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Art&Seek Jr: 11 Lively Events To Honor The Dead

by Therese Powell 6 Oct 2015 4:26 PM

Art&Seek Jr. is one mom‘s quest to find activities to end the seemingly endless chorus of the “I’m Bored Blues” while having fun herself.  Impossible you say? Check back on Tuesdays for kid-friendly events that are fun for adults, too.

Sure, I know. It’s only the first week of October and right about now you’re saying to yourself, “summer is barely over. There’s still plenty of time to do the fall festivals.” Let me just warn you my friends– just like December, October is one of those magic-hat months that’s here one minute and POOF, it’s gone the next. You’ll be whistling along thinking you have loads of time to get down to the Piggly Wiggly to buy Halloween candy, then next thing you know you’ll look up and find Christmas carolers on your doorstep.

Part of the reason October flies by is because there’s so much stuff to do. Besides the ubiquitous fall festivals, there are also pumpkin patches, school carnivals, football (high school, college and professional) and of course, the biggie, Halloween. Fall calendars have to be paid close attention to, otherwise you’ll miss something really good, like all the cool Day of the Dead activities going on around town. Dia de los Muertos, is typically celebrated a few days after Halloween, but the fabulous Art&Seek calendar shows DOTD events starting this weekend and running through the beginning of November. Here are a few you’re going to want to get on your calendar now.

Come see The Life of the Dead in Mexican Folk Art exhibition at the Artes de la Rosa Cultural Center Gallery

Come see The Life of the Dead in Mexican Folk Art exhibition at the Artes de la Rosa Cultural Center Gallery

There’s no better way to familiarize your kids (and yourself) with the holiday than with an art exhibition and it just so happens the gallery at Artes de la Rosa Cultural Center in Fort Worth is hosting  El Día de los Muertos: The Life of the Dead in Mexican Folk Art. At this exhibit, from the permanent collection of The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, you and the kids can feast your eyes on life-size papier-mâché figures fashioned after Diego Rivera’s symbolic mural “A Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Park.” The show opens this Saturday and runs through Nov. 7.

Speaking of life-sized figures, you won’t want to miss Artes de la Rosa’s annual Dia de los Muertos celebration on Oct. 31. This family-friendly event features a drum and puppet procession from Marine Park to the Rose Marine Theater Plaza followed by music, dancing, face painting and pan de muerto.

Create some pretty offerings for the dead at the Oak Cliff Cultural Center. Photo OCCC

Create some pretty offerings for the dead at the Oak Cliff Cultural Center. Photo OCCC

Celebrate the dead this Saturday afternoon at the Dia de los Muertos art workshops offered by local artists at the Bath House Cultural Center. Your little monsters can try their hand at making papier mâché Day of the Dead skulls, or paper and mixed media marigold flowers. There will also be face-painting artist on there to help you create the perfect look for Dia de los Muertos. After you’re done creating, take a stroll through the Dia de los Muertos exhibition currently on display at the Bathhouse.

The Oak Cliff Cultural Center is also holding a series of workshops to honor the dearly departed. The Workshop de los Muertos series is for all ages and explores crafts associated with Dia De Los Muertos altars. This Saturday participants will learn how to make a Paper Mache Sugar Skulls using paper, glue, beads, and other items. On October 17, woodblock printing on colorful paper is the scheduled activity, and on October 24, kids can learn all about the traditions of creating marigolds and monarch butterflies. The creations can be taken home or given to the center for display at their community altar.

Watch the coffins race at Denton's Day of the Dead Festival. Photo: Ed Steele Photography

Watch the coffins race at Denton’s Day of the Dead Festival. Photo: Ed Steele Photography

The city of Denton is hosting it’s annual Day of the Dead Festival Oct. 24. The quirky, community get-together is described by the organizers as “little harvest fest, a little Dia de los Muertos, a little Halloween, and a lot of Denton magic.” There will be games and food vendors plus a variety of entertainment on hand including music, dancing, a salsa tasting competition and coffin races which are sure to please monsters of all ages. After the coffin races, mosey on over to Dan’s Silver Leaf for Cirque du Horror. This Halloween show is a collection of bone-chilling poems, spine-tingling short stories and spooky songs. It’s a  little song, a little dance, part musical theater, part cabaret and fun for all ages.

See giant puppets on parade at Denison's Dia de los Muertos Celebration. Photo: Mel Climer

See giant puppets on parade at Denison’s Dia de los Muertos Celebration. Photo: Mel Climer

Mark your calendars on Nov. 2 for Los Muertos Bishop Arts, another big party honoring the dead. Sure, I know, it’s a school night, but it won’t hurt to stay out late one more night. This street festival happens in the heart of Oak Cliff’s Bishop Arts District and is a mash up of the traditional and the modern. There will be live music, food, folk dancing, and readings of calaveras (poems honoring the dead). Don’t forget to put on your best sugar-skull make-up.

Send the spooky season out with a bang at Denison’s Dia de los Muertos: A Celebration of Art on Saturday, Nov. 7. The event, hosted by the Denison Arts Council, features gallery exhibits, live art demonstrations, folk dancing, music and a mercado.  But I think my absolute favorite on the list is the giant puppet parade. This year the DAC will be handing out cash prizes to the creators of the best puppets. Be sure to come out and root for your favorite.