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Maude Kerns Art Center Presents
21st Annual Día de los Muertos
Day of the Dead

Exhibit Dates:
October 17 – November 7, 2014

Opening Reception Fiesta:
Friday, October 17, 6 – 9 pm

The Maude Kerns Art Center celebrated the 21st annual Día de los Muertos Exhibit with mariachi music, traditional dancing, and refreshments at the Opening Reception Fiesta on Friday, October 17, from 6 – 9 pm. The 2014 exhibit featured the work of 33 artists from four states as well as Mexico and showcases mixed media, assemblage, acrylics and oils on canvas, photography, porcelain, needle-felted tapestry, papier mâché, and prints inspired by this Mexican holiday.

Just as important as the Day of the Dead artworks are the seven commemorative altars created by individuals and community groups, including Juventud Faceta of the Amigos Multicultural Services Center. The Día de los Muertos Exhibit was on view through November 7.

The Opening Reception Fiesta took place on Friday, October 17, from 6 – 9 pm. The Fiesta featured music by Springfield High School’s Mariachi del Sol and a performance of traditional dances by Ballet Folklórico Alma de México, directed by Monica Olvera. The dancers, who ranged in age from three to seventeen years old, performed regional dances from the states of Jalisco, Sinaloa, Nuevo León, Veracruz, Chiapas, Oaxaca, and Michoacán.

This year's jurors were Mitzi Linn, an international artist who frequently exhibits in Mexico and who was one of the original exhibitors in the Art Center’s first Día de los Muertos Exhibit in 1994; Jessica Zapata Mendoza, an artist and founder of Eugene Arte Latino; and Tina Schrager, artist and co-owner of the Schrager & Clarke Gallery and former exhibits coordinator at Maude Kerns Art Center.

Among those selected by the jury for the 2014 exhibit is Mexican artist Francisco Coronel Ortiz. Well known in his native country, Ortiz creates original designs in papier mâché only. Because his work is often plagiarized, he is always improvising. Ortiz left the world of business many years ago to pursue art and works hard to preserve the culture of his country.

Bend artist Angela Zacharek has participated in the Art Center’s Día de los Muertos Exhibit for five years. Angela works in paint, ink, pencil, and polymer clay. In 2014 she exhibits three pieces: a Day of the Dead wedding cake called Felicidades! and made of papier mâché boxes and polymer clay, and two paintings on paper, one depicting the tombstone of Domingo Montoya, pop culture hero of the film, The Princess Bride, and another titled Once a Year, a whimsical view of frolicking skeletons in a graveyard decorated for Día de los Muertos.

A special feature of the Art Center’s annual exhibit is the Day of the Dead Gift Shop, which is stocked with authentic Catrina figures, Day of the Dead dogs, nichos (decorative religious altars), milagros (charms), an array of skulls, and more, all collected from Mexican artists by Suzanne Algara of Buganvilla Imports in Eugene. Suzanne, who was born in Mexico, returns to her native country two to three times per year and works with artists from many different Central Mexican states. Over the years, she has developed a relationship with skilled artists who work in clay, papier mâché, and metal. Suzanne believes that the Day of the Dead has become a popular holiday worldwide “because people are realizing that it is not a morbid holiday, but a beautiful one and a great excuse to happily remember loved ones who have passed.”