Northeast High School Art Students Build Altar for Community Día de los Muertos Celebration
Northeast High School students in Katharine Bruns’ art class created the centerpiece for the neighborhood Día de los Muertos festival. The altar is now on display in the school library.
Junior Sara Hidalgo crafted many of the paper cempazúchitl, or Mexican marigolds. This is her first time celebrating Día de los Muertos, a holiday to honor deceased loved ones.
“My mom did when she lived in Mexico. She talked about doing (an altar) for her mom," Sara said.
Senior Michael Stivers helped build the altar itself. He said initially the art class wanted to construct a tree but eventually settled on a more traditional design.
“We made it a three-step base like the three steps to heaven," Michael said.
At Día de los Muertos festivals, it’s common to see women and girls dressed as La Catrina, a famous skeleton. So senior Mirzeta Klinac volunteered to do face paint.
“I am a makeup artist myself, so I thought this would be good practice," Mirzeta said.
Senior Marcelles Heart played guitar during Wednesday’s Día de los Muertos celebration at Northeast High School. He says he’s been trying to get more involved since transferring from a much smaller school last year.
“I’m doing much better than I did in my old school," Marcelles said. "Grades are better, better environment, not being bullied.”
For Bruns, the art teacher, the best part has been watching a diverse group of students making connections as they shared their cultures and customs.
"Some of my Vietnamese students told me that they do the same thing," Bruns said. "They clean graves and honor the lives that came before us."