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Festival of Altars Celebration

Small Day of the Dead skulls standing on a cactus
Festival of Altars Celebration

Co-created with Marigold Project, the Festival of Altars invites you to celebrate life and reflect on the role of ancestors. Join us to learn about the art and science behind Day of the Dead through hands-on activities, be inspired by the natural elements, and experience the powerful ofrendas created by local artists.

 
Papel de Flores
11 a.m.–2 p.m.
Osher Gallery 1: Human Phenomenon
With Irma Ortiz

Marigolds are often placed on altars during Day of the Dead celebrations. Through their bright color and strong smell, the flowers guide the ancestors to visit. Join artist Irma Ortiz to make your own paper marigold. 

Irma Ortiz has been making flores de papel and sugar skulls at the Exploratorium since 2008. She believes art is a very important part of her culture and loves sharing traditional art that she learned from her grandmother. 

Sugar Skulls
11 a.m.–2 p.m.
Osher Gallery 1: Human Phenomenon
With Irma Ortiz

Celebrate Day of the Dead by creating a sugar skull with artist Irma Ortiz. Sugar skulls represent departed souls; they adorn altars and can offer a sweet treat for visiting spirits. Irma will provide a sugar skull mold for you to decorate.

Irma Ortiz has been making flores de papel and sugar skulls at the Exploratorium since 2008. She believes art is a very important part of her culture and loves sharing traditional art that she learned from her grandmother. 
 

Live Mural Painting
11 a.m.–2 p.m.
Gallery 2: Tinkering
With Adrian Arias

Experience the creation of a mural right in front of you! Artist Adrian Arias has painted colorful murals all around the city. He joins us today to create a mural in real time, using his dreams as inspiration. Watch Adrian work, observe his process, and ask him questions about his creative approach.
 
Adrian Arias is a visual artist, poet, performer, curator, activist, and cultural promoter, who brings together other multidisciplinary artists to engage in community projects with messages of social justice, racial equality, climate change, peace, beauty, health, and hope in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Elementally Inspired Activities
11am–2pm
Osher Gallery 1: Human Phenomenon
With the Explainers

Join the Explainers to partake in a selection of make-and-take activities that are inspired by the natural elements. Reflect on the role of earth, water, air, and fire in our world, and create a rainstick to contribute an offering during our Festival of the Altars ceremony at 2 p.m.
 

Meet the Altaristas
1–2 p.m.
Gallery 2: Tinkering

Step into our Festival of the Altars exhibition space to meet some of the artists who made the beautiful ofrendas on view. Learn about their inspirations and techniques as they walk you through their pieces. 

Festival of the Altars Ceremony
2 p.m.
Gallery 2: Tinkering

Join Marigold Project executive director Rosa De Anda and a group of artists and musicians as they celebrate the Festival of Altars with a ritual ceremony. Calling to the cardinal directions that inspire each altar, the festival will root you in your connection with the natural world and call attention to relationships between the living and the ancestors.