Celebrate Day of the Dead through art at Casa Michoacán

CHICAGO (WLS) -- This Hispanic Heritage Month you can celebrate Day of the Dead through art.

Casa Michoacán in Pilsen is hosting workshops to create traditional artwork for the holiday, giving the community a chance to learn the culture and history behind Dia De Los Muertos.

Catrinas and sugar skulls are two traditional pieces of art on display for Dia De Los Muertos.

"What we're doing is we have different workshops throughout different times, so right now we are doing Catrinas," said Casa Michocan outreach and art corrdinator Rogelio De LaVega. "The best way I can translate is a well-dressed skeleton."

Catrinas have long been a strong visual image depicting how the Mexican people see death and the afterlife.

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"It's a celebration. We're not celebrating death but the life of a loved one and it's just a fun way to commemorate and honor them," said artists Anel Sancen.

During the workshop you will have the chance to create design a Catrina from a pre-made structure while adding in details to make it unique.

"It's just wire and paper so you notice the little wire popping out," said LaVega, "and to make the bodies section it's just posters. A lot of people bring their own wigs or get their own veils.

If you don't want to design a Catrina, you will also have the option of a sugar skull.

"There is no wrong way to do it," Sancen said. "It's all to your imagination and your creativity. Most likely if you're going to be decorating this you're going to be thinking about who you want to dedicate that skull to. You know it's probably going to be your la abuelita - your grandma. So you know you're thinking of those memories of her, so you might want to decorate it something to her liking. So you just think of your loved ones and let it play out on your skull.

Beyond the art and creativity there is also a cultural lesson to learn.

"So it is very important that people have the right information of how its celebrated and why its celebrated," Sancen said. "Join in on the celebration but knowing what its really all about and the meaning."

The workshop is being held on October 19 as a part the the Chicago Culture Alliance's Inherit Chicago.

Dia De Los Muertos is a month long festival of culture and art at heritage institutions across the city.

For more information on the workshops and other events visit Inherit Chicago online.
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