GVCA to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

Day of the Dead, or “de Los Muertos,” is a Mexican festival that combines All Soul’s and All Saint’s Day with the indigenous custom of honoring deceased loved ones. Beautiful altars (ofrendas) in homes feature candles, wild marigolds, fruit, stacks of tortillas, tamales, chocolate, and big loaves of pan de muerto, bread of the dead.

GENESEO – The Genesee Valley Council on the Arts will present a “How to Make an Ofrenda” event at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, 23 Main St., on Sept. 25. The event is the first of several programs to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.

Ages 11 and older are invited to attend the Ofrenda event from 1 to 3 p.m. Sept. 25 at the church. Admission is free; parking can be accessed from Main St., behind the church.

An ofrenda, or offering, is an important part of the annual Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, tradition that many Mexican and Latino/a people celebrate. These vibrant and colorful installations are created to remember loved ones who have died, from personal home altars to large displays by community groups, schools or businesses.

The Day of the Dead Celebration is a time of joyful remembrance of loved ones, filled with an array of colors, scents, sounds and stories.

Community members Ana Sanchez, Blanca Rodriguez and Juana Avendaño will lead participants through the steps to build an ofrenda and the meanings behind its elements, such as photos, mementos, candles, flowers, fruits, special foods, and crafted decorations. Attendees will learn how to make papel picado, or cut paper banners and flowers, and have the opportunity to sample foods such as tamales de mole and pan de muerto, or bread of the dead.

Two arts council programs are organizing this event: GLOW Traditions, which presents regional traditional arts and folklife, and Creative Arts Migrant Program Services (CAMPS), which brings arts instruction to migrant workers and families.

GVCA will continue Hispanic Heritage events with an upcoming exhibit, “Connecting By Design: Farmworkers and Artists Share Talents and Traditions,” scheduled for Oct. 7 to Nov. 6, and a Family Mexican Arts Workshop on Oct. 16. For schedules, workshop registration and updates, go to www.gvartscouncil.org or visit Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/gvcarts.

The programs are supported by funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, the Rochester Area Community Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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