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 (which already took place) is 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.
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. 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.
What: Grand Park’s Downtown Día de los Muertos Altars & Noche de Ofrenda
Where: Grand Park (between Grand Avenue and Hill Street)
When:: On view October 22–November 2, 2021, 5:30am–10:00pm (normal park hours of operation); Noche de Ofrenda already took place on October 23, 2021, 7:00–9:00pm