Day of the Dead Festival

Festival del Dia de los Muertos
Day of the Dead Festival
Saturday, November 1, 5 – 9 PM

Photo by Andres Cruz, La Voz

On November 1, 2014, the “Night of the Angels”, the Living Arts & Science Center will present the 9th annual Day of the Dead Festival with a participatory celebration at the Living Arts & Science Center as well as at the Old Episcopal Burying Ground at the corner of E. 3rd Street and Elm Tree Lane.  This event is a fun, participatory experience for the entire family.

The Day of the Dead Festival is a true community event bringing together individuals, groups, students and teachers from the Latino and non-Latino communities.   Join the celebration and experience the rich visual, musical, dance and culinary traditions of this holiday that is celebrated in Mexico and parts of Central and South America.   The Festival will include live music and dance performances, traditional food, hands-on crafts, art exhibits and a gallery talk by the artists, a candlelight parade, and an exhibition of altars in the Old Episcopal Burying Ground.

Photo by Andres Cruz, La Voz

The 2014 Festival will include traditional Mexican dance performed by Casa de la Cultura Hispanica de Lexington and by men’s dance company, Matlachines.   Mariachi singer and guitarist Jose Rivera will also perform throughout the evening.

A variety of hands-on crafts typical of Day of the Dead celebrations will take place indoors and out and will include decorating Sugar Skulls, creating papel picado (cut paper streamers),  and the creation of large, decorative kites based upon a Guatemalan Day of the Dead tradition.    Hundreds of these kites, created for the Day of the Dead Festival by area schools , will be on exhibit as well.

Altar Exhibit — Old Episcopal Burying Ground
At dusk, musicians and dancers will lead participants in a beautiful candlelight parade from the LASC to the Old Episcopal Burying Ground at 3rd Street and Elm Tree Lane.

In the cemetery, participants may view an exciting exhibition of altars in and around the gravesites of this historic cemetery and enjoy additional performances by traditional dancers and musicians.

Altars are being created by Latino and non-Latino artists and community and student groups.   Viewers may talk with artists, school groups and community members who have created both traditional altars as they would be presented in Mexican cemeteries as well as altar designs inspired by this joyful celebration.  In the cemetery informal discussions will take place to educate participants about the altars, Day of the Dead, and the traditions and symbolism associated with this important Latin American holiday.

Applications for those interested in creating an altar for the 2014 Festival can be found HERE.

Gallery Exhibition – Diverse Traditions:  Imagery and Symbols in Latin America

The LASC’s Art Gallery will also present a unique exhibit featuring the incredible talents of two celebrated regional artists Soreyda Benedit Begley and Rebeca Calderón Pittman with artist Robert Morgan’s private collection of historical masks from Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala.

The exhibition will explore the diverse imagery and symbols used during Day of the Dead and other celebrations in Latin America. Originally from Honduras and now residing in Lexington, fashion designer Soreyda Benedit Begley creates works from recycled and repurposed materials and transforms them into elegant pieces art. Begley will create a dress for this exhibition that incorporates Day of the Dead imagery from her native Honduras. Through her current work, Cincinnati artist Rebeca Calderón Pittman will present colorful abstract paintings and digital prints that reflect the vibrant colors of her Caribbean homeland, Guatemala. Pittman will create a work specifically for the exhibition based on Day of the Dead celebration practices in Guatemala.

Reflecting more traditional Day of the Dead imagery, the exhibit will also showcase the masks from the private collection of Lexington artist Robert Morgan. Collected from many years of travel to Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala, Morgan’s masks will effectively illustrate the subtle regional differences of symbols used during Day of the Dead and other festivals throughout Latin America. In the LASC’s library, Dia de los Muertos experts Jacobo and Janice Aragon will create a traditional Mexican altar that contain symbols and imagery typically found in the southern regions of Mexico.

Traditional food from area restaurants will be available for purchase at the LASC.  The LASC will also serve complimentary pan de muertos, the traditional bread of the dead.

The Day of the Dead Festival is sponsored in part by:
Kentucky Humanities Council

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