Mattie Rhodes Center Celebrates Día de los Muertos

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By Joe Jarosz
Northeast News
October 1, 2014

KANSAS CITY, Missouri – The Mattie Rhodes Center is excited to announce that the featured artist for Kansas City’s 16th Annual Día de los Muertos, also knows as the Day of the Dead, Celebration will be James Jukes.

The opening reception to view the Día de los Muertos ofrendas, altars, takes places from 6 – 10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 3, at the Mattie Rhodes Center Art Gallery, 915 W. 17th St. The following day, join the center for the Street Festival, which runs from 1 – 10 p.m. Various live entertainment acts, food vendors, artisan vendors, and children’s activities will fill the street in front of the Gallery. The Closing Reception and Parade will take place from 6 – 10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 7. All events are free to the public.

In a press release, Jenny Mendez, Cultural Arts Director for the Mattie Rhodes Center, said the Center is excited to feature James Jukes again this year. She added the Center loves working with the local artist and, “sharing his unique, detailed pieces that reflect his love of the Latino culture and inspiration from Dia de Los Muertos.”

“He is a true example of a Mattie Rhodes artist and friend,” Mendez said. “He has been exhibiting with our gallery for some time now and being a local artist whose works have also been published in The Pitch, he is very popular. People come in our gift shop and go straight to his images, not just during Day of the Dead festivities but throughout the year.”

John Fierro, President and CEO of the Mattie Rhodes Center, added that Jukes is a natural fit for Kansas City’s signature Día de los Muertos celebration, “complementing the poignant altars exhibit with his dynamic style.”

“We strive to be a conduit that bridges cultures and communities through teaching, preserving and celebrating the local Latino culture and are proud to host the largest and longest running Día de los Muertos Festival in Kansas City,” Fierro said. “The traditional Mexican holiday encourages the living to honor and commemorate loved ones who have died through the creation of altars that include possessions of the departed, photographs, favorite food and beverages, sugar skulls and marigolds.”

The exhibit and festival are sponsored by: The Neighborhood Tourist Development Fund, The Missouri Arts Council and Arvest Bank. The Mattie Rhodes Center is still accepting artists who would like to participate in the exhibit, artists and community members who would like to display a traditional, contemporary or personal altar, and artisan and food vendors.

The Mattie Rhodes Center provides a holistic approach to individual and family well-being through youth services, community support, cultural arts and family services and support. It envisions a community where all people are healthy, safe, and have the resources to thrive. For more information, please visit www.mattierhodes.org.

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