Last weekend, the West Street Center for New Art, took the occasion of “Day of the Dead” as cause for a family-friendly celebration and cultural learning opportunity. Although it is celebrated the days after Halloween, the Mexican national holiday has nothing to do with candy or monsters; instead, it honors the spirits of those who have passed.
The art center’s Tuesday night drawing club pooled their artistic energies to transform the gallery into a colorful space with traditional Mexican appetizers, Day of the Dead-inspired art, and alters honoring important people in the lives of the artists.
The most impressive part of this event, was how creatively the club included children in the event. In addition to the generous spread of Mexican food, there was the fascinating sugar skull-painting table. Miniature white skulls made of sugar and glue were a canvas for decorating with brightly colored “icing” paint. After decorating her first skull, my daughter became the canvas as Cindie Vanderbur painted a rainbow on her face. She decorated another skull and finally, took part in the piñata bashing to close the evening. I was impressed by how unique and engaging this event was; children and adults participated equally, and it dawned on me what a wonderful gift the community the West Street Center for New Art is. My husband and I took our daughter to simply admire the paintings, but ended up making an evening out it.
The colorful skulls, paintings, and altars are on display until Nov. 15, so even if you missed the celebration you can still take in some of the sights.