Arts and Culture

How and Where to Celebrate Día de los Muertos in Denver

Pirate leads the way in 40 West .
Pirate: Contemporary Art
Pirate leads the way in 40 West .
Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, has a strong following here, for good reason: A deep-rooted Chicano presence in the changing borderlands of northern New Mexico and southern Colorado, as well as a newer influx of Mexican immigrants, brought old traditions to newer cities like Denver.

The holiday is a loving remembrance of family members and friends who have passed but live closer in the ether for a day or two each year, at least in our minds. That’s why we leave offerings of food and flowers for them to enjoy, and paint our faces to look like skulls. But this is not Latino Halloween-o, and there are rules for celebrating. Have fun and own your sorrow while honoring your ancestors. Paint your face. Create an ofrenda to someone you loved and lost. Carry a candle to march in the dark with your neighbors, and share pan de muerto.

Here's where you can still celebrate Día de los Muertos in and around Denver:
click to enlarge Pirate leads the way in 40 West . - PIRATE: CONTEMPORARY ART
Pirate leads the way in 40 West .
Pirate: Contemporary Art
Day of the Dead Community Celebration and Bob Luna Tribute
Through November 7
Pirate: Contemporary Art, 7130 West 16th Avenue, Lakewood
The well-entrenched co-op’s nearly forty-year relationship with the Day of the Dead really caught fire when Pirate moved to Navajo Street, in the heart of the Northside and just blocks from the iconic Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. Pirate’s annual Día de los Muertos exhibition and celebration, never just an event for artists, survived its move to Lakewood a few years ago, still drawing in people from the neighborhood to participate. This year’s event has been a big comeback, a memorial for one of its own, dynamic artist Bob Luna, who passed away in July.
click to enlarge Offerings for the dead on Día de los Muertos. - BRECKCREATE
Offerings for the dead on Día de los Muertos.
Breckenridge Ofrendas Community Celebration: Calaveras en Mi Ciudad
Through November 7
Old Masonic Hall, 136 South Main Street, Breckenridge
Breckenridge isn’t quite ski-ready, but the resort town is more than primed to celebrate el Día de los Muertos with anyone looking for a weekend immersion in the sacred Mexican ancestral remembrance holiday. Breck businesses hosted a self-guided walkabout around town to view community ofrenda displays honoring the dead; the main show at the Old Masonic Hall stays up through November 7.
click to enlarge Community altars decorate the Longmont Museum for Día de los Muertos. - LONGMONT MUSEUM
Community altars decorate the Longmont Museum for Día de los Muertos.
Longmont Museum
Día de los Muertos Exhibition
Through November 7
Longmont Museum & Cultural Center, 400 Quail Road, Longmont
The Longmont Museum traditionally goes all out for Día de los Muertos, and earlier this month joined Firehouse Art Center and the City of Longmont for an amped-up celebration. Its annual Día de los Muertos art exhibition continues through November 7 with a display of community-made ofrendas and artwork by Longmont artist Mario Olvera, a muralist, painter, youth mentor and Aztec dancer.
See the 1960 Mexican film Macario. - 20TH CENTURY FOX
See the 1960 Mexican film Macario.
20th Century Fox
Mexican Film Festival Double Feature
Saturday, November 13, 6 to 10 p.m.
Active Adult Center, 11181 Colorado Boulevard, Thornton
Thornton Arts and Culture slips in one last Día de los Muertos event on November 13: a pair of Día-themed films. The first, Book of Life, is an animated movie about Day of the Dead and other cultural traditions of Mexico and Latin America (for ages seven and up), and the second, Macario, is a 1960 supernatural tale from Mexico set on Day of the Dead eve. It received an Academy Award nomination — the first Mexican film to do so (for ages thirteen and up). Free, but register in advance.