Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead)


Three artists from the Local Colors Artists’ Cooperative, Donna Amero, Kathy Bucholska and Lois Hertzler, are coordinating a unique event celebrating through art Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead. This special exhibit which involves the work of at least 12 other members is on exhibit from October 19 through November 8. There will be a fiesta reception on November 2 from 6 to 8 PM with lively music and light refreshments “to celebrate the artists, family and friends who have gone before us and who have been our inspiration,” says member, Lois Hertzler.

The exhibit will highlight Day of the Dead art by 15 members as well as a festive ofrenda or altar where the public can leave a note of remembrance. “It is a holiday that is often misunderstood by New Englanders as it occurs around the same time as Halloween,” says Kathy Bucholska. “Unlike Halloween with its scary characters, this holiday celebrates the return of departed loved ones two days a year with food, photographs, flowers and drink.”

Celebrated originally in Mexico, this holiday welcomes back departed family members on the1st and 2nd of November through music, brightly decorated sugar skills and orange marigolds. It’s not a sad occasion but a happy one. Death is viewed as the continuation of life where the culture depicts a vibrant afterlife. The Day of the Dead art often depicts brightly festooned skeletons doing everyday activities as imagined in the afterlife.

“Since our Cooperative’s anniversary falls at approximately the same time of year as the Day of the Dead event, we are using this event as an opportunity to also celebrate our 24th anniversary and remember our humble beginning as well as those many artists who have passed through our doors” notes Donna Amero.

Since Day of the Dead art often involves satire and humor about the human condition, the window displays have a satiric theme. “An unsuspecting Miranda, adorned in a colorful tie-dyed shawl by member Christine Garrigan, fastened with a tin flower pin by member Sally Seamans and handmade tissue flowers in her hair by member Donna Amero, patiently waits for her dinner and wine seated at a wine barrel bistro table by member Darren Taylor. It’s a dinner that will never come as Luis, the chef, smartly attired in an apron made by member Ian Commissiong, overindulges on “cooking” wine and is, well, passed out with his spoon, empty wine bottle and pot," offers Kathy Bucholska. “We tried to incorporate the artists’ work into our skeletons and at the same time offer something a passerby can smile at.”

Before coming to Local Colors, Christine Garrigan worked with the Latino community in California where she was inspired by the community’s preparation for the holiday through the creation of art and remembrances. She learned the art of cutting a papel picado banner which is an intricate design created out of colorful tissue paper also on display with her tie-dyed mandala fabric creations.

Lois Hertzler offers several photographs showing skeletons doing everyday activities such as listening to an iPod while reading a book and Dave Katz, another photographer depicts a jubilant skeleton Red Sox fan. Jim Sousa, inspired by the famous artist Andy Warhol, offers a photograph of brightly colored skull heads in the Warhol tradition.

There are colorful paintings by members Bonnie Gray and Pat Doherty in the spirit of the theme as well as a skeletal like fish print by Joe Higgins. Donna Amero offers a unique stained glass skeleton fish and Tin Can Sally created an impressive mirror and frame of flowers, skulls and bones made from recycled tin. Kathy Bucholska designed mixed media pieces with unusual skeletons and skulls as well as jewelry using skull heads in various stones and metals. Virginia Townsend designed a sushi plate with a fish skeleton as the highlight.

Not to be missed are the diverse pieces of festive skeleton jewelry by Kate Webster and sterling silver fish skeletons on sea glass by Ann Schlecht. Ann went a step further by creating tributes to both her departed Mom and Dad who were a source of inspiration for her current work. Also offered are humorous Day of the Dead greeting cards.

The artists invite the public to enjoy the display, write a remembrance for the altar and celebrate the free event on November 2nd from 6 to 8 pm with light refreshments and festive music at 121 Main Street, Gloucester, MA, 978-283-3996