NACOGDOCHES, Texas – The Stephen F. Austin State University School of Art and The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House will host several events as part of the Día de Los Muertos Fiesta from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 6, in downtown Nacogdoches.
Día de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a two-day holiday that honors family members and loved ones who have died. The tradition originated in Mexico and is celebrated throughout Latin America. The Día de Los Muertos Fiesta has been an annual event in Nacogdoches for almost a decade.
Arely Morales, visiting assistant professor in painting and drawing in the SFA School of Art, will lead a workshop for invited student groups at the Cole Art Center on the day of the event. Morales will teach students to make papel picado flags and cempasúchil flowers as decorations for an ofrenda, or altar, for the festival. Members of the community are invited to view the ofrenda at the Cole and to contribute by adding decorations to honor their own loved ones.
Morales, who grew up in Jalisco, Mexico, said that the holiday is one of her favorites. “I have dear memories of walking through town and seeing everyone preparing for the Día de Los Muertos,” she said. “Our schools didn't even have classes; instead, we built altars together and participated in the town festivities. Other than the beauty of its colorful altars, I deeply love this holiday because it brings together our families and communities to celebrate, honor and remember our loved ones who have passed away.”
SFA students in 3-D Design, led by Professor Lauren Selden, will also contribute to the celebration by creating an inflatable sculpture, which will be on view outside the Cole.
Juan Carlos Ureña and Jeana Paul-Ureña, who are professors in the department of languages, cultures and communication at SFA, as well as accomplished musicians and songwriters, will provide outdoor music. The Ureñas write, compose and perform songs fused with Caribbean and South American rhythms, folk, jazz and pop.
An exhibit of works on paper titled “The Impermanence of Objects – Works on Paper 2014-2021” by artist Greg Edmondson will also be on view at the Cole during the festival. Edmondson’s work will remain on display through January.
The Cole Art Center, SFA’s historic art gallery, is located at 329 E. Main St. For additional information, contact the School of Art at (936) 468-4804 or the art center at (936) 468-5500.