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Sofia Quintero Art & Cultural Center presents Día de los Muertos Fundraiser Oct. 27

By Joe Balderas, Executive Director of the Sofia Quintero Art & Cultural Center


The Sofia Quintero Art & Cultural Center will present its Annual Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Celebration Fundraiser from 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. on Saturday October 27, 2007.  Admittance is $30.00 per person, where food and drink will be provided. 


This year’s musical entertainment will be Colombian singer-songwriter, Marta Gómez who uses her country’s native sounds and blends them into a unique jazz flavor.  Original Día de los Muertos altars and artworks by local artists will be on display for all to enjoy plus an opportunity to purchase hand crafted items and artworks from México.  The proceeds from the fundraiser are to help the Sofia Quintero Center continue its youth and community programs. 


To start the Día de los Muertos celebration, the Center, in collaboration with Saints Peter & Paul Parish, will host its annual community remembrance morning walk on Oct. 27, beginning at 9:00 a.m.  Community residents and any who wish to participate should meet in the community garden bordering the Center at 8:45 a.m.  You are asked to please bring crosses, photos, or other items of family or personal importance of those you wish to remember.  Participants will walk from the community garden to Saints Peter & Paul Parish (approx. ¼ mile) where Father Richard Notter will hold a special prayer service in honor of loved ones. 


What is Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)? 

It is a celebration with roots dating back 3,000 years where the Aztecs and other indigenous people of México that believed death was not to be feared but only another journey in the cycle of life.  Before the Spanish conquest of México, the Aztecs celebrated Día de los Muertos in what today would be in early August. 


When the conquistadors came and Catholicism was introduced, the Spaniards and the Catholic Church tried and failed to erase this “pagan” Aztec ritual.  The Catholic Church in its wisdom to make this ritual more Christian, moved Día de los Muertos to coincide with All Saints Day and All Soul’s Day, November 1st and 2nd.  Since that time to the present, Día de los Muertos is celebrated throughout Mexico and certain parts of the United States where strong Latino communities continue this tradition. 


In many parts of México, the gravesites of the local cemeteries are decorated with marigolds, the traditional Día de los Muertos flower, photos, mementos, candles, favorite food, and drink.  If the deceased loved one was a child, toys may decorate the gravesite.  Families also exchange happy stories among themselves in remembrance of their deceased loved ones.


The Sofia Quintero Art & Cultural Center along with the Toledo Museum of Art, Bowling Green State University, and the University of Toledo collaborated to present artistic altars for the public to see and enjoy.


Every year the Sofia Quintero Center sponsors an altar competition of three cash award prizes (1st $100.00, 2nd $75.00, 3rd $50.00) for the most creative and original altars.  The altar competition entry fee is $30.00 for an altar space of 8 X 8 square feet.  Each year the altars become more elaborate, artistic, colorful and meaningful. 


The public, schools and organizations are invited to visit the Center from October 29th through November 9th to view the Día de los Muertos altars. For more information about entering the altar competition contact the Center at 419-241-1655; space is limited.  The altar competition is open to individuals, artists, families, organizations, and institutions.






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