about their loved ones and we will perform the ritual and celebrations as a community.

“Then we will pass out champurrado and sweet bread after the little celebration,” Cordero said.

Woodlawn Cemetery

The festivities continue Saturday with the Woodlawn Cemetery’s 8th annual Día de los Muertos Celebration.

Running from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, this free family-friendly event will feature a new format, which is the result of a multi-year community engagement project that allowed local residents the opportunity to provide input on what the celebration will consist of.

“One of the primary recommendations that came out of that was a desire to keep the more sacred events of the celebration in the cemetery and the secular events outside on the street,” said Shannon Daut, the city’s cultural affairs manager.

Delaware Avenue will be closed to traffic, and the day’s festivities will spill out onto the street that connects directly to the cemetery.

Altars, musicians, dancers, craft workshops and food trucks are only part of the day’s scheduled activities, Daut said, describing the different workshops and exhibitions that will also be on site.

“The opening ceremony is aways powerful and we have a lot of new bands performing this year,” Daut added. “I think it will be a completely different atmosphere with the community on the street and we’re really looking forward to an enjoyable day honoring loved ones with the community.”

Visit bit.ly/DiaDeDead for additional information.


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