Location: NDCAC

Day Of The Dead Altar Diagram

The University of Notre Dame has been hosting an art exhibit showcasing altars created by artists to remember those who are no longer living among us for fifteen years. This is the 4th year that the annual celebration will take place at the NDCAC and we are inviting members of the South Bend community to participate in the 2016 celebration by creating their own altars. These altars will be on view in the Crossroads Gallery for Contemporary Art for the month of October 2016 and for the celebration on November 2, 2016.

Ofrendas (offerings) or Altares (altars) are made in memory of the deceased and are a good example of the cultural hybridity of this holiday. These altares/ofrendas are either built at the gravesite or in the home, and include offerings of food, water, and personal possessions of the deceased. Oftentimes a photograph of the deceased is placed within the ofrenda which is  usually built in a three-tier pyramid type structure. The bottom level representing Mitlan the underworld, the middle section representing earth and the top representing the heavens. A traditional ofrenda includes the four elements of wind, fire, water and earth, represented through papel picado (wind), candles (fire), beverages (water) and flowers (earth). Other elements included in a traditional altar are personal belongings or any items that honor your loved one.

This year we are inviting community members to create their own ofrendas dedicated to a deceased loved one in the Crossroads Gallery for Contemporary Art at the NDCAC. These will be the focus of the Día de los Muertos event being held on Wednesday, November 2nd. Ofrendas are to be installed in the gallery during September 2016 for display through the month of October and removed immediately at the end of the November 2nd celebration. Proposal applications can be found at our website They can also be picked up a the Notre Dame Center for Arts & Culture at 1045 W. Washington Street or at the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies located in McKenna Hall.

Applying is free, as is participating in the event. Qualifying altars will be eligible to receive up to $50 for supplies with receipts.  Please submit your application by August 8, 2016.

PDF (2MB) NDCAC Ofrenda Application

PDF (181K) NDCAC Group Ofrenda Application