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Dia de los Muertos
October 16–30, 2011

Dia de los Muertos
Tacoma Art Museum is partnering with Centro Latino and Proyecto MoLÉ for the seventh year to present a celebration of Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). There will be two traditional tapetes (sand paintings) that will be filling the lobby and almost 20 altars crafted by a variety of local community members, schools, and organizations along with exciting programs and events.
Dia de los Muertos Free Community Festival, November 7, 10 am-4 pm 


Exhibition Installation
Sunday, October 16, 10 am5 pm

Help us welcome Día de los Muertos to Tacoma Art Museum. Observe or participate as artists Fulgencio Lazo and Jose Orantes, with a team of professionals and volunteers, create two large tapetes, or sand paintings, in the museum’s lobby, exploring the complimentary themes of song and dance. School and community groups and individuals will also install thematic altars remembering loved ones and raising social awareness on the atrium. Free with museum admission.

Tapetes and altars remain on view through our free community festival, Sunday, October 30. Interested in being involved in the tapete installation or creating an altar? Contact jproehl@tacomaartmuseum.org for more information.


What’s Behind That Altar: Presentations by the Artists
Third Thursday, October 20, 6-7 pm

Join us for free Third Thursday to learn about Día de los Muertos altars from the artists themselves. The construction of altars and ofrendas (offerings) dedicated to the spirits of the deceased are an important tradition of Día de los Muertos. This year, Tacoma Art Museum invited community groups to display altars—some remembering loved ones, others raising social awareness—on the museum’s atrium from October 16 through 30.

Educator Workshop: Papel Picado
Saturday, October 29, 10 am–1 pm

In conjunction with Día de los Muertos at Tacoma Art Museum, practice the traditional Mexican art of paper cutting with artist Victor Gonzales to make festive banners, and bring back ideas for the classroom. Cost: $30 ($20 for members). To purchase tickets, click here.


Día de los Muertos Free Community Festival
Sunday, October 30, 10 am–4 pm

For the seventh consecutive year, join thousands of your friends and neighbors to celebrate Day of the Dead at Tacoma Art Museum with art-making, performances, music, traditional food, sugar skull decorating, and exhibitions of tapetes (sand paintings) and community altars as we honor the cycle of life. Museum admission free.

Schedule of Events

Dia de los Muertos 

12 pm

12:15 pm

1 pm

2 pm

3 pm



Animation and Altar Videos from First Creek Middle School

Live music by Tacoma's Mariachi Ayutla

Traditional Aztec dance performance by Mexica Tlahui

Artist Fulgencio Lazo discusses the artistry of the tapete

Festive face painting in the Lobby

Teens Take Over! with fun activities and items for sale in the tent on Plaza

Decorate sugar skulls in the Art Classroom

Design a magnet with bottle cap flowers in the Open Art Studio

Watch a Día de los Muertos video in the Art Resource Center

View Día de los Muertos altars created by community groups, schools, families, and individuals on the Atrium


What is Día de los Muertos?
Día de los Muertos is an ancient celebration of the eternal cycle of life. Today’s celebrations combine centuries of indigenous practices with contemporary traditions and spiritual beliefs. Observed in Mexican and other Latin American communities on November 1 and 2 (All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day), Día de los Muertos is a powerful, symbolic celebration in honor of relatives and friends who have died. The festival is a joyous celebration that conveys the belief that death is not the end, but rather the beginning of a new stage in life.

Altars, or ofrendas, are often built in the home of the departed one’s family and decorated with traditional items including pictures of the deceased, their favorite food or drink, toys for children, trinkets and keepsakes, and notes to the loved one. The museum’s community altars often honor themes, ideas, or groups of people, rather than one individual.

  The Día de los Muertos festival is generously supported by the Ben B. Cheney Foundation, Centro Latino, Proyecto MoLE, The Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, and the City of Tacoma.
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