El Día de los Muertos is still weeks away, but during these strange times, losses are constantly with us. Every day feels like it could be Day of the Dead.
And this weekend, you'll have two special opportunities to not only remember what you've lost, but celebrate the spirit of healing and resilience.
The first opens today, October 9, at the History Colorado Center, 1200 Broadway, where History Colorado and the Chicano Humanities and Arts Council have partnered on a community ofrenda. Anyone can visit this community altar, leave a tribute to a loved one, perhaps create a paper flower to add to the display. Educator Arlette Lucero organized the project, which features work by artists Cal Duran and Mark Martinez Luna.
"Día de los Muertos is a valuable opportunity for us to come together to honor and remember our loved ones who came before us. It also exemplifies the strength that we can draw from our proud traditions," says Governor Jared Polis. "In both grief and courage, Coloradans are all in this together."
You don't have to visit one of these sites to share a memory on the shrine; you can submit a written piece or a photograph at h-co.org/form.
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The shrine at the History Colorado Center will be up through November 7, it's in the lobby, so easy to access. But if you want to go through the entire museum, admission is free weekends through the election (although timed tickets are required through historycolorado.org). Additional community ofrendas are on display this month at El Pueblo History Museum, Fort Garland Museum and Cultural Center, and the Trinidad History Museum, all History Colorado facilities.
But there's more here in Denver.
On Sunday, October 11, K Contemporary and florist Jenni Skeen of Goodnight Violet are hosting “In Remembrance: Forgetting is so long,” a pop-up exhibit in the plaza of the McNichols Building in Civic Center, just three blocks from the History Colorado Center, from 1 to 5 p.m.
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“Many of us have suffered individual and collective losses throughout 2020 with little public space for naming, processing and sharing our grief," says Doug Kacena, owner of K Contemporary and curator of the pop-up. "‘In Remembrance: Forgetting is so long’ creates an outdoor, safe space –- using art as a catalyst — where the community can come together to acknowledge loss and share memories."
The exhibit includes large-scale work by gallery artist Daisy Patton that was part of her 2018 solo This Is Not Goodbye at the Art Museum of the University of Colorado Boulder. Notes Kacena: “Patton’s work asks the question, ‘Who do we choose to remember, and how?’ — and her series ‘Forgetting is so long,’ as a whole, explores concepts of memory, identity and loss.”
Patton's work will be complemented by funeral-style floral arrangements, creating a collective public space for mourning loss and celebrating memories; visitors will be able to share their own written remembrances. And Ella Longpre, author and low-fi mixed-media performance artist, will offer two readings from her book How to Keep You Alive at 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. Admission is free; find out more here.
There's much more Day of the Dead activity to come this month, thanks to the cooperative project Ofrendas: Offerings of Hope; get the details through the Latina Cultural Arts Center website.
Know of a great Day of the Dead event? Send information to email@example.com; we'll post our own guide later this month.