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"Calacas" Visiting the Libraries

"Calacas" Visiting the Libraries
Posted on 09/16/2022
Paper skull with colorful designs

During the celebration of Día de los Muertos, one cannot miss spotting "calacas" or skulls, in various shapes and materials everywhere. They are seen taking part in daily and usually humorous life activities. Calacas are often made of decorated sugar, named for loved ones and placed upon the altar in the ofrenda (“offering” table for the honored deceased including photos, favorite meals, personal items, etc.). These sugar skulls indicate that life is sweet, and it is fleeting. The calacas or calaveras used throughout the celebration are never frightening, but lively, funny and beautiful. Through them one can mock death, recognizing that the end of life in this world does not have to be frightening.

In partnership with Denver Botanic Gardens' annual Día de los Muertos celebration, Aurora Public Library is bringing seven larger-than-life paper-mâché “calacas” hand-painted by several Colorado artists, Alejandra Huerta, Xencs, Artmando, Cal Duran, Cindy Loya, Julio “Jwlc” Mendoza and UC Sepia. Each calaca provides a visual story of the artist’s roots and their own interpretation of the ancestral Día de los Muertos celebration.

The “Calacas Art Exchange Project” is a community art initiative taking place as part of the Aurora Public Library’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebration. The project was created to bring artists, organizers and community members together to promote and share the rich cultural and artistic traditions of Día de los Muertos. The skulls will remain at the libraries until Friday, Oct. 21, before heading to Denver Botanic Gardens.

All branches, except Iliff Square (given space limitations), are hosting a skull. Make sure to visit them all and take selfies. Posting selfies on social using #DBGCommunity and #APLintheCommunity will get participants a chance to win four tickets to Denver Botanic Garden’s Día de los Muertos celebration on Saturday, Nov. 5. Entries must be posted by 11 a.m. Oct. 21, and winners will be announced Oct. 25. And if you send selfies with at least five of the seven skulls to [email protected], you’ll get a prize from the library, either a commemorative beer glass or a beer growler.

Be sure to visit all participating Aurora Public Library branches and let us know which one is your favorite.

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