Día de los Muertos exhibit returns to PV Gallery

Priscilla Martinez shows her acrylic, pen, colored pencil and air brush painting titled "Remembering the Legends in Music," which will be part of "Mi Casa es tu Casa," at the PV Gallery opening Oct. 24. (Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian)

WATSONVILLE — Pajaro Valley Arts will host its annual exhibit, “Mi Casa Es Tu Casa,” opening at the gallery on Oct. 24.

Inspired by Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), a traditional Mexican holiday held Oct. 31-Nov. 2 celebrating family and friends who have passed away, “Mi Casa Es Tu Casa” features altars and installations created by local schools, community groups and families.

“It’s one of the most colorful, varied, exuberant show of the entire year,” said gallery committee member Teresa Zolar. “Saying this exhibit is mixed media really is an understatement.”


ABOVE: Carol Leinenbach, a ceramics and art teacher at Watsonville High, arranges an altar of student-made art pieces. (Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian)

“Mi Casa Es Tu Casa” has been held annually for more than 20 years. This year’s exhibition, entitled “Living Stories/Historias Vivientes,” was curated by artist Mary Tartaro and focuses on remembering lost loved ones through the telling of their stories.

“Everybody interprets and celebrates the holiday in their own way,” said Tracy LeCroy, gallery committee member and previous curator who has been helping Tartaro with this year’s exhibit. “I think this exhibit really shows that.”

Twenty-eight altars and installations will be on display this year by 11 different schools and 17 community groups and families, as well as groups of individual artists. Everything from photography to ceramics, found objects and more were used to create the pieces.

A major aspect of “Mi Casa Es Tu Casa” are the school tours which flow through the gallery’s doors every year. Between 25 and 40 tours will be held during the exhibition’s run, with many of the students will be coming to see their own art displayed.

“It gives the kids a chance to participate in the local art scene,” LeCroy said. “They make something and then come and see it hanging in the gallery. It’s a special moment.”


ABOVE: Jennifer Scott, an art teacher at E.A. Hall Middle School, hangs student art work in a piece titled, "Butterflies Forever." (Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian)

Workshops are also planned, including one to create your own “La Catrina,” the iconic figure in Mexican culture associated with Día de Los Muertos. Another allows participants to personalize altar pieces from found and reclaimed materials — something Tartaro is well-known for.

“This is an event that brings the entire community together,” LeCroy said. “I hope people go home and remember to honor their loved ones and continue on their traditions.”

“Mi Casa Es Tu Casa: Living Stories/Historias Vivientes” will run at Pajaro Valley Arts, 37 Sudden St., Watsonville until Dec. 9. An opening reception will be held on Sunday, Oct. 28 from 2-4 p.m, with traditional dancing and live music.

For information visit pvarts.org or call 722-3062.

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