Filming Ofelia Esparza and Self Help Graphics for Dia de los Muertos

On October 28, 2016, the Craft in America crew visited Tonalli Studio in East Los Angeles. Master Altar Maker Ofelia Esparza worked with her family and friends to make the paper flowers for the community altar at Grand Park in Los Angeles. This community altar was created to celebrate Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and for the public to bring photos and other items to place on the altar.

Here are a couple details of altars created by artists on view at Tonalli Studio.

We also stopped by Self Help Graphics, who co-presented the Dia de los Muertos celebration at Grand Park. Here’s a few of the altars that were on display at Self Help Graphics.

On October 29, 2016, we watched Ofelia Esparza assemble the community altar with the help of volunteers and staff from Self Help Graphics. The community altar looks great with City Hall in the background during the day and at night. We also filmed the other altars on display at Grand Park and spoke to a couple of the altar makers.

Celina Jacques’ altar was dedicated to all the childless mothers, in memory of each child lost in this life.

This altar by GoEastLos, showcased photos on a digital picture frame that were submitted on Instagram that paid tribute to the deceased. The figure at the top of the altar is La Catrina, the icon of Dia de los Muertos, as she journeys back from the dead as she pays tribute and honors forgotten stories of Los Angeles. Javier Guillen spoke to us about this altar.

Joan Zeta created this altar to bring awareness to the deaths on the Blue Line. Since it opened in 1990, 120 people have died on the Blue Line, 31 due to suicide. This altar is dedicated to those deceased and to those who have suffered from mental illness.

Carolyn Vera spoke to us about this altar, which highlights the disproportionate policing that people of color experience in public spaces. How public spaces can be a site of violence for communities of color, while for others, it is seen as a place of leisure. This altar intends to honor Philando Castile, Sandra Bland, Jesse Romero, and trans people.

Consuelo Flores created the Pulse of Life altar, dedicated to the 49 men and women who died at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando.