Grand Park's Ninth Annual Downtown Día de Los Muertos Commemoration to Feature Free Family-Friendly Community-Focused Altars and Traditional Noche de Ofrenda Ceremony
Twelve-day Public Art Installation Returns with Live Programming to Honor Customs and Traditions Surrounding Important Day of the Dead Commemoration
DATES: October 22–November 2, 2021
LOS ANGELES (September 28, 2021)—Grand Park pays tribute to the cultural tradition of Día de los Muertos—Day of the Dead—with a 12-day public art installation taking place from October 22 through November 2, 2021. The ninth annual Grand Park's Downtown Día de los Muertos honors people, places and ideas that merit reverence and commemoration through free, family-friendly programming. Presented in partnership with Self Help Graphics & Art, Grand Park’s Downtown Día de los Muertos is a community- oriented space inviting park-goers to contribute to the community altar, created by 2018 NEA National Heritage Fellow Ofelia Esparza, and to stroll through the park to view 20 altars made by professional artists and local community organizations, including East Los Angeles Women’s Center, Community Power Collective and Eastside LEADS, among others. The large, artistic altars will be spaced safely to enhance public engagement and maximize social distancing among guests. A major highlight will be the return of the annual Noche de Ofrenda (“Night of the Offerings”) in-person ceremony on Saturday, October 23, 2021, at 7:00 p.m., featuring a performance by Danza Divina de Los Angeles with special guest and legacy danzante General Lazaro Arvizu, as well as free LACMA led calavera (“skull”) art workshops inspired by Aztec art, open to all ages. Noche de Ofrenda is a contemplative ceremony and night of reflection that connects communities to traditions and highlights indigenous practices during a contemporary celebration. Park- goers must wear face coverings when attending the Noche de Ofrenda event.
“The past 18 months have been both a singular and collective loss for everyone. As we emerge from the sorrows of the pandemic, yet remain cautiously mindful of its presence, Grand Park’s Downtown Día de los Muertos once again invites Angelenos to join together to preserve and participate in this special cultural commemoration,” said Josephine Ramirez, executive vice president, TMC Arts. “Whether it’s to experience a familiar remembrance or an adopted tradition, Grand Park’s tribute to Día de los Muertos offers a central gathering place to honor passed lives and the living as we find ways to learn from and appreciate each other’s lived experiences through art.”
Grand Park’s Downtown Día de los Muertos 2021 Activities
“Grand Park’s Downtown Día de los Muertos is very much a community-focused undertaking. By partnering with local organizations and artists, we bring together the diverse voices, perspectives, experiences and neighborhoods from among the many who make up one Los Angeles. This creates a vibrant tapestry of ofrendas that showcase what has been meaningful and in many cases hard for Los Angeles this year,” remarked Julia Diamond, director, Grand Park. “Grand Park's Downtown Día de los Muertos encourages the public to experience these altars and public art installations from another’s point of view with the intention of creating compassion and empathy.”
Grand Park’s Downtown Día de los Muertos Activities:
Grand Park’s Día de los Muertos Altars and Art Installations
October 22–November 2, 2021
5:30 a.m.–10:00 p.m. (normal park hours of operation) Location: Grand Park (between Grand Avenue and Hill Street)
Guests can experience, hear and learn about the traditions of Día de los Muertos and stroll through large- scale altar and art installations located throughout Grand Park, curated by Self Help Graphics, including the annual community altar created by maestra Ofelia Esparza and her family. An artist and educator, Esparza continues to be instrumental in preserving and conserving the Día de los Muertos tradition in Los Angeles, and the community altar in Grand Park creates an opportunity for Angelenos to contribute their own personal ofrendas and mementos to honor a passed loved one. All personally and culturally relevant to Los Angeles, the 20 altar installations create a connection of vital community issues, critical leaders and loved ones that are important to Angelenos. This year's altars will include an homage to the late Chicana activist, author and community organizer, Betita Martínez, as well as altars honoring the LGBTQ community and the loss of community resources during the pandemic.
To deepen appreciation and provide context of the public art installations, Grand Park will offer attendees the option of listening to pre-recorded audio guides with insights from the artists to complement altar viewing. Park-goers can access the storytelling through Grand Park’s digital channels.
Noche de Ofrenda
October 23, 2021
7:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m.
Location: Grand Park Performance Lawn (Near Hill Street)
Suspended last year due to the pandemic, the traditional Noche de Ofrenda ceremony honoring the dead returns to Grand Park as a live event and performance. A co-presentation by Grand Park and Self Help Graphics, the joint event of reflection and remembrance will feature a communal circle and blessing led by the indigenous community and also include poetry and dance.
In a continued partnership with Grand Park, LACMA will host two family-friendly arts-based workshops dedicated to making personalized calavera—one of the most recognizable cultural and artistic elements of the Day of the Dead festivities. Each 20-minute workshop held throughout Noche de Ofrenda will engage kids to create their own calavera using air dry clay, paper plates and other craft items as LACMA teaching artists show park-goers how to sculpt, shape and transform ordinary materials into colorful Día de los Muertos artworks. LACMA will also host a “Tree of Life” in Grand Park encouraging park-goers to write the name of a passed loved one on a colorful ribbon; the name and ribbon will remain placed on the tree in remembrance for the duration of Grand Park's Downtown Día de los Muertos.
Grand Park’s Downtown Día de los Muertos 2021 Activities
For more information about Grand Park’s Downtown Día de los Muertos, visit grandparkla.org. Follow Grand Park on Facebook (GrandParkLosAngeles), as well as Twitter, Instagram and TikTok (@GrandPark_LA). *Artists and events are subject to change.
Grand Park's Downtown Día de los Muertos is generously supported by Macy's.
Situated on the ancestral and sacred land of the Tongva and many other indigenous groups who call these grounds home, The Music Center acknowledges and honors with gratitude the land itself and the First People who have been its steward throughout the generations.
About Grand Park
A vibrant outdoor gathering place, Grand Park is a beautiful public park for the entire community in Los Angeles County. With expansive green space for gatherings large and small, Grand Park celebrates the county’s cultural vitality and is host to community events, cultural experiences, holiday celebrations, and many other activities that engage and attract visitors from all communities. The 12-acre Grand Park stretches from The Music Center on the west to City Hall on the east and is easily accessible by Metro via the B/D (formerly Red/Purple) line to the Civic Center/Grand Park station. The park was named one of American Planning Association’s 10 “Great Public Spaces” in the U.S. for 2013. Working closely with the county, The Music Center is responsible for all operations and programming for the park. For more information, visit grandparkla.org. Follow Grand Park on Instagram, Twitter, Twitch, TikTok, Spotify and Mixcloud (@grandpark_la) as well as YouTube and Facebook(@grandparkLosAngeles).
About The Music Center
The Music Center convenes artists, communities and ideas with the goal of deepening the cultural lives of every resident in Los Angeles County. The $70 million non-profit performing arts organization has two divisions: TMC Arts and TMC Ops. TMC Arts, The Music Center’s programming engine, provides year-round programming inside The Music Center’s four theatres, on Jerry Moss Plaza, outside at Grand Park—a 12- acre adjacent green space—in schools and other locations all over Los Angeles County and on a digital platform called The Music Center Offstage. TMC Arts presents world-class dance with Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center, free and low-cost public concerts and events, as well as live and digital K–12 arts education programs along with workshops, performances, interactive experiences and special events. TMC Ops manages the theatres, the Plaza and Grand Park, which comprise $2 billion in County assets, on behalf of the County of Los Angeles. The Music Center is also home to four renowned resident companies—Center Theatre Group, Los Angeles Master Chorale, LA Opera and LA Phil. For more information, visit musiccenter.org. Follow The Music Center on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @MusicCenterLA.
About Self Help Graphics & Art
Since its incorporation in 1973, Self Help Graphics & Art has produced more than 2,000 serigraph editions, including 62 atelier projects and exhibitions all over the world. The organization remains dedicated to the production, interpretation, and distribution of prints and other art media by Chicana/o and Latinx artists; and its multidisciplinary, intergenerational programs promote artistic excellence and empower community by providing access to working space, tools, training and beyond. Now, nearly a half century later, SHG continues to foster emerging Chicana/o and Latinx artists through its world class printmaking practice and supports the role of artists as leaders, both within its organization and the community. For more information, visit www.selfhelpgraphics.com. Follow SHG on Facebook @selfhelpgraphics
and Instagram and Twitter @SHG1970.