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For four days, from Oct. 27 through Oct. 30, the outdoor spaces at Scottsdale Civic Center will host colorful, large-scale installations for the Scottsdale Dia de Los Muertos celebration. These installations are free and open to the public.

Scottsdale Dia de Los Muertos brings together world-class artists and the local community to create a vibrant, visually entertaining, larger-than-life, cross-cultural experience with city-wide activations of art, altars, and performances. The installations feature Dia de Los Muertos- and Mesoamerican-inspired large-scale installations, sculptures, murals, and fine art panels, created by top-tier artists from the Valley of the Sun and throughout the Southwest, as well as artists from Los Angeles, Mexico City, and Oaxaca de Juarez, Mexico.

Among the installations at Scottsdale Civic Center, primarily around the West Bowl and Civic Lawn areas north of Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, will be a Oaxaca Community Altar with two-dimensional and three-dimensional art. Dia de Los Muertos centers upon remembering friends and family members who have passed away, allowing the dead to live on through the memories of the living. Traditions include gravesite decoration with gifts, flowers, and possessions and construction of sculptures, paintings, and private or public altars honoring the deceased with marigolds, sugar skulls, notes, photos, and favorite foods of the departed.

The Civic Center installation will also include multiple Grand Skulls. These Mesoamerican-inspired sculptured skulls pay homage to the dearly departed. The most familiar symbol of Dia de Los Muertos are calacas and calaveras (skeletons and skulls), which appear everywhere during the holiday. Pre-Columbian civilizations excelled in stone sculptures and created striking carvings of their gods. The skull symbolized death and rebirth. Each sculptured skull will showcase the work of a featured artist’s interpretation and tribute to this ancient observance.

Also on display will be a Quetzalcóatl Altar Temple. Quetzalcóatl is the name of an important Mesoamerican deity whose origins can be traced back to the city of Teotihuacán. Quetzalcóatl, god of air and wisdom, appears most often as the “plumed serpent” and was linked to dawn and the morning star Venus, symbolizing death and resurrection. As the god of learning, writing, and books, Quetzalcóatl was the patron of all Aztec priests and considered the originator of activities on earth, creating the land calendar divisions. The feathered serpent temple was dedicated to the concept of time and was decorated with plumed serpents carved in stone with their heads emerging out of the petals of a flower. This temple altar is dedicated to Mesoamerican traditions that formed the origins of the celebratory traditions observed throughout Oaxaca and Southern Mexico.

Other associated events include the 7th Annual Scottsdale Dia de Los Muertos Artares y Ofrendas, an 11-day, interactive walk-through event at the Old Adobe Mission, and Fiesta de Muertos y Danza, a single evening performance of theatrical folk ballet at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. Both of these events are ticketed.

Scottsdale Dia de Los Muertos events are produced in partnership with LORE Media & Arts, the city of Scottsdale, the Mexican Consulate General in Phoenix, and Old Adobe Mission.


Scottsdale Civic Center
3939 N. Drinkwater Blvd.
Scottsdale, AZ 85251

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Saturday, Oct. 28, 8 p.m.

LORE Media & Arts – Grandeza Mexicana Folk Ballet Company presents an unforgettable performance of dance, music, art, and ritual that will take audiences on a voyage of emotions, movement, and sound that celebrate the rich traditions of Dia de Los Muertos and splendor of Mexican folk dance.

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