Handheld video cameras have been acquired for this project with the support of Wells Fargo so the participating students can record their thoughts and perspectives as they create their ofrendas. Their videos are edited and presented here. During this three-week process, students focus on weekly topics.
Phase 1: Honor Ancestors
Students explore how artists around the world have expressed reverence for ancestors in artwork and the importance of Day of the Dead in Mexican culture. They explore ideas and concepts for their ofrendas and choose a subject. The subject can be personal, such as a tribute to a relative or friend, or it can address traditional themes.
Phase 2: Turn Ideas into Image
The students visit the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and tour international artworks from the permanent collection that illustrate reverence for ancestors and attitudes about death. They learn how artists have successfully translated ideas into images as they continue to conceptualize their personal ofrendas.
Phase 3: Create a Personal Ofrenda
In this phase, students start to decorate their ofrendas, using materials they have collected during the first two weeks. Some students may make personal drawings, while others may create small, ceramic sculptures, or use personal items such as photos or other mementos.
Phase 4: Write an Artist’s Statement
With their ofrendas near completion, students write narratives about their ofrendas, which are used as the label texts for the exhibition, printed in both Spanish and English.
Phase 5: Exhibit Ofrendas
Each partner school sends a selection of ofrendas to the museum for exhibition in Gallery 110. Student artists and their families attend an opening reception in their honor at the museum. Schools are encouraged to exhibit a selection of ofrendas in their school gallery, district office, media center, or other venue.