Locals observe Dia de los Muertos

By Yesenia Martinez


The 39th annual Dia de los Muertos festivities were celebrated by Self Help Graphics & Art with their workshop for at least 60 volunteers.

The art being decorated and made in the workshops is for their Nov. 2 celebration of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).

One of the workshops was Dia de los Muertos mascara (mask) decorating with Becky Cortez.  There were all kinds of materials for the children to decorate and paint their mascara.

Cortez has been volunteering with SHG for nine years. “Back in the ’70s this was the first and only place celebrating Dia de los Muertos. Now you see parks and more places doing it,” said Cortez.

Another workshop consisted of  a paper mache procession of Calaveras (skulls) and Calacas with Arturo Romo-Santillano. He suggested those participating to do this project only if they plan on showing up every Saturday since they will not fully finish in one day.

They used big beach balls as a base in constructing the skull. Then they slowly formed the face of the skulls with cardboard.

The finished product will be in display on Nov. 2. The paper Mache skulls can be taken home after the celebration is over.

Other workshops were making paper flowers, papel picado (Mexican cut paper) and paper mache masks.

SHG has been able to stay open for the community for 39 years with the help of volunteers. They are also looking for more volunteers.

Joel Garcia, Program Manager, said, “None of this would be possible without the volunteers or artists that do this.”

He said last year they had about 60 to 80 volunteers helping.

For last year’s celebration, he said they were not expecting many people to show up since they had recently moved from their old location. However, they had a better turnout than expected.

Workshops are held every Saturday in October from noon to 3 p.m. All workshops are free of charge. Everyone is welcome to the workshops. Adults must accompany all children.

Self Help Graphics & Art is located at 1300 East 1st Street in Boyle Heights. The Metro Gold Line stops right in front of SHG.  Visitors can park in the Metro parking lot located at Indiana Station and just take the train to SHG.

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