According to Pirate gallery founder Phil Bender’s records, it’s the thirtieth anniversary of the co-op’s annual Day of the Dead Show and Celebration, which, in its earliest incarnations, was really the only DOD game in town. In the present, such art-driven celebrations have spread from community stalwarts like CHAC and Museo de las Américas to tattoo parlors and indies, but Bender has a right to feel sentimental about what’s always been a lovely outreach mission, especially at Pirate’s longtime home in the Navajo Street Art District. It’s gone through ups and downs, but the past few years have seen an upswing in interest, as well as some changes that are pumping new life into the old tradition.
“We’ve tried to pay attention to beefing up outreach,” says event organizer Theresa Anderson, who notes that every Pirate member volunteers for the DOD activities. “Debra Sanders has, for the second year, arranged for children from the neighborhood school Academia Ana Marie Sandoval to participate.” The gallery also brought in a juror for the exhibition in place of the old open-entry model, lending gravitas to its display of muertos, nichos and altars. Last year, the Museo’s Maruca Salazar presided; this year, Jaime Carrejo of the Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design had the honors. Also returning is the Muertos Mart, featuring a selection of crafts and jewelry by local artisans and a sideshow in its own right.
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The official opening and celebration is tonight from 5 to 9 p.m. at Pirate, 3655 Navajo Street, with all the mainstays intact, including Aztec dancers, separate piñatas for children and adults, and an inter-community candlelight procession to Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. Admission is free; visit pirateartonline.org or call 303-456-6058.
Fridays-Sundays, 5-9 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 2. Starts: Oct. 25. Continues through Nov. 3, 2013