Día de los Muertos festivities invite hungry public to Beach Museum

A woman uses art supplies to decorate a cartoneria figurine at the Beach Museum of Art's Day of the Dead celebration on Nov. 2, 2017. (Photo by Regan Tokos | Collegian Media Group)

The Beach Museum of Art hosted a public event Thursday to celebrate the Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. The celebration featured art, music, food and traditions from Mexico and various other Hispanic cultures.

“Traditionally, Nov. 2 is the last day of the celebration and it would be the day that everybody would eat all the food that had been left on the altar, so we’re kind of following tradition,” said Katherine Schlageck, associate curator of education for the Beach Museum.

Along with snacking on a layout of salsa, pico de gallo and chili verde, attendees partook in sugar skull mask making, jewelry crafting and contributing to the altar in honor of the dead.

“I really love Halloween, and I’ve also always been into the Day of the Dead, so I came to see the celebration,” said Jerusha Matthews, research assistant at the K-State Veterinary Diagnostic Lab.

Although the Day of the Dead is commonly affiliated with Halloween, Schlageck said the celebration was originally a combination of Catholic traditions brought by the Conquistadors mixed with the culture of the indigenous peoples in Mexico.

“I think if you look at other cultures like Celtic culture or Samhain, where our Halloween traditions [come] from, it’s the same idea where it’s the night that the spirits walk the earth,” Schlageck said. “The difference was [in Celtic culture] it was considered scary, whereas with Day of the Dead it’s more of a celebration of your ancestry and loved ones.”

Andrew Hammond, junior in mass communications, also attended the event.

“I had never been to the Beach Museum before, so I figured I’d come culture myself,” Hammond said.

The Beach Museum is currently displaying the exhibit “Fronteras/Frontiers,” featuring the work of Artemio Rodríguez and Fidencio Fifield-Perez, two nationally recognized Hispanic artists. The exhibit features Día de los Muertos-themed prints from Rodríquez’s Grafico Móvil, or his “museum on wheels” that was featured at K-State from Oct. 3–6.

“We’re always looking to bring in new audiences and diverse audiences, and we felt like this show was a good chance to reach out,” Linda Duke, director of the Beach Museum, said.

“Fronteras/Frontiers” will be on display at the Beach Museum until April 1 of next year.