Coming Soon! Young People’s Ofrendas: Expressions of Life and Remembrance 2012


Tuesday, October 23, 2012—Sunday, December 2, 2012
Community Commons
Free Exhibition

This exhibition of student work is the result of a partnership among the MIA and Austin High School, Thomas Edison High School, El Colegio Charter School, and Humboldt Secondary School. Students explore world cultures’ reverence for ancestors through Mexico’s Day of the Dead traditions. They create personal ofrendas (shrines) to honor friends, family, or community members who have died. You can find the new blog here.

Con el apoyo generoso de (generous support provided by) Wells Fargo

All Good Things Must Come to an End…

This past weekend brought to a close the 2011 Young People’s Ofrenda exhibition at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. The Works of Art Crew has since de-installed the 60 student ofrendas, patched and painted the gallery walls, and returned the ofrendas to Edison, Humboldt, El Colegio, and Austin High Schools.

Ofrendas readied for return to student artists

We thank the student artists, teachers, school administrators, and museum staff and volunteers for their creativity, enthusiasm, and commitment to this project. ¡Gracias a todos!

Avalon School Shares Photo Essay

Avalon School Exhibition Entrance

The Spanish 2 class at Avalon School (a charter school in St Paul that serves grades 7-12) created a young people’s ofrenda exhibit and photographed their ofrendas and artist statements.

Here is the link to their Flickr photo essay shared with us by Spanish teacher Annika Bowers: Avalon School Ofrenda Exhibition Photo Essay

An Avalon student's ofrenda to a young friend

Did your school make young people’s ofrendas this fall? Send us information, pictures, or a link to online content at We’d love to post about it here on the blog.

Nice work, Avalon Spanish 2 students!

Exhibition Opening Reception

We welcomed many of the 60 ofrenda artists, their families, and partner school teachers and administrators to the MIA earlier this month for a reception in their honor.

An artist and his family gather around his ofrenda in the exhibition

Several artists from each partner school spoke to the crowd about their ofrenda in a gallery talk facilitated and translated by museum guide Savita Bettaglio. Then, everyone enjoyed tamales (yum!) from La Loma.


Enjoy more photos from the event! The exhibition is on view now through December 4.

The Tours Have Started!

The exhibition opened Tuesday Nov 1, and the installation looks great. I was stepping out of the museum a little after 10 AM, right after the museum opened its doors to the public, and there was a group of high school students waiting to tour the exhibition.

It would be wise to plan for your tour early. You can schedule the tour using this form.


Exhibition opens!

Yesterday the Art Crew at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts spent most of the day installing the student ofrendas in the gallery. With 60 labels and a video screen that features the students’ narrative, the exhibition is now open to the public.

The exhibition will be open until Dec 4, 2011. The next event is a private party at the museum that celebrates the opening of the exhibition and honors the 60 student artists. Families and school administrators will be part of this event. Stay tuned for an update soon.

Ofrendas Arrive at MIA

The MIA Art Crew picked up 15 ofrendas from each of the 4 partner schools earlier this week and transported them to the museum.

A van load of ofrendas - destination MIA.

Upon arrival at the museum, the 60 ofrendas were tagged with tracking information and loaded onto carts for transport to Visual Resources.

Ofrendas entering the museum

Today, the Visual Resources staff photographed each ofrenda individually in their studio. These images will be added to the blog in the coming days.

Amanda and Dan in Visual Resources' photo studio

Ofrendas queued up for their photo shoot

Late this week, we will begin installing the exhibition in Gallery 110. Stay tuned…

Almost Showtime!

We’re so close to the finish line! On our last visit with El Colegio, students were full of excitement as they wrapped up their projects. Here’s a VIP sneak peek at the nearly finished ofrendas. Don’t forget to get an up close and personal look when the ofrendas are on display November 1st through December 4th at the MIA!

Oscar represents Guatemala with his blue and white ofrenda


Angel paints a different kind of Starry Night!


Final Stages at Humboldt

The project is entering its final stages, and the students at Humboldt High School are very enthusiastic to see their work in the gallery. There are a few students who are putting their final touches to their work, and others who stood proudly by their ofrenda.

Daisy's work looks great.

Remember when Daisy was working on this?

Jasmine proudly stand by her work.

Der working on her final narrative.

The ofrendas that are not coming to the MIA will be displayed in different parts of the school. This example is outside the Art classes.

Lastly, the crates that will be displayed in the museum will be picked up next week, then photographed, and hung in the gallery.

Finished crates waiting to be brought to the museum.

Beauty in the Details

The Thomas Edison High School student artists moved out of their Spanish classrooms into the art room this week. Surrounded by potters’ wheels and ceramic objects, we have witnessed the ofrendas transform from plain wooden crates to full-fledged, beautiful, dimensional and emotional statements that honor family members, friends, and heroes.

Joseph and Jonah preparing their crates

Ka Ying and Topacio hard at work

Seeing these ofrendas in their entirety is certainly exciting. However, as the students develop their ofrendas, it is also wonderful to spend time enjoying the beauty in the details. Every detail provides greater understanding not only of the person being honored, but also of the student artist who created it from his or her own imagination.

Here are just a few of the many intriguing details!

Malcolm X


Eyes on the world

As many of the Edison artists put the finishing touches on their ofrendas and explain the meanings of these details to each other, they are preparing to write personal statements about their works of art. These statements will help visitors to the Young People’s Ofrenda: Expressions of Life and Remebrance learn about what the many beautiful details mean to the student artists.

The exhibition opens November 1. We hope to see you at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts soon!