• September 22nd, 2023
  • Friday, 12:00:04 PM

Longmont’s Día de los Muertos Celebrates 20 Years

In many parts of Mexico, Central América, and the United States, El Día de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, is a time to honor and celebrate deceased loved ones. Community participation is essential to this holiday that is full of life, reflection, food, family and fun. The celebration demonstrates how a diverse community can come together to share a common desire to honor our ancestors and keep their memories alive.

Photo: Courtesy Tony Ortega
Cholo Vato: Tony Ortega, “Days of the Dead: Aztec Adventures of Cholo, Vato and Pano,” 1998, pastel.

Marking it’s 20th anniversary this year, Longmont’s annual Día de los Muertos celebration is the largest in the state of Colorado; the exhibition and family celebration at the Longmont Museum alone attract more than 8,000 people from across the region each year. Día de los Muertos in Longmont has expanded to become an entire City affair. The Longmont Museum partners with a host of individuals and community organizations with cultural expertise to create an experience for Día de los Muertos that is rooted in respect and authenticity.

Much of the signature celebration has been reimagined into virtual events this year, to keep the community safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Longmont Museum’s Día de los Muertos through January 9; $8 adults, $5 students/seniors. Día de los Muertos made its return to the Museum’s main gallery this fall for a special exhibition of community ofrendas (altars) and the artwork of renowned Colorado artist Tony Ortega. Ortega’s lifelong goal is to contribute to a better understanding of diversity by addressing the culture, history, and experiences of Latinx people through his vibrant art. The exhibition will include his paintings, prints, mixed media works, illustrations from book collaborations with George Rivera, and a newly commissioned original mural located in downtown Longmont in honor of our 20th Día de los Muertos anniversary.

Firehouse Art Center’s Día de los Muertos exhibit through – November 8, free. Día de los Muertos 2020, curated by Grace Gutiérrez, will showcase the work of Adrian Raya, Cal Duran, Javier Flores and Ramón Trujillo. At the heart of this exhibit are their meticulously crafted altars. Their ofrendas address local events of historical significance, chronicling the relationship between faith, family, history and culture, while promoting reflection on how history can guide us through this trying year.

Día de los Muertos Rock Art: Sugar Skulls, Marigolds, and Monarchs will be held on October 29, 7:30 pm. $30 registration fee, $8 optional supply kit. Activity number 494000.23, register on the Museum website or call the front desk (303) 651-8734. Paint colorful rocks while you learn about the history and significance of the calavera (skull), cempasuchil (marigold), and monarca (monarch butterfly) in Day of the Dead celebrations. Place your finished rocks on your family altar to honor your departed loved ones and to welcome them back on November 1st and 2nd.

Virtual Day of the Dead Celebration will be held on Sunday, November 1, 2:30–4pm, free, live-streamed to Facebook, LongmontPublicMedia.org, and Local Comcast Channel 8/880. We won’t be able to gather together for our usual downtown festival due to COVID-19, but you can celebrate Day of the Dead from home with all of the performances you love live-streamed right to your computer, tablet, or phone. Performers include Las Dahlias singing Mexican trio, Grupo Folklorico Mexico Lindo dance, mariachi, poetry by bicultural community leader Laura Soto, and much more!

The Longmont Museum is a center for culture in Northern Colorado where people of all ages explore history, experience art and discover new ideas through dynamic programs, exhibitions and events. Learn more at www.longmontmuseum.org.
Founded in 1986 the mission of the Firehouse Art Center is to inspire cultural awareness and human connection by providing life enhancing experiences through art appreciation, education and self expression. Learn more by visiting www.firehouseart.org or call (303) 651-2787.

For further details on Longmont’s Día de los Muertos visit: LongmontDayoftheDead.com.