The public is invited to the Rockwell Museum of Western Art on Sunday, November 4, 2012 from 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. for a celebration of El Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead). Attendees will enjoy observing the creation of a traditional altar (ofrenda) by folk artists. The program is free of charge and made possible by a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts.
El Dia de Los Muertos is a festival of "welcome" for the souls of the dead. The celebration is prepared and enjoyed by the living and honors those who have passed. The customs surrounding this celebration are based on ancient traditions traced to the Aztec civilization in Mexico. The belief is that the souls of the deceased return each year to enjoy, for a few brief hours, the pleasures they once knew in life. Today, this celebration combines Native American and European customs and is primarily practiced among Hispanic, Mestizo and indigenous peoples from the American Southwest to South America.
During the month of October, middle school Spanish students from the surrounding area will create decorative objects for an El Dia de Los Muertos student altar that will be installed in the Museum's Education Gallery. The Museum's Education Department is in its eighth year of partnering with area schools and Spanish teachers in this special program. The Museum's program integrates cultural traditions with classroom education and creates an opportunity for students to connect an artistic experience with traditional learning.
An altar created by Spanish students will be on view in the Education Center and Student Gallery through November 4, 2012.