East Los Angeles College celebrates Dia de los Muertos

SKELETON PARTY—Handmade artwork made by Maria De La Paz was displayed at the Third Annual Dia de los Muertos Festival on Nov. 3 in the East Los Angeles College Performing and Fine Arts Courtyard. CN/JULIANNE OBREGON


By Sergio Berrueta

The third Annual Dia de los Muertos event brings Mexican culture to a new generation of Latinos.

The event was held in the Perfoming and Fine Arts courtyard.

Started by the Chicana/o Studies Department, the festival gives those in the community and students the opportunity to celebrate the festivities.

The event was also funded through the Associated Student Union (ASU).

Local artists were on hand to sell their work inspired by Chicano lifestyle that surrounds their lives.

Artist Jake Prendez shared his take on what drives his art. “I was inspired by the Chicano movement and added some pop culture. There is also tattoos and the whole rockabilly pachuco style of the past,” Prendez said.

Other artists on hand sold calaveras, figures of the dead and handcrafted art.

Artist Chelly Jimenez of Semillas Arte arts and crafts, located in Norwalk, took a different approach with her handmade crafts and art.

“Our main influence is  our culture. My mom is from Mexico and my dad is from America,” Jimenez said. “We want to bring awareness of the culture to the forefront and celebrate it.”

Bands such as East Los Angeles local Quinto Sol presented their trademark latin inspired sounds with chill reggae vibes.

Other bands such as Domingo Siete and Viento Callejero came out to fill the afternoon air with delightful sound.

The clubs were also in attendance selling a wide array of food.

Frame By Frame Animation club illustrated their creativity with Oreo Balls in a calavera-inspired shape and the Administration of Justice club bringing comfort food to those in attendance by making street inspired tacos and aguas frescas.

Dia de los Muertos in Mexico celebrates those who have died by remembering their time on earth.

The celebration of the holiday usually runs from Halloween to Nov. 2. Since it fell on a weekend this year, the event for ELAC was held on Nov. 3.

Over the years, the holiday has grown in popularity.

The constant growth brings new light to the popular holiday with praise.

“It’s great to see the new kids growing up to get into it all. They could remember the event and be like ‘I used to do that when I was younger’ and carry on the tradition,” Prendez said.

Others are worried about it all. “I wish it was bigger back(when I was) in high school and college, yet it (was starting) to be quite popular. I’m hoping it doesn’t’ become too commercialized,” Jimenez said. “You start seeing it in the mainstream arts and crafts (sold), so I just hope it doesn’t get to that point.”

The 11th Annual Student Altar Exhibit at the Vincent Price Art Museum was unfortunately not open during the event.

The altar and ofrendas, offering to the dead, exhibit hosted more than 150 people on opening day.

People showed up one large group after another with students and children showing up early, filling the exhibit gallery time and time again.

This year each altar created for the exhibit had specific themes.

The exhibit opened on Saturday and will run until Nov. 20 and is free for everyone to visit.

HARMONY—Chicano Studies students pay homage to late Mexican musicians and singers at the Student Altars 2014 exhibit set up until Nov. 20 at the Vincent Price Art Museum.CN/JADE INGLADA

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