First Community Event in Arlington Cultural District
Capitol Square celebrates its seventh annual Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) Fiesta, on Sunday, Oct. 29, from 4 to 6pm. This is the Square’s first community event in the newly-designated Arlington Cultural District. The Fiesta shares in the rich Mexican tradition of honoring loved ones who have passed away, with Mexican food, live Mariachi music, memory altars (ofrendas) and festive activities for all ages. This event also coincides with the final day of the Arlington International Film Festival at the Capitol Theatre.
Día de los Muertos is a public holiday in Mexico, and is celebrated internationally in many other cultures. 13FOREST Gallery (167A Mass Ave) will feature an installation by artist Allison Maria Rodriguez, the recipient of the gallery’s Massachusetts Cultural Grant for Capitol Square’s celebration. “In the Presence of Absence” will highlight Rodriguez’ Cuban heritage and her experience as a first generation Cuban-American, as well as our collective ecological heritage. Rodriquez will install an altar in the window that will include traditional remembrances for her family in addition to images honoring extinct species.
“We’re thrilled to have the support of the Mass Cultural Council as we recognize this rich cultural tradition as authentically as possible,” says Marc Gurton, owner of 13FOREST Gallery. “As part of the Arlington Cultural District, we look forward to enhancing the cultural experiences Capitol Square brings to our community in the future.”
Guests are encouraged to learn about the memory altar tradition, a special way to honor the dead, by leaving a heartfelt memory at a community altar decorated with photos of the departed, saints, food and flowers. The community memory altar will be on display at Derby Farm Flowers & Gardens (218 Mass Ave), where guests can leave a memory card for a loved one.
Colorful sugar skull (cavalera) face-painting will be in full swing at Artbeat (212A Mass Ave), where visitors can make paper flowers for the community altar while enjoying festive cookies provided by Quebrada Baking Company.
The spirits will dance to Mexican folk music as Mariachi band Mariachi Estrellas de Boston strolls throughout the Square. A Taza Mexican-chocolate tasting will be held at Maxima Gift Center (212 Mass Ave), and participating businesses throughout the Square will offer authentic sugar skull candies, traditional Mexican “dead bread” (pan de muerto), and tastes of Mexico from Arlington’s popular Acitron Cocina Mexicana and La Posada Restaurante.
The Dia de los Muertos installation at 13FOREST Gallery is generously funded by a grant from the Arlington Cultural Council, a local agency supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency. Following the installation of the piece for the Square’s celebration, 13FOREST Gallery will host a reception and talk by Rodriguez about the work on Wednesday, November 8, from 6 to 8pm, entitled “In the Presence of Absence: an Exploration of Ecological and Cultural Loss.”