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Ofrenda Artistry at Grand Park’s Downtown Dia de los Muertos


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The current installation of about 50 ofrendas and Día de los Muertos–themed sculptural installations at downtown’s Grand Park is a heartfelt and homegrown public garden of flowers and art, altars and tributes, and monumental cultural stagings with the flair of the season and the relaxed vibe of a block party.

In collaboration with Self-Help Graphics & Art and Lore Media & Art, Grand Park between Grand Avenue and Spring Street now is home to some 50 altars and art installations created by local artists and community groups that reflect the theme “Looking to the Past to Build the Future.” On view daily now through Sunday, Nov. 4, and absolutely free, the park will offer free guided lunchtime tours, which will highlight the artwork and discuss the traditions of the holiday.

An opening-night festival on Saturday, Oct. 27, not only showcased the art installations but also featured a music stage, food trucks (of course) and a huge, eclectic crowd of partygoers ranging from stroller-pushing families to rowdy hipsters in skinny jeans. A huge contingent of folks dressed both in general Halloween randomness and impeccable traditionalist attire enjoyed the works of artists, organizations and real families building altars side by side — from the intimate to the monumental.

There was no mistaking the profusion of signature orange marigolds, beloved for their spicy scent and luminous color. And there was even an unrelated but adjacent appearance by the Baby Trump balloon outside City Hall, courtesy of the Backbone Campaign, and also bright orange.

Photos by Osceola Refetoff and Shana Nys Dambrot.

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