Topics: College of Sciences and Humanities, College of Fine Arts

October 15, 2007

Painting sugar skulls and creating paper punching arts are just two of the events included in Ball State University Museum of Art's upcoming Days of the Dead Family Day.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will be from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Oct. 28 at the museum.

"In the past, the museum has offered its Halloween Bash," said Tania Said, the museum's curator of education. "To build on the success of past family programs, develop new museumgoers and spotlight the culture of Mexico, we are offering a window into the Days of the Dead celebration in Mexico. The Days of the Dead, or Los Dias de los Muertos, is a Mexican festival usually celebrated on Nov. 1-2. It is a happy time when families come together to honor and celebrate their loved ones, whose spirits have returned to visit."

The custom was first observed by the Aztecs around early August, but Spanish priests moved the celebration to the first two days of November to counteract a pagan festival and restore the importance of remembering the dead and promoting the continuation of life, Said noted.

Visitors will have a chance to meet the Chavez weavers from Oxaca, Mexico, who will speak about their traditional weaving and how they celebrate Los Dias de los Muertos. In addition, visitors will learn about how the weavers recently made an altar for the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago, where it is on display.

Visitors also can:

  • Paint sugar skulls because the "dead" love sugar
  • learn and create paper punching (papel picados)
  • see death-related art and some of the 130 Mexican works of art in the museum's collection
  • learn about altars to honor the dead (ofrendas) and see an altar created by the Ball State University Latino Student Union
  • taste Mexican candies and "bread of the dead" (pan de muertos).

The Days of the Dead Family Day is organized by the museum in partnership with Ball State Spanish professors, the Spanish Club and the Latino Student Union. The event is sponsored by the Friends of the Ball State University Museum of Art and the Muncie Art Students League.