By Jason Gutierrez
In the quiet solace of candlelight and family ties, you too, will undoubtedly be drawn to the emotional pull that is the core of Altares de Familia. Traditionally celebrated in Mexico and Latin American countries, Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is neither a celebration of death nor the mourning of the deceased. Rather, it is recognition of life and of the imprint the deceased has left on the lives of their loved ones.
The Bakersfield Museum of Art’s annual Altares de Familia community-wide celebration takes place each year on Dia de los Muertos. Together, with collection of community partners, the museum brings an exclusive cultural, artistic and educational experience to the residents of Kern County.
It will be open to the public from 5 to 9 p.m., Nov. 2 in the museum’s gardens. Dozens of local families have gathered each year at the museum’s sculpture garden to pay homage to friends and family members who have passed. Last year’s event attracted more than 2,500 spectators and participants combines. Admission is $1.
Adjacent to the museum, Central Park at Mill Creek will be host to cultural dancing, live music, face painting and artistic activities for the family. Food vendors will also be on site.
Eva Patino and daughter Felisa have been strong supporters of the event through participation and planning. Eva, a retired Spanish teacher, and Felisa, a high school Spanish teacher, said Altares de Familia is important for our community.
“It is very important to remember the lives of our loved ones that have passed,” Eva said. “In remembering how their lives affected us, what their mark was in this life, what they liked to do — we bring them to life in our memory. We keep their memories alive because true death comes when we are forgotten.”
The Bakersfield Museum of Art will be open for visitors, who can enjoy the “Paul Strand: Mexican Portfolio” exhibit. Strand is one of the towering figures of American 20th century photography.
One of his most culturally significant works is the Mexican Portfolio, consisting of 20 images depicting the landscapes, people, architecture and religious objects he encountered in Mexico in the early 1930s.
For more information on Altares de Familia and the museum, go to bmoa.org/altares-de-familia.