Held over a weekend in late October, the free, Día de los Muertos festival is a community celebration of Latin American Art, food and culture related to the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead. Check back often as features and activities of the festival are announced!
Los espíritus se entrelazarán durante la celebración anual del Día de los Muertos en el Mesa Arts Center. Este magnífico festival ofrecerá deliciosa comida y un colorido mercado de artesanías, joyería y diversos artículos relacionados con el Día de los Muertos. Los visitantes se han deleitado cada año con maravillosos espectáculos en vivo por parte de destacados artistas. Entrada y estacionamiento gratis.
Spirits collide during the annual Day of the Dead celebration at Mesa Arts Center! This magnificent festival will offer delicious food and a colorful market of crafts, jewelry and various items related to the Day of the Dead celebration. Visitors have been delighted each year with wonderful live performances and engaging family activities. Free entry and parking.
Free Alebrije sculpture installation and workshops by Óscar Becerra Mora and Rubén Miguel Castillo Navarrete, thanks in part to the Mexican Consulate. Space is limited, sign up today!
***Pre-registration for workshops is SOLD OUT! Those interested in participating are encouraged to join the waiting list by coming down to the festival and checking-in at the Alebrije Workshop table. If registrants do not arrive after 15 minutes, spaces will open for those on the waiting list. This workshop will be located in the Mesa Arts Center's Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum.***
Tasty Food & Treats:
Enjoy performances throughout the event!
Alliance Pavilion Stage
Saturday, Oct. 26
10-11am Institute of Folklorico Mexicano
11:30-12:30pm Mariachi Juvenil los Primos
1-3:30pm Las Guitarras Latinas
4-5pm Los Chollas Peligrosas
Sunday, Oct. 27
1-2pm Power Drive
2:30-3:30pm Los Waukis
4-4:45pm Mariachi Pasion*
*Also leading the processional to the community altar, to conclude the event.
South Lawn Stage
Saturday, Oct. 26
10am-2:30pm Gustavo Angeles
3-5pm Noemy and The Tribe
Sunday, Oct. 27
12-2:30pm Gustvao Angeles
3-4:45pm La Luz de Luna
Saturday, Oct. 26
2-5pm Mesa Public Schools Mariachi Showcase
Cartoneros Óscar Becerra y Rubén Castillo “Mica” in residence at Mesa Arts Center
The master artists are constructing a large-scale alebrije and offering hands-on workshops for the Dia de los Muertos Festival
While critically ill, strange visions were revealed in dreams to Mexican artisan Pedro Linares. Due to the disease, Linares dreamed of unrecognizable creatures, each of them composed by different parts of known animals. When he finally regained consciousness and health, Don Pedro sculpted in papier-mâché and painted in bright colors the main characters of his dreams –donkeys with wings, roosters with the body of frog and bull horns – and named them “alebrijes”. The pieces were a big success in Mexico and the world.
Decades later, alebrijes are a very important part of the cultural identity of the Mexican people. These fantastic animals are a symbol of the colorfulness, creativity and the complex worldview of the people of Mexico. The art of cartonería or -mâché is an artistic expression that makes Mexicans proud. Full with color, alebrijes carry a message of friendship from Mexico to the world.
As a part of Mexico's cultural program in Phoenix and within the framework of the Day of the Dead activities, the Consulate General of Mexico in Phoenix and the Mesa Arts Center welcome cartoneros Óscar Becerra and Rubén Castillo “Mica ” to Greater Phoenix. Both artists will hold an artistic residence from October 14 to 27 in the city of Mesa, Arizona, where they will create a monumental alebrije, with the help of a volunteer audience interested in participating. This fantastic creature will have a height of 8-10 feet and will feature elements and symbols both from the native cultures of Mexico and Arizona.
The monumental alebrije will be making its inaugural appearance during the free Día de Muertos Festival at the Mesa Arts Center, which will take place on October 26-27, 2019. Attendees will be able to admire this outstanding work of art. Along with this, they will be able to participate in one of the cartonería workshops in order to make their own piece. These workshops are open to children and adults. Once the Festival is over, the monumental alebrije will be part of the final heritage of the Mesa Arts Center, for the enjoyment of the community that visits its facilities.
As part of the artistic residency, artisans Óscar Becerra and Rubén Castillo “Mica” will offer free workshops during the festival.
The Dia de los Muertos features several opportunities to take part in the celebration.
Elements of the Altar and their Significance
Arches: Passageways between life and death
Candles: Light, Faith and Hope
Flowers: Remind us that life does not endure
Traditionally: Cempasuchil - Marigolds
Mano de Leon - Cockscomb - Lions Paw
Incense: Cleans the space of negativity
Ofrendas: General items for the offerings put on the altar
Water: Life and purity, satisfies the thirst of the spirit
Please be advised: the main parking lots at Mesa Arts Center will be closed to accommodate the Mercado vendors and the food court for the festival, and street parking will be busy. Nearby parking options are available throughout downtown Mesa. Please review the parking map to find parking options. The Light Rail also offers nearby park and ride options. We recommend parking at the park & ride near Main Street and Mesa Drive and riding the Light Rail to the Main and Center Street stop. Find more Light Rail information here. Please note that the Light Rail ride does have an associated fee.
Thank you for your interest in being part of the Dia de los Muertos festival at Mesa Arts Center! The vendor application period is now closed. If you are interested in being notified of the application period next year for entertainment, vendor, altar, and other opportunities, please submit your information. Thank you again for your interest in the event and we hope to see you at Dia de los Muertos!