A Letter from the Friend’s President

 Mia welcomes beloved spirits. 

Maria Eggemeyer, Friends President

Dear Friends, 

I love the Day of the Dead!

In late October, Mexican people in small villages begin their elaborate preparations to beckon the spirits of their departed loved ones to return to them on the Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos). Many Latin Americans observe November 2 as a day to memorialize the dead, but none so colorfully as the people from Mexican villages such as Pátzcuaro and Isla de Janitzio. In fact, several years ago, PBS aired a two-part series—The Wonders of Mexico—with a segment showing the mystical ceremonies in these two villages.

Gravesites are meticulously cleaned and lavishly decorated with cempasuchitl or flower of the dead (known as marigold to us). Their pungently-scented petals and glimmering candles guide the beloved spirits home. In the house, family, friends, and bountiful ofrendas await them. Ofrendas are tables loaded with the favorite foods, drink, and objects from their time on earth. Music, poems, candy skulls, bread in the shape of a cadaver, and small decorative clay skeletal figurines are all part of the celebration. Naturally, the living family and friends are the ones to partake of the feast, as they remember their loved ones. 

This year, artist Monica Vega will create three small ofrendas in the 

General Mills Lobby, remembering Tyrone Guzman and Marcella Trujillo, and former Manager of Visitor Experiences Jesus Aguilár, sorely missed by those at Mia.

The ofrendas will be up at Mia from October 25th through November 3.  Our Dia de los Muertos Family Night celebration will be held on Friday, November 1, complete with Mariachi, dancers, art-making activities and tasty treats. Mia’s Community Outreach staff have been working hard with staff from Centro Tyrone Guzmán (https://www.centromn.org) to make this event festive for all Mia visitors.

Many of you might remember past exhibits of ofrendas at Mia. The first ofrenda project in 2007-2010 at Mia was supported by Friends. The exhibit included ofrendas made by high school students from El Colegio Charter School and their blogs and videos explaining their work. After the first ofrenda project, Mia has partnered with Austin High School, Thomas Edison High School, El Colegio Charter School, and Humboldt Secondary School. Fun on Day of the Dead is becoming a Mia tradition!

 

I encourage you to check out the current photography exhibition of Graciela Iturbide’s work that features Mexican village traditions including some images of Day of the Dead celebrations—they tell a story. 

And be sure to sign up for the Friends Only curator-led tour of the exhibit on October 31 at 11 am, and come afterward to sample bread of the dead in the Friends office.

Enjoy the crisp and glorious fall weather!

Maria Eggemeyer