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ElevArte Studio

34th Annual Day of the Dead Celebration: Muertos de la Risa with a Sugar Skull Rush


This year, ElevArte Community Studio’s 34th Annual Day of the Dead celebration: Muertos de la Risa with a Sugar Skull Rush is the first of a three-year community wellness campaign. Current research by the Consortium To Lower Obesity In Chicago Children (CLOCC) states that “children in Pilsen have a much higher obesity prevalence rate than US children of similar ages,” and ElevArte has chosen to use their signature event as a platform to advance and support national efforts on issues of health education. Held on Friday, November 1st @ Dvorak Park in the Pilsen neighborhood: the evening features a community procession, spectacle and ancestral remembrance activities.

ElevArte is using a creative philosophy called “Cultura Cura” (Spanish for culture cures) to educate and activate the community on nutrition, exercise and the relationship between obesity and chronic diseases.  This chican@ philosophy teaches us that within the very essence of each individual, family, community and culture, resources exist that are tied to our ancestral roots which in turn give us the power to heal body, mind and spirit.

“The purpose of our yearly celebration is to honor the dead while we sharpen community knowledge on solutions for current social justice issues. New this year, is our theme on community wellness through a collaboration with The Center for Community Arts Partnerships of Columbia College Chicago we will be working with artist/nutritionist/chef Robert Karimi, The People’s Cook on a community pop-up BBQ, a sculpture garden with stationary calavera sculptures created by Alfonso Piloto Nieves and students at James Hedges Fine and Performing Arts School, a first time youth dance troupe will debut works with teaching artist Susana Bañuelos and expanded opportunities for residents and business owners to work together creating street-level ofrendas along the procession route.” says Giselle Mercier, Executive Director of ElevArte Community Studio.

Also for the first time, the National Guild for Community Arts Education has chosen Muertos de la Risa as one of their featured events for their upcoming conference.  There will be 50 of their delegates taking part in the procession and we hope the community will join in on the fun and welcome them.

Friday, November 1st, event schedule:
3:30PM to 5:30PM – Face painting

5:00PM – Calavera Circus / Aztec Dance Chicago

6:00PM – Community Procession – Starts in the back of Dvorak Park located at 1119 West Cullerton, Chicago, IL 60608 and is FREE to the public.

7:00PM – Nahui Ollin, La Catrina Café and The People’s Cook Refreshments

Since 1979, ElevArte has celebrated Día de Muertos with cultural workshops and a community procession/spectacle, making it the longest running Day of the Dead event in Chicago. The Muertos de la Risa procession provides youth and families an opportunity for reflection, catharsis and healing.  The procession is led by a Maestro de Carcajadas and participants carry giant pole puppets through Pilsen streets to observe street-level ofrendas and fill the neighborhood with joy and laughter—the public is encouraged to bring their muertos inspired attire, and/or their own mobile ofrendas.