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Dia de los Muertos Phoenix Festival 2014

Sunday, Oct. 26th, 2014, Cultural Coalition's Dia de los Muertos Phoenix Festival

This amazing festival occurred for the third year at Hance Park. Phoenix experienced a family traditional celebration full of a rich tapestry of color and movement... Carmen and Zarco Guerrero have a history of creating these signature productions to benefit the community for more than 30 years through the artistry of Zarco's masks, performance and community partners.

This ritual is not unique to the Southwest. Communities across the U.S. have joined to Honor Self and Others at this harvest time of the year. This meets a Shared Human Concern and need to support, promote and celebrate United Families through a grass-roots experience like Dia de los Muertos’ (Honoring of Ancestors). This ritual is brought to life by masked performers, musicians and many art making festivities.

Cultural Coalition artists have been creating meaningful programs concerning Dia de los Muertos in the Valley for over three decades through street processions giving honor to children who have died from violence, community parks and at the Heard Museum. As artists, this is not simply an observation of a tradition, but an artistic reinterpretation that keeps the celebration culturally relevant to our diverse communities. Keith Johnson, African drummer and Victor, the stilt walker, combine African traditions of respect and honor for the cyclical process of the living and those passing...

Through ceremony within community, we celebrate the achievements everyone has made and the successful impact they have on their chosen neighborhoods. The sustainability for a single life, or group rests in relationships built, the beneficial and purposeful partnerships created, the vision pursued with intent, and the confident acceptance of responsibility for one's future. Community rituals of celebration assist participants to examine and explore their authentic self and discover that "Just to be is a blessing." (Hustedde & King, 2002, pp.338-347)

INTEGRATING "STORY" INTO COMMUNITY: "It has been argued that we are not Homo sapiens but Homo narrans, the only species that tells stories," (Hustedde, 1998, quoted Fisher 1987, p.157). Hustedde continues by stating, "Stories are how we organize our thoughts and experiences and how we share them with others. They tell us who the community is and what it is not." Within the work of these community artists, participants may create an environment for all to be heard through the traditional storytelling of performance and mime…

Creating sugar skulls is not only fun, but contributes to community building.

QUESTIONS & SYMBOLS STIMULATE THE REVEALING OF STORIES: "Community developers can work with public artists to help people tell their stories: art can act to build solidarity and can be a prelude to community action" (Husteddde, p.159, quoted Jones, 1988). The arts embody the human experience, in a sense "interring" our concepts and ideas in the materials of our creativity and laying our explorations to rest.

Teztlatipoca blessing the phoenix dia de los muertos by cultural coalition below taken by Marco Albarran above

The activity of creating a beaded bracelet with meaning is an ancient means of symbolic communication to answer those questions of life that bring us closer together.

Through the Cultural Arts Coalition over 150 beaded bracelets were made with all ages and cultural backgrounds of children and adults. It was so much FUN!!! Once again we are so thankful for all the community organizing efforts of Carmen and Zarco and all of their helpers…Gracias!

Thank you Dulce Juarez, Program Emcee.

Photo Narrative by judy butzine, MSW, October 27, 2014

Two photos by Johnny Lozoya: Candle light vigil at the conclusion of the programming....

The Flight of the Feathered Serpent!

A Moment of Silence for our Loved Ones!

Hustedde, Ronald J., 1998, "On the Soul of Community Development", Journal of the Community Development Society, 29:2, pp.153-165.

Hustedde, Ronald & King, Betty, 2002, "Rituals: Emotions, Community Faith in Soul and the Messiness of Life", Community Development Journal, 37:4, pp. 338-348.