Ventura County Arts Council offers free Dia de Los Muertos activities


Mall Muertos, created by artist MB Hanrahan during a free art class for Dia de Los Muertos.

The Ventura County Arts Council is offering a variety of classes and activities that use art in various forms to help area residents understand, appreciate and celebrate the upcoming holiday Dia de Los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead.

Activities include free Dia de Los Muertos art classes that will focus on both traditional and contemporary art methods. Classes will be taught by local artists, including MB Hanrahan, who is also the driving force behind the collection of classes and events.

“The project specifically targets the heavily Latino population of the area, while offering an opportunity for non-Latino residents to learn more about the popular celebration,” Hanrahan says. “The activities will bring the community together in workshops for making art and creating artistic performances following traditional and contemporary Dia de Los Muertos customs.”

Hanrahan will hold classes twice weekly for teens and adults who want to learn to create art projects for the Dia de Los Muertos celebrations. Artist Yenelli Law will conduct a class in arts projects that include making tissue paper flowers, papel picados, and Catrinas that will become part of the ofrendas, or offerings to the departed.
Musician Juan Mendoza will convene classes for youth that will focus on singing and the playing of
musical instruments, while poet and writer Fernando Albert Salinas will guide participants in creating
poems for the dearly departed.

All classes and events will take place at Pacific View Mall, which has become the new zócalo (main public
plaza), inside the Arts Collective Studio. The studio is located on the second floor of the mall by the Sears

Activities will run through Nov. 5 on the following schedule:
Art with MB – Wednesdays 2 to 5 p.m., and Thursdays 2:30 to 6 p.m.
Bilingual Cultural Arts with Yenelli Law – Thursdays 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., Fridays 9 a.m. to noon, Saturdays
1 to 3 p.m.
Music with Juan Mendoza – Mondays through Fridays, 3 to 5 p.m.
Poetry with Fernando Salinas – Wednesdays 3:30 to 7:30 p.m.

All workshops are free. Sign up for any or all of them by emailing the VCAC at, registering online at
or by calling (805) 676-1540.

The Dia de Los Muertos activities take place over the course of several days and focus on gatherings of
family and friends who pray for and celebrate friends and family members who have died. The aim of
the prayers and remembrances is to assist the departed on their spiritual journey in the afterlife.
Although this year, Dia de

Los Muertos officially begins on Tuesday, Oct. 31 and ends on Thursday, Nov. 2. The VC Arts Council’s Dia de Los Muertos activities will culminate in a special free community celebration on Sunday, Nov. 5 on the Pacific View Mall’s Center Court Stage. It is free and everyone is invited to attend.

This celebration is funded in part by a California Arts Council grant, a City of Ventura Community
Partnership grant, the Pacific View Mall and Macerich Corp.

For nearly 20 years, the Ventura County Arts Council, an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit arts
organization, has served Ventura County residents as the local arts agency designated by the Ventura
County Board of Supervisors to serve the county’s citizens in partnership with the California Arts Council.
VCAC advocates for the arts and for increased arts instruction in schools, and fosters community
development through the arts, serving county artists, arts organizations and the general public
through partnerships with arts supporters, businesses, foundation, and community leaders. VCAC
embraces diversity and strives to reach low income and minority communities with programs designed to
engage these diverse population.