DENVER (CBS4) – Denver Arts Week is officially underway and organizers have said they expect to host around 300 arts events and events in the city. The week-long celebration began with an evening of performances and open galleries hosted by the 40 West Arts District in Lakewood.
Liz Black, the organization’s executive director, said Denver Arts Week is all about exploring art.
“When people come to our neighborhood, we really want them to celebrate art in all its forms,” said Black. “We want it to be a family experience and that it really excites and encourages people in their artistic exploration and in how they can see, participate and engage in the arts in all its forms.”
Denver Arts Week also coincides with the end of Día de Los Muertos, also known as Day of the Dead in English. Organizers said the celebration was a way not only to talk about Latin culture, but also different art forms, such as Aztec dancers. Scholars say that Día de los Muertos is actually a tradition that dates back to Aztec civilization.
“They open with the four directions. They greet the four directions. They appeal to their ancestors. They are calling for the “palabra,” permission to do prayers, because every dance you go to see is actually a prayer, ”said Renee Fajardo, president of the Chicano Humanities Arts Council.
One of the galleries open Friday night featured vibrant altars assembled for the Pirate Gallery’s Day of the Dead show. Students from schools in the city created the altars, depicting people they knew who have passed away or well-known celebrities who have passed away. Craig Robb, one of the curators on the project, told CBS4 that they have partnered with local schools to create these altars for several years now.
“It’s a celebration of life, especially over the past two years, how depressing it has been and how difficult it has been. Here is an opportunity this year to go out and celebrate it all, you don’t just know the people passing by but just being around each other and having fun with each other, ”said Robb.
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A lot of Denver Arts Week events are free for the community. Events run throughout November 13.