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Des Moines Art Center to host 19th annual Day of the Dead


On Sunday, Nov. 3, noon – 4 p.m., the Des Moines Art Center will host the 19th annual Day of the Dead / Día de los Muertos celebration. The event will take place at 4700 Grand Ave. and is free and open to the public. Parking at the Art Center is free, and a complimentary free shuttle and parking will be available at Merrill Middle School, 5301 Grand Ave., Des Moines.

Day of the Dead is a Latinx celebration that honors the lives of deceased members of the community with a festive day of music, dancing, food and drink, art activities, and remembrances for the entire family. This year’s celebration will honor Richard “Chico” Perez, community leader, United Mexican American Community Center co-founder, and restaurant owner; and Connie Quijano, translator and advocate of the Latinx immigrant community. According to Ila Plasencia, longtime volunteer for the event, “Día de los Muertos has been a great way to remember those who made a contribution to our Latino Community and that their work has not been forgotten. After 19 years, our community still looks forward to this wonderful celebration that the Des Moines Art Center sponsors.”

The festival will feature all of the beloved Day of the Dead traditions – mariachi music, art activities, traditional refreshments, Day of the Dead merchandise, and a film chronicling the lives of the honorees. This year a poetry reading of original works will be performed by student members of Movement 515, an entity of RunDSM in Des Moines Public Schools.

Celebration Activities

Noon – 3:30 p.m.: Art activities in the studios

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Noon – 4 p.m.: Mariachi music by Mariachi Los Aguilares | traditional Day of the Dead bread | Mexican hot chocolate by Zanzibar’s Coffee Adventure | food available for purchase by Tamale’s Industry in Art Center café | cash bar | Day of the Dead merchandise available for purchase in the Shop at the Art Center

12:30 and 2:30 p.m.: Museum tours (Spanish and English)

12:45 p.m.: Mariachi procession from lobby to Levitt Auditorium 1 p.m. Poetry reading by Movement 515 Des Moines Public School students, Levitt Auditorium 1:15 p.m. Honoree film by Vince Valdez in Levitt Auditorium 3 p.m. Rescreening of honoree film by Vince Valdez in Levitt Auditorium

On Exhibit Day of the Dead Altar Nov. 3-10, lobby Monument Valley Through Jan. 12, Anna K. Meredith Gallery and Pamela Bass-Bookey and Harry Bookey Gallery Of Our Time: Contemporary Art Through Jan. 5, Blank One Gallery by Indigenous Artists from the Permanent Collections.

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