Día de los Muertos Art: Beauty from Beyond

Make for Downey, Boyle Heights, Grand Park, and Forest Lawn-Glendale to celebrate the soul-filled season.

David Moore

The traditions behind Day of the Dead are so plentiful that naming one that speaks to you can truly take a bit of rumination. The music? The candlelight? The dancing? The altars? The quiet come-togetherness? The joyful moments of sound and story? The calacas costumes, make-up, and headdresses? 

And what of the art? Finding a festive expression of the soulful season is a sweet pursuit as October winds down, and Southern California offers a number of places to eye altars, see skeleton sculptures, admire photographs, and be present as the veil lifts between worlds.

The last weekend of October, as well as the first week and weekend of November, will offer a number of ofrenda-themed, snapshot-focused events, if you are feeling the moment and the urge to honor those who've gone before you. Consider a visit to...

Boyle Heights, where Self Help Graphics & Art will continue its long-running tradition of helping people connect the spirit of the occasion through a host of creative expressions. A Community Art Workshop on Saturday, Oct. 28 will be one popular event, as will the 44th Annual Día de los Muertos Main Celebration on Saturday, Nov. 4 at the Mendez Learning Center. What will you make at the workshop? What will you wear, eat, sing at the celebration? Start your adventure here.

Downey, the spot to see artist George Newnam's Casa Calveras Experience. It's a SoCal-based must-see, an exhibit filled with life-sized skeletons, a celebration of a love story between two merry, full-of-life calacas. You might have spied it at the Bowers Museum or other local spots in years gone by, but to find it in 2017, make for the Downey City Library during the Downey Día de los Muertos Art Festival on Sunday, Oct. 29.

Forest Lawn, in Glendale, Covina Hills, and Cypress. The Glendale event, Celebrating the Colors of Life, is on Saturday, Oct. 28 and will include altars. The Covina Hills and Cypress celebrations are traditional Day of the Dead events, and they'll both flower on Sunday, Oct. 29. Note the Noche de Ánimas exhibit at Glendale, which will be on view through Dec. 3 in the Hall of The Crucifixion-Resurrection, Tuesdays through Sundays.

Grand Park, where altars will be on view for nine days following Noche de Ofrenda on Saturday, Oct. 28. Marigolds, mums, photographs, and a host of inspired artifacts will fill over 50 "altars and commissioned works of art." The exhibit wraps on Sunday, Nov. 5.

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