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10th Annual Day of the Dead Show Opens Saturday

Traditions unearthed during Dia de los Muertos art exhibition at Standing Rock

I'm always glad when October rolls around. Not only is the air fresh, the trees gorgeous and the food scrumptious, but there's also Halloween!

I love this holiday because it's time to let our hair down and welcome a little fantasy and creativity into our lives.

This year Standing Rock Cultural Arts and The Stone Tavern will resurrect SCRA's decade long tradition of honoring the dead through a creative celebration of life with the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Art Exhibition.

The Day of the Dead is celebrated throughout the world on All Saints' Day (Nov 1) and All Souls' Day (Nov 2). And while it's fun to dress up like vampires, zombies and the other various other states of undead on Halloween, Dia de los Muertos has a slightly brighter twist.

SRCA says, “Like the celebration of a birthday, this holiday reconfirms annually the love, goodwill, and generosity that the beloved can count on, no matter that they are dead.” Instead of dwelling on fear and death, we remember and honor the fleeting beauty of life.

Many of this year's artists have participated in this show in years past. Expect to see paintings, collages, large scale puppets, masks and photographs from many of your favorite Kent artists. You can see art by Vince Packard, Trey Berry, Becky Gorman, Gina M. Corron , Gretchen Ramey, Joanne Arnett, Jim Jewell, David Jrome Bragg, Jeffrey Puccini, Frederick John Kluth at both Standing Rock Cultural Arts and The Stone Tavern.

The show starts Saturday and runs through Nov. 24. 

You can also expect to see a lot of costumes, as the opening event coincides with Kent's annual, unofficial Halloween celebration downtown. The event will start at 7 p.m. at SRCA then will culminate in a drum parade from the Gallery to The Stone Tavern at 11 p.m.

And to entice you further, let me talk a little more about one artist in particular: Vince Packard. Each intricately painted piece he will show is a story in itself. From “Peggy Oki and the last of the Hector/ Maui Dolphin” to “Frida Ouija~ El Ciervo Herido,” Packard brings us epitaphs in paint.

In addition to invoking the Day of the Dead spirit through richly detailed color, he brings his environmental passions alive by depicting endangered animals, skeletons, deceased artists and environmental activists in these works. This year's animal focus seems to be the dolphin.

One thing I always enjoy about Packard's work is that at first it is breathtaking to see, but once he starts to explain the story behind the work it becomes a portal to another world. 

It's enough to put the Halloween hair up on the back of your neck.

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