Dí­a de los Muertos Festival

Celebrate the 17th annual Día de los Muertos Festival with community altars in the museum.

Known in English as Day of the Dead, this life-affirming celebration of the eternal cycle of life has been observed for centuries. Day of the Dead combines ancient and colonial traditions, folk customs, and spiritual beliefs. Celebrated in Mexican and Latin American communities on November 1 and 2, Día de los Muertos is a powerful, symbolic way to honor relatives and friends who have died.

Traditionally, families assemble altars in their homes laden with offerings of food and drink to nourish the spirits on their long journey back home. Flowers, candles, clay figurines, sugar skeletons with the names of the deceased, and personal messages to the spirits are placed on the altars.

Exemplifying the Museum’s mission to transform our communities by sharing art that inspires broader perspectives and cultivates a compassionate future, TAM’s annual  Día de los Muertos Festival has grown over the past 16 years, bringing together community organizations, schools, families, and individuals to create altars, celebrate, and share.

Stylized Dia de los Muertos 2021 logo against a dark gray background

Join Tacoma Art Museum and partners in celebrating Día de los Muertos.

After an incredibly challenging 18 months, we see a continued need for people to come together to share the love and memories of those we have lost. Safe social distancing means we won’t be able to host thousands on October 31st as we had hoped, but our commitment to this festival has not wavered.

Visit TAM October 20 – 31 to view the tapete (sand painting) by acclaimed artist Fulgencio Lazo  and our exhibition of community-built ofrendas (altars.) Traditionally, families assemble altars in their homes laden with food and drink offerings to nourish the spirits on their long journey back home. Over the years at TAM, we have seen many beautiful and powerful offerings to those who have passed, and we look forward to sharing the beautiful altars created in the museum this year. Check out the full online Dia de los Muertos celebration here.

The 2021 Dia de los Muertos Community Festival is generously supported in part by the Haub Family Endowment, The National Endowment for the Arts, Tacoma Creates, and presented in partnership with Proyecto MoLE and Mi Centro, Tacoma.

Partner and sponsor logos for Dia de los Muertos 2021 festival.


Free Community Festivals are generously supported by the Tacoma Arts Commission, ArtsFund, Tacoma Creates, and by a grant from the Washington State Arts Commission.