News Release: Eiteljorg Día de Muertos Community Celebration returns Oct. 30; admission is free
Experience music, cultural presentations and community altar exhibit at Day of the Dead festival
INDIANAPOLIS — The annual Día de Muertos Community Celebration returns to the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art on Saturday, Oct. 30, bringing cultural performances, music, art and dance to the popular holiday festival also known as Day of the Dead. The Eiteljorg will be open extended hours that day, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and admission is free. Visitors are strongly encouraged to reserve tickets in advance at Eiteljorg.org/diademuertos.
Onstage music and dance performers and presenters at this year’s celebration include Ana Cisneros and Esteban Martinez, Global Prep Academy students, Grupo Folclórico Macehuani, Metropolitan Youth Orchestra and Ballet Folklorico Mosaicos. Día de Muertos performances will be livestreamed Oct. 30; visit Eiteljorg.org/diademuertos or Eiteljorg.org/dayofthedead for livestreaming and a complete schedule and online resources.
At the museum celebration Oct. 30, visitors can learn about Spanish Colonial tinwork with artist-in-residence Richard Gabriel Jr. and create handmade art with visiting artists. Several vendors will be on hand in the mercado (marketplace) offering original artwork, sweets, pan de muerto (Day of the Dead bread) and cultural items.
With roots going back thousands of years to Indigenous traditions in Mexico, Día de Muertos is a holiday where people gather and remember friends and relatives who have passed on. Day of the Dead has evolved into a diverse festival, celebrated not only in Mexico but in the U.S. and many other nations. Often Día de Muertos is celebrated with parades of Catrinas with elaborate skull face paint and costumes, and through decorating the graves of loved ones with marigold flowers.
Also at the Eiteljorg is the Community Art and Ofrenda Exhibit, open now and free to visit in the museum’s Lilly Theater daily through Nov. 2. Curated by Arte Mexicano en Indiana, this year’s exhibit features the work of artist Eduardo Robeldo, a Mexico City-based printmaker who creates mythic images utilizing the stories of past and present Mexico in his finely wrought linocuts. The elaborate decorated ofrendas (altars) in the exhibit are designed by local organizations to honor and remember deceased loved ones. Visitors can add a personal note to the community ofrenda, or submit a photo of a loved one for inclusion in the digital slideshow by sending the photo to email@example.com.
“The Día de Muertos celebration is one of the most beloved annual family events at the Eiteljorg, something we look forward to all year that brings the community together. While we offered it virtually in 2020 out of public health considerations, we are pleased to again present this year’s celebration as an in-person event, with livestreaming options for those who prefer to join us online,” Eiteljorg President and CEO John Vanausdall said.
For the safety of all guests and visitors, the building capacity will be limited, so advance ticket registration at Eiteljorg.org/diademuertos is recommended. This is a rain or shine event; performances will take place on the outdoor stage throughout the day, and other activities will be spread indoors and out. In accordance with current and evolving COVID pandemic and health guidance, visitors are required to wear masks while in the museum.
The Día de Muertos Community Celebration is sponsored by Arte Mexicano en Indiana, Citizens Energy Group, Nopal Cultural, Consulado de México en Indianápolis, the Margot L. Eccles Arts & Culture Fund, a Central Indiana Community Foundation Fund, the Arts Council of the City of Indianapolis, the Indiana Arts Commission, and GangGang.
Día de Muertos kicks off a busy fall and winter season where the Eiteljorg will welcome families back to the museum. Also coming soon:
- The 12th annual Fifth Third Bank Jingle Rails: The Great Western Adventure, opens Nov. 20 and continues through Jan. 17, 2022, in the museum’s Clowes Sculpture Court. Model electric trains ramble through whimsical backdrops made of all-natural materials, depicting the skyline of Indianapolis and the landmarks of the American West. New this year: The iconic sights of San Francisco have been recreated in miniature. Jingle Rails will be included with regular museum admission.
- The grand reopening of the museum’s Nina Mason Pulliam Education Center, featuring the R.B. Annis Western Family Experience, also is Nov. 20. Located on the museum’s canal level, the family discovery area has been fully renovated and is an immersive place where children and their grownups can learn about five diverse families of the American West through a variety of interactives. The museum’s popular Totem Pole and Concord Stagecoach are the focal points of the experience, which is included with regular museum admission. Nearby through the Cagle Family Gateway to Learning are educational and library resources and new nursing and quiet room spaces. The renovation is part of the Eiteljorg’s Project 2021 capital/endowment campaign.
- The new contemporary Native art exhibition Shifting Boundaries: The Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship 2021, opens Nov. 13 and continues through Feb. 6, 2022. Featuring innovative paintings, prints, sculpture, installations and mixed media, it’s included with regular admission.
The museum hosts regular public programs, in person and online; visit Eiteljorg.org/events for details.
About the Eiteljorg
A cultural pillar for 32 years in downtown Indianapolis’ scenic White River State Park, the Eiteljorg Museum seeks to inspire an appreciation and understanding of the arts, histories and cultures of the Native peoples of North America and of the American West by telling amazing stories. Located on the Central Canal at 500 West Washington St., the Eiteljorg is a 501c3 nonprofit organization. It was named one of the USA Today Readers’ Choice 10 Best Indiana Attractions.
File images above are from past celebrations of Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) Community Celebration at the Eiteljorg Museum. This year’s free event is Oct. 30 at the Eiteljorg.
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