I skipped last year (I guess I must have been temporarily dead) but I try to always go to the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago, which has an annual Day of the Dead exhibit (check out 2013 photos here and 2012 photos here). It is the only Latino museum accredited by the American Association of Museums and also has the country’s largest Mexican art collection. So it’s fitting the museum also has one of the biggest displays of Día de los Muertos. There are numerous altars and related art by local and international artists. And that’s not it. There is also a sugar skull demonstration along with foot pedal loom weaving and wood carving, while at nightfall the museum and surrounding area is turned into an elaborate work of art, featuring visual displays that tells the story of the Day of the Dead. There are 75 ofrendas, created by community members, local artists and organizations, while people can enjoy pan de muerto and hot chocolate, musical performances, and face painting. And it’s all FREE!!!
In case you didn’t already know, Día de los Muertos is a day to celebrate the lives of deceased loved ones. It is believed that on this day, the souls of the dead travel back to earth. Leaving an altar with an offering for the souls ensures that they will find their way home. This year’s “Day of the Dead” exhibition, which is dedicated to the 43 students from the Ayotzinapa, Guerrero Teachers College who have been missing since September 2014, includes 13 ofrendas and 116 art pieces created by more than 90 artists of Mexican descent from both sides of the border. Some of the altars honor iconic Tejano artist Selena on the 20th anniversary of her death, acclaimed Hollywood actor Anthony Quinn on his 100th birthday, Mexican wrestler and pop icon El Santo, and “Godfather of House Music” Chicago DJ Frankie Knuckles, who died last year.