The annual Day of the Dead celebration will have students dressing up, celebrating and learning about the Mexican holiday that brings life to the dead.
Many University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point student organizations are involved in the event, including the Latino Student Alliance, Spanish Club, Student Art League and the Carlsten Art Gallery Student Advisory Committee.
“We are looking forward to encouraging people to increase their knowledge and enjoyment of other cultures. We want people to know about traditions and customs from Latin America. We are very happy that the community and the university participate in this project to share part of our legacy,” said Christel Venero, president of the Latino Student Alliance and senior natural resources management major.
Traditionally, families create altars filled with gifts in memory of the dead during the celebration. The gifts represent the person the altar is in remembrance of. While usually food-related, gifts can also be photos, candles or other tokens.
Each student organization is creating an altar for the reception in memory of a specific person. The alliance and committee are co-creating an altar in memoriam of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, said President Tyler Moberg.
“It’s really an awesome way to spread the news of this holiday and what it is about and to really increase the diversity of people who come into the NFAC. It’s not your average celebration or gallery event,” Moberg said.
The committee is also helping coordinate artwork that will be on display during the exhibition. The gallery exhibit will feature skulls based on Day of the Dead sugar skull decorations created by students in professor Diane Bywater’s first-year course. Stevens Point Area Senior High art students will have work on display as well.
“I am really excited to see the students and how they are participating in it. This is my first time getting to experience the Day of the Dead celebration here on campus. I think it will be a really great event,” said Leslie Walfish, director of the Carlsten Art Gallery.
An event reception will be held at 6 p.m. on Oct. 29 to feature a mariachi band, traditional Mexican food from El Ranchito and other activities including Day of the Dead-themed face painting.
Previewing the reception will be a screening of the film, “La Vida y los Muertos” (Life and the Dead) at 5 p.m. The silent film is by Carolyn Kallenborn, associate professor at UW-Madison, and gives viewers a look inside the annual Day of the Dead festival in Oaxaca.
The exhibit will be on display Oct. 29 to Nov. 1 in the Carlsten Gallery located inside the Noel Fine Arts Center. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m.