28th Annual Día de los Muertos

October 19 – November 7, 2015

Lawndale Art Center presents the 28th Annual Día de los Muertos series of programs. Join us as we celebrate the art, music and folklife of Mexico through an exhibition of artist-made retablos, student installations, workshops and performances. Día de los Muertos programs educate audiences and encourage dialogue about the rich Mexican-American heritage in our region, as well as promote cultural awareness of this celebration of family, life and community.

Retablo Pick Up Reminder

Thanks for supporting Lawndale and purchasing retablos at our annual gala and silent auction. Retablo pick up will take place in the gallery:

Monday, November 9, 2015
10 AM - 5 PM
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
10 AM - 5 PM

Starting Wednesday, November 11, please come to the 3rd floor office during office hours (10 AM - 5 PM, Monday-Friday) to retrieve your work.

Retablo and Student Exhibitions

October 19 – November 7, 2015

In 1988, Lawndale Art Center presented its first annual Día de los Muertos exhibition of retablos: small artworks inspired by the traditional Latin American devotional art form of the same name. Lawndale invites artists and the public to create contemporary interpretations of retablos on 8” x 10” pieces of sheet metal. The donated retablos are on view throughout Lawndale’s Día de los Muertos programs and are auctioned at the Gala and Retablo Silent Auction. Proceeds from this popular fundraising event support Lawndale’s free programming throughout the year.

Artists donating to this year's exhibition include:

Joe R. Aker, Ed Alba, Ixkamitik Alonso, Glinda Anderson, Daniela Antelo, Sandra Aristizábal, Josena Arquieta, Marisa Avelar, Lula Azorey, Roy B., Virginia Bally, Andre Bally, Jonathan Barksdale, Maureen, Sarah and Richard Beck, Edgar Benz, N. Blanca, Soraya Bodorff, Cathy Brisky, John Broadnax, Cindy Broadway, Bradly Brown, Christi Bruecher, Susan Budge, Mary Burns, Felicia Cagle, Ivan Camarena, Marissa Cardenas, Sara Carr, D. Grant Carr, Madeline Carr, Brianna Carroll Loftin, Armando Castelan, P. Cerling, Eepsita Chaudhuri, Carla Cheshire, Adam Clay, Michael Colyer, Jeff Copeland, Christie Cortez Ramirez, Claire Cusack, Misty Delph, Mike DeRosa, Beth Dewey, Jason Dibley, Eric Dieckman, Luisa Duarte, Ray Dunlap, Alicia Duplan, Trey Duvall, Amber Eagle, Jane Eifler, Tatiana Escallon, Vanessa Estrada, Phillip Evans, Amy C. Evans, Mortimer Ex, Loli Fernandez-Andra de Kolber, Kevin Flores, Sean Flournoy, Richard E. Fluhr, John Forse, Diane Fraser, Marry Anne Fried, Charles Fried, Kelsey Friedemann, R. Christine Gallardo, Alex Galvan, Lynn Ganschinietz, Daniella Garcia, Nancy Garza, Julie Anne Gawel, Dixie Friend Gay, Pete Gershon and Lella Wolk, Scott Gilbert, Erica Gilbert, James Glassman, David I. Gonzalez, Barry Gremillion, Maryann Gremillion, John Grissaffi, Hector Guerra, Maria Claudia Guzman, Kelly Hannagan-Valore, Rachel Harmeyer, Bret Harmeyer, Jan Arthur Harrell, Paula J. Haymond, Sarah Hazel, Heather Heath, Rudy Hernandez Jr., Joe R. Holton, Kim Hopson and Robin Cannon, Kim Howard, Thien Hu, Chuck Ivy, Sandra A. Jacobs, John Jenkins, Nyssa Juneau, Allison Kellogg, Kathy Kennedy, Bradley Kerl, Khanh Ho Khanh, John Frederick Kidd, Jean King, Stephanie King, Iva Kinnaird, Anastasia Kirages, Jessica Kreutter, Krystal Laguna, Lauren A. Langford, MD, Larry Larrinaga, Melinda Laszczynski, Joan Laughlin, Jonathan Leach, Elizabeth Leal, Akira Lear, Marilyn Lewis, Denise Liebl, John Linden, Carmen Lopez, J. Kotchavar Macy, Michelle Macy, Leslie Magdaleno, Patrick Mahoney, Jason Makepeace, Nina Craig Makepeace, Nick Vaughan and Jake Margolin, Elias "Lee" Martinez, Miguel Martinez, Marilyn Mathison, Ken Mazzu, David McCalin, Pat McEnery, Daniel McFarlane, Karina Mendoza, Tami Merrick, Paul Middendorf, Bryan Miller, Laurie Mills, Tudor Mitroi, John Moffitt, Jill Moffitt, Cindy Montgomery, Lorena Morales, Joy Mullett, Steve and Sara Neel, Sarah Nelson Crawford, Sean Nichols, Jessica Ninci, Richard Nix, Carlos Ocando, David Olivares, Mari Omori, Basilios Ooulos, Emily Peacock, Eric Pearce, A. Pebdani, Kristy Peet, Nicole Peralta, Donna E. Perkins, Sergio Pernas, Samantha Persons, Jessica Phillips, Leslie Plaza Johnson, Chasity Porter, Carlos Pozo, Brian K. Prample, Georgia Redonet, Kelyne Reis, Michael Remson, Rosalva Reyes-Hada, Janet Reynolds, Diane Benavides Rios, Trish Robbins, Caroline Roberts, Anne H. Roberts, Claudia Rodriguez, Andrew Rolston, Nicole Romano, Carolyn Rose, Debra Rueb, Charlie Jean Sartwelle, Kay Sarver, A. M. Schaer, James Scott, Sandi Seltzer Bryant, Brian Neal Sensabaugh, Gerardo Serrano, Leslie Shershow, Christine Marini Sigman, Ken Simmons, Karen Anne Smith, Trudi Smith, Carole F. Smith, Graciela Socorro, Anthony Sonnenberg, Becky Soria, Annie Souza, Folade Speaks, Loni Sproles, Alma Stafford, Brady Steward, Karen Stopnicki, Teresa Ann Sturrock, Dan Szymanowski, Millette Tapiador, Rebekah Tee, Nicole Temple, Marjorie Ng Thai, Cindee Travis Klement, Wing Tse, Randy Twaddle, M. Valenzuela, Jacqueline Valore, Rachelle Vasquez, Myke Venable, Cecilia Villanueva, Donna and Tina Villarreal, Camille Warmington, Brandy Watkins, Mary Wemple, Whole Wide Water, Regina K. Williams, Martin Wnuk, Scott Woodard, Emily Xiong and Jo Zider.

Lawndale encourages teachers to educate their students about important aspects of Mexican culture and their related art practices and offers schools the opportunity to display their work in our Cavnar and Horton galleries.  In past years, students have submitted projects such as sugar skulls, papel picado, papier-mâché skeletons, retablos, altars and other large-scale installations. 

Work by 23 Houston area schools will be on view in the Horton and Cavnar Galleries, including Alvin High School, Bay Area Montessori House, Cypress Lakes High School, Hamilton Middle School, Harmony School of Discovery, Houston Heights High School, Jackson Middle School, JD Parks Elementary, Johnston Middle School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Katy High School, Luther Burbank Middle School, Magnolia High School, Manvel High School, Patrick Henry Middle School, Reagan High School, Ridgecrest Elementary, Sharpstown International School, St. Stephens Episcopal School, Whidby Elementary Magnet, YES Prep Brays Oaks, YES Prep East End, YES Prep Fifth Ward and YES Prep North Central.

Click here to download the Día de los Muertos catalog.

Lawndale’s galleries are open Monday - Friday, 10 AM - 5 PM, and Saturdays 12 - 5 PM during exhibitions. Admission to the exhibition is free.

Community Ofrenda

October 19 – November 7, 2015

Starting October 19, guests are encouraged to bring a personal item of remembrance to add to our community altar honoring departed loved ones.


Papel Picado Workshop

Tuesday, October 20, 2015
6 PM

Houston art educator and Lawndale supporter, Jean King, will lead a papel picado workshop as part of this year’s Día de los Muertos celebration.  The workshop is free and open to the public.  Visitors will not only learn about the traditional art of Mexican paper cutting from one of the best, but will also get to create and take home their own unique perforated paper creation. 

Gala and Retablo Silent Auction

Friday, October 23, 2015
Artist, Member and Sponsor Preview 6 – 7 PM
Gala and Silent Auction 7 – 9 PM
Silent Auction closes at 8:45 PM

Event Chairs
Calia & Peter Pettigrew

Admission: $65 per person
$40 for Lawndale Members
Tickets availbale at the door.

One of Lawndale's most popular parties and biggest fundraisers, this silent auction of small artworks, created and donated by over 250 Texas artists, feature contemporary interpretations of retablos, a traditional, devotional art in Mexico. Guests will also enjoy exhibitions in the Cavnar and Horton galleries featuring works made by Houston students, many in the folk art traditions still practiced in Mexico today. DJ set by Night Drive, with complimentary beverages and delicious bites from El Jimador Tequila,  Saint Arnold Brewing Company and Tacos A Go-Go.

Preview the exhibition Monday, October 19 - Thursday, October 22 during normal gallery hours. The galleries will be closed Friday, October 23, in preparation for the Gala & Retablo Silent Auction.

Musical and Literary Ofrenda

Tuesday, October 27, 2015
5:30 – 7:30 PM
Performances begin at 6 PM
Admission: Free

Join us for an evening of celebration and remembrance. During Día de los Muertos, families create ofrendas to remember and honor the memory of their ancestors. River Oaks Chamber Orchestra and Musiqa composers will present short original contemporary, classic compositions as musical ofrendas. Inprint will also present original readings written in the tradition of making an offering during the Día de los Muertos celebrations. Following the performances, practice your Spanish with a tour of the exhibition with Houston Hispanic Forum. This event is a partnership between ROCO, Inprint, Musiqa, Houston Hispanic Forum and Lawndale.

ROCO is a professional chamber orchestra of 40 select musicians, distinguished guest conductors and dynamic composers who come together from all over the world to present engaging performances of classical and original compositions. Founded in 2005 by oboist Alecia Lawyer, ROCO has been called the most fun you can have with serious music.

Led by four composers, Musiqa's mission is to enrich and inspire the community through programs that integrate contemporary music with other modern art-forms. With its innovative collaborations and educational programming, Musiqa strives to make modern repertoire accessible and vital to audiences of all ages and musical backgrounds.

By fostering the art of creative writing, the mission of Inprint is to inspire readers and writers in Houston.A nonprofit organization founded in 1983, Inprint fulfills this mission through the nationally renowned Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series, the Cool Brains! Reading Series for Young People, through literary and educational activities in the community that demonstrate the value and impact of creative writing, and through support for the UH Creative Writing Program. Today Inprint programs and events provide something for everyone and play a vital role in Houston's rich and diverse cultural life.

Adult Sugar Skull Class

Tuesday, November 3, 2015
6 PM
$25 per person
Advance registration is required as space is limited.
This workshop is currently SOLD OUT. Please call Lawndale at 713-528-5858 if you would like to be added to the waitlist.

In conjunction with our 28th Annual Día de los Muertos celebration, Lawndale Art Center is offering an Adult Sugar Skull Class led by artist Amber Eagle. Participants will learn how sugar skulls are made, and will decorate skulls with royal icing. All participants will take home their skull created in class, as well as a recipe and a sugar skull mold.

Amber Eagle is a former Lawndale Artist Studio Program participant, sculptor of sugar things in miniature and metal things made of semi-trucks. Eagle received her MFA from the California College of Arts and Crafts (1993) and her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design (1988). Eagle was a Core Fellow at the Glassell School of Art from 1993-1995. After completing her core fellowship in Houston she moved to Mexico for many years after having received a grant to study the art of Alfenique and Fiestas.

Family Day Fiesta

Saturday, November 7, 2015
12 – 4 PM
Admission: Free

Lawndale's 28th annual Día de los Muertos celebration concludes with a Saturday fiesta for families and children honoring participating teachers and students whose artwork can be viewed in the Cavnar and Horton galleries. Enjoy refreshments and children's activities such as decorating sugar skulls, along with performances by Houston Grand Opera's Vanessa Alonso, accompanied by Saul Avalos, and Mixteco Ballet Folklorico.

Family Day Fiesta Performance Schedule:

12:30 PM
Houston Grand Opera
SIMPLY SINGING SONGS - Vanessa Alonzo & Saul Avalos

HGOco is Houston Grand Opera’s unique initiative which explores making opera relevant to its changing audience. Renowned HGOco performers Vanessa Alonzo (vocals) and Saul Avalos (musical accompaniment) will present Mexican folk favorites and a few originals.

Vanessa Alonzo made her opera debut as Lupita in the concert premiere of Cruzar la Cara de la Luna (To Cross the Face of the Moon) at Houston Grand Opera in 2010; A role she reprised in Paris at the Theatre du Chatelet and the 2013 tri-city tour to San Diego, Houston, and Chicago. Later in 2014, she toured with Arizona Opera with Cruzar in Phoenix and Tucson. In early 2015 she toured as Juana with the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s newest Mariachi Opera called El Pasado Nunca Se Termina. Vanessa has also opened concerts for Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan in San Antonio and Houston. She is proud to say she began her training with the late Alfonso Guerra at Multicultural Education and Counseling through the Arts (MECA). Vanessa recently received the International Leadership Award from the Texas Women's Empowerment Foundation. In 1999 Vanessa was named the "Best of Show Vocalist" in Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza Vocal Competition. Her notable credits include tours to Ireland, Mexico, Norway and Vietnam. In 2002, Vanessa performed for the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. Television credits include Cristina on Univision as a participant in the Festival de Rancheras and a Finalist on Estrella TV's Tengo Talento Mucho Talento in 2011. Vanessa Alonzo is also the lead female vocalist and song-writer for Houston native latin fusion band Los Guerreros de La Musica.

Saul Avalos was born in Ciudad Victoria Tamaulipas and began his artistic career at the age of six. Mr. Avalos plays various instruments, such as the jarana, the quinta huapanguera, and the violin, all of which he learned to play from his father while working with him during the first years he spent interpreting huasteca music. At the age of 13, he entered the Tuna [university student organization] of the Autonomous University of Tamaulipas where he had the opportunity to participate in the International Cervantino Festival in Guanajuato, Mexico, and the October Fiestas in Guadalajara, Jalisco, in addition to traveling through various parts of Mexico and the United States representing the Autonomous University of Tamaulipas. At the age of 15 he began his studies in the Music Department of the Autonomous University of Tamaulipas. He was musical director of Mariachi Meca, and was in charge of musical direction at the Todos Los Santos Catholic Church, which sent him on tour to La Verna, Italy. In February of this year he had a special appearance accompanying Mariachi Los Gallitos of Houston, Texas, making Latin fusion with Texas Medical Center Orchestra of Houston. He previously directed Mariachi Victoria, which has accompanied various international artists such as Marco Antonio Solis, Joan Sebastian, and Maribel Guardia, as well as local artists of Houston, Texas. Saul Avalos made his debut with Houston Grand Opera, Houston’s Teatro Bilingüe, and subsequently, the Théâtre du Châtelet de Paris, France, in the character of “Chucho” in Cruzar la Cara de la Luna. Later in the 2013 2014 Tours of 'Cruzar' he made his debut at the San Diego Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and the Arizona Opera.

1:30 PM & 3 PM
Mixteco Ballet Folklorico
Children and teens promote the rich and colorful Mexican folklore through dance, music and art. Mixteco Ballet Folklorico is a non-profit organization dedicated to the research, preservation and education of Mexican customs, traditions and culture through the art of music and dance. Founded in 1992 by Jose Sada, the goal of this dynamic group of dancers is to provide Houston area youth with cultural activities that are rewarding to them and increase artistic awareness in the community as well. Sada, along with co-director, Rosalia Chapa, emphasize strong mental and physical discipline while adding their unique style of choreography to the traditional folklorico dances.


Sponsor Día de los Muertos. Funds raised in support of Lawndale's 28th Annual Día de los Muertos help underwrite the cost of presenting programs that celebrate cultural traditions of Mexico. These events foster pride and appreciation in one's own heritage and encourage tolerance and understanding. Contributions also fund Lawndale's free programs throughout the year and allow us to continue serving as one of Houston's leading contemporary arts spaces.

To find out more about making a donation to this year's Día de los Muertos, please download our Donor Packet or contact us at 713.528.5858 or by email at askus@lawndaleartcenter.org.

Many thanks to our Día de los Muertos sponsors!
as of October 7, 2015

Laura Moore & Don Sanders

Diana Hudson & Lee Kaplan
Kathrine G. McGovern

Art Portfolio, Inc./Calia Alvarado Pettigrew
Jereann Chaney
Consulate General of Mexico, Houston
Tim Kollatschny & Stephen Goldberg
H. Irving Schweppe, Jr. MD

Art Supply on Main
Carol and Candido Alvarado
Rob Greenstein
Pam & Tim Jahnke
Dr. George H. Johnson Jr.
Victoria & Marshal Lightman
H. Russell Pitman
TPRB Advertising
Brenda Williams

El Jimador Tequila
Saint Arnold Brewing Company
Tacos A Go-Go

Calia & Peter Pettigrew

Liz & David Anders
Warren Bane
Sara & Philip Beck
Amy & Michael Beeson
Susan & Philip Berry
Sara Cain
Sarah & Ross Canion
Lucy & Fowler Carter
Melissa & Coley Cato
Meredith V. Clark
Bevin & Dan Dubrowski
Annie & Campbell Eifler
Sharon & Michael Graham
Emily & Scott Jackson
Maria & Taylor Johnson
Michael Mandola
Jennifer & Henry S. May III
Helena & Gregory Mendez
Rachel & Toby Miclette
Meghan Miller
Joanna & Bryan Neiter
Jill Whitten & Rob Proctor
Izzy & John Schulte
Aliyya & Herman Stude
Rozlind & Matt Tache
Julie & Will Thomas
Meghan Thrash
Amelia & Trey Tomjanovich
Sarah & Tony Tringhese
Jaime Fruge & Travis Walne
Christine & Ramon West

Students and Teachers

There are a variety of ways teachers and students can participate in our events:

  • Artwork from Houston area school groups will be featured in Lawndale’s Horton and Cavnar galleries during the months of October and November. We are no longer accepting proposals for the 2015 Student Exhibitions. Please contact Emily Link for more details about how to apply to participate in 2016 at elink@lawndaleartcenter.org.
  • Introduce your students to the Día de los Muertos tradition by scheduling a tour with the Lawndale staff.
  • Visit our Day of the Dead Teacher’s Resource Page, originally assembled by Carrie Green Markello and updated by Christopher Hyunh. This page serves as an excellent resource for students and teachers interested in learning about the history and traditions of this unique holiday.
  • Bring personal items for Lawndale’s community ofrenda.

Lawndale Art Center

Lawndale Art Center develops local contemporary artists and the audience for their art.

    Join our mailing list!