Pacific Northwest College of Art Hosts Dia de Muertos

Press || Oct 23, 2017


October 23, 2017

Contact: Lisa Radon,


Pacific Northwest College of Art Hosts Dia de Muertos

Portland, OR—October 23, 2017—Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA), in collaboration with Latino Art Now and Don’t Shoot PDX, is honored to host a series of events, October 24-November 2, 2017 surrounding the traditional celebration of Dia de Muertos. PNCA’s MFA in Print Media and Students of Color Coalition have worked with Maria Garcia, President of Don’t Shoot PDX and owner of Revolución Coffee House and Hector Hernandez, artist and professor at Portland State University to develop a series of programs that delve into the historical origins of this traditional day for the celebration of one’s ancestors. Both Garcia and Hernandez are from Mexico City and wanted to bring a traditional celebration to the Portland community. The Portland Art Museum has provided crucial support for this series.

“Maria and Hector have been wanting to make a community celebration for Dia de Muertos in Portland, and they reached out to Meghann Gilligan, Print Media Program Coordinator, and I here at PNCA as we had done another Community Print event with Marylhurst and Portland Art Museum in Spring of this year,” said Matthew Letzelter, Chair of the MFA in Print Media program. “We are happy to throw our doors open for conversation and celebration around this traditional event.”

Day of Dead is a traditional Mexican celebration recognized by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. For the first time held at PNCA where local artists, students, and community members will celebrate and learn history and meaning of this cultural Mexican celebration that is becoming more popular in the Northwest.

"Celebration of life and death is deep in the Mexican hearts, but now it should be a conscious state of mind in every individual due to our current political climate," Maria Garcia states. "How are we living our life? Are we giving the best of us every day? Are we living the live we are supposed to? Through art, we would like to transmit  our respect to cultural traditions and express how this 'life-death' topic is interpreted by younger generations in the college of art."

Events include collaborative printmaking, a wheatpaste workshop, lectures, a demonstration of prehistoric instruments, and a Dia de Muertos celebration on First Thursday, November 2, 2017 with art, food, traditional music, and Aztec dancers. The full schedule of events follows.


October 24, 12-2pm
Collaborative Printmaking Event
PNCA Atrium

October 26, 6:30pm
Origins of Dia de Muertos
Guest Speaker - Willan Cervantes
2nd Floor, Design Corridor

October 27, 12-2pm
Workshop on Wheatpaste Techniques
Guest Artist & Alumna Kanani Miyamoto
2nd Floor, Watershed Studio

November 1, 6:30pm
Conversation with the Past
Guest Speaker - Vojislav Radovanovic
2nd Floor, Design Corridor

November 2, 5:30-8:30pm
Dia de Muertos Celebration & Opening Reception
with Mexican coffee, traditional foods, and music

5:30pm Presentation & Demonstration of Prehispanic instruments
Guest Speaker - Eduardo Cruz
2nd Floor, Design Corridor

6pm “Day of the dead, Day of the life”
Guest Speaker - Hector H Hernandez MA, MFA
2nd Floor, Design Corridor

6:30pm Aztec Dancers
PNCA Historic Corridor

About Pacific Northwest College of Art

Pacific Northwest College of Art empowers artists and designers to reimagine what art and design can do in the world. Founded in 1909 as the Museum Art School in Portland, Oregon, PNCA offers ten art and design Bachelor of Fine Art programs, six graduate programs including Master of Arts and Master of Fine Arts programs within the Hallie Ford School of Graduate Studies, a Post-Baccalaureate program, and Continuing Education courses for artists and designers of all ages.