Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a tradition that honors the life and memory of lost loved ones in Mexican and Mexican American communities.

So the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), in collaboration with the Mexican Consulate of Detroit, will display 16 ofrenda (offering) altars created by local artists.

2018 Exhibit of Ofrenda Displays; Central Special Exhibition Galleries

The exhibit is called Ofrendas: Celebrating el Día de Muertos. It stars Saturday, September 28 and runs through to Sunday, November 10, 2019.

Per the DIA:

Four of this year’s 16 altars include tributes to refugees held at the border. Others honor southeast Detroit’s Delray neighborhood, family members, friends, artists, musicians and more. The altars range from 4 to 8 feet tall and are created from a variety of materials, including papier mâché, papel picado (paper cutouts), artificial flowers, LED candles, sugar skulls, photos, clay, wood and more.

Detroit Institute of Arts

“There are so many talented artists among the Detroit area’s vibrant Mexican American community,” said Salvador Salort-Pons, DIA director. “We’re happy to showcase one of their most important cultural traditions and hope visitors from all backgrounds will make connections with their own traditions of honoring those who have passed on.”

The exhibition is free with museum admission, which is always free for residents of Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties.

There will be other Día de Muertos themed programs at the DIA. They include:

  • A puppet performance, Skeletons in the Closet at 2 p.m. on Sept. 28
  • A sugar skull drop-in art-making workshop Friday, Oct. 25 from 6 to 9 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 26 and 27 from noon–4 p.m.
  • Dance performances by Ballet Folklórico de Detroit on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 26 and 27 at 2 p.m.
  • And a talk by the ofrenda artists on Sunday, Nov. 10 at 2 p.m.

All of the extra programs are free with museum admission.

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