BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, Wash. – Since opening in 2013, Bainbridge Island Museum of Art (BIMA) has hosted an exhibition and community event honoring the Mexican cultural celebration Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) annually each fall. In honor of the tenth anniversary of both the Día de los Muertos program and the museum’s opening, this year’s celebration will also include an exhibition inspired by Día de los Muertos, featuring the work of local artists. The exhibition will include a traditional ofrenda (altar) that is open to the public for offerings/remembrances beginning Saturday, October 28. Supporting programs include a public celebration on October 28, the premiere of a new play by local playwright and artist Araceli Cruz, and a performance by the state’s largest Mariachi band in collaboration with Bainbridge Performing Arts. The exhibition and altar will close on December 31, 2023. Entry to BIMA and access to the Día de los Muertos and ofrenda exhibition are free.

Dia de los Muertos is a colorful Mexican holiday centered aroundf gatherings of family and friends to pray for, remember, and support the spiritual journey of friends and family members who have passed away. Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars called ofrendas, where visitors honor the deceased by leaving sugar skulls, marigolds, favorite foods and beverages, possessions, and photos of the deceased.

In addition to the ofrenda installation, BIMA and its community partners have planned the following special events:

Saturday, October 28 – Community Celebration
9am-10:45am – Butterfly Wing Workshop at KiDiMu

  • Make your own butterfly wings and join us for an opening procession of butterfly-costumed kids leading guests down a flower path into a museum humming with music, art, and activity. FREE.

11am-2pm – Public Opening and Celebration

  • A memorable, beautiful community event that is rich with cultural significance kicks off with a children’s butterfly procession leaving from KiDiMu and leading to BIMA’s front door. Centered around BIMA’s traditional ofrenda, a colorful, multi-paneled shrine created by artist Araceli Cruz, guests are encouraged to add their own mementos and stories honoring loved ones who’ve passed on. Enjoy samples of champurrado (traditional Mexican hot chocolate) and pan de muerto, make-and-take art activities, and strolling musicians sharing traditional Mexican folk songs. FREE. Information at https://www.biartmuseum.org/event/dia-de-los-muertos-community-celebration-2023/

Monday, October 30, 7pm – Mount Vernon Mariachi & Folklorico

  • BIMA and BPA are proud to present a performance by the Mount Vernon School District Mariachi & Folklorico, the largest Mariachi Program in Western Washington with over 100 students. The mission of their Mariachi Program is to preserve Mexican traditions of dance and music for the next generation. Mount Vernon Mariachi & Folklorico bring the vibrant costumes, colorful music, and spectacle of this art form to Bainbridge for a special one-night performance at the new Buxton Center for Bainbridge Performing Arts as part of the annual Día de los Muertos celebration hosted by BIMA. Come celebrate with this renowned group, led by Director Ramon Rivera, who was recently named the 2023 Washington State Music Teacher of the Year. Tickets and information at https://www.biartmuseum.org/event/mount-vernon-mariachi-folklorico/

Friday, November 2 - Saturday, November 4 – Cempasúchil: A Tale of Love and the Sun God

  • BIMA is proud to present this original play by Bainbridge’s own Araceli Cruz, which blends Aztec folklore, Mexican culture, and the symbolism of the marigold flower. Cempasúchil is both an epic creation story—sharing how the world came to be because of the fifth sun god Tonatiuh—and a simple love story between two young Aztecs, Xóchitl and Huitzilin. Tonatiuh watches over the two, but their love is tested by fate, war, and death. Cempasúchil touches your heart, ignites your imagination, and celebrates life while sharing an understanding of how these stories inspire the traditions of Día de los Muertos. Tickets and information at https://www.biartmuseum.org/event/cempasuchil-a-tale-of-love-and-the-sun-god/

Through January 1, 2024 – Exhibition: Día de los Muertos

  • BIMA celebrates its 10th season of Día de los Muertoswith an exhibition including works by the late Alfredo Arreguín (Seattle), Araceli Cruz (Bainbridge Island), Spanky Loco (Poulsbo), Jake Prendez (Seattle), and Angelina Villalobos (Seattle), plus a collection of alebrijes—brightly colored Mexican folk art sculptures of mythical creatures.

BIMA’s 2023 Día de los Muertos celebration is generously sponsored by PRISM Fund for Cultural Programs & Celebrations, Lorenz & Saez Real Estate Team, Kitsap County, City of Bainbridge Island, and the Ames Family Foundation Cultural Diversity Series.

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About the Author

Bainbridge Island Museum of Art inspires curiosity, wonder, and understanding by connecting people with the contemporary art and craft of the Puget Sound region. The art museum exhibits, interprets, preserves, collects, and promotes works of proven cultural value as well as new works by emerging artists and craftspeople.

The art museum is open daily, year-round, from 10am-5pm, and admission is always free. BIMA is located in beautiful downtown Bainbridge Island, at the corner of Hwy 305 and Winslow Way, just steps away from the ferry terminal, and with easy access via public transportation or by car from the Kitsap Peninsula.

BIMA is supported through contributions by members and donors like you, with ongoing support from the National Endowment for the Arts, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, Laird Norton Wealth Management, Stoel Rives LLP, BIMA PRISM Fund for Cultural Programs & Celebrations.

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