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…

Day of the Dead Teacher Workshop

Last month, approximately thirty K-12 teachers joined MIA staff and volunteers for a Day of the Dead Teacher Workshop at the MIA. Joe D. Horse Capture, Associate Curator of Native American Art and Amanda Thompson Rundahl, Innovation Engineer, introduced the 2011 expansion of “Young People’s Ofrenda: Expressions of Life and Remembrance” to include 4 partner high schools (Austin, Humboldt, Edison, and El Colegio). All four schools will make ofrendas and contribute videos to the blog. Each school will send 15 ofrendas by student artists to the MIA for exhibition November 1 through December 4, 2011.

Sheila McGuire, Manager of Learning Resources then walked educators from partner and non-partner schools through our brand new Young People’s Ofrendas Teacher’s Guide in English and Spanish. She encouraged teachers to adopt it as part of their fall curriculum in art, Spanish, or other subject areas. The workshop wrapped up with guided tours of objects in the MIA’s permanent collection that represent many world cultures and relate to the Teacher’s Guide overarching theme “honoring ancestors.” Docent led tours on this theme can be requested by all teachers by using this form.

As you follow the project via this blog throughout the fall, you’ll hear from Joe, Amanda, Sheila, and our intern Pati Hibbard, as well as from the students and teachers at the four partner high schools.

Welcome to the Young People’s Ofrenda Project Blog

Greetings and welcome to the blog. For the next several weeks, we will be documenting the process of the 2011 Ofrenda Project through this blog and the videos created by the students. This is our fourth year working with the students, and our third using the blog.

This deeply personal, moving exhibition of student work is the result of a unique partnership between the MIA and Austin High School (Greater Minnesota), Thomas Edison High School (Minneapolis), El Colegio High School (Minneapolis), and Humboldt Secondary School (St. Paul). The students explore world cultures’ reverence for ancestors in art and Day of the Dead traditions in Mexico in the classroom and the museum. They draw inspiration from these and other experiences to create personal ofrendas (offerings) – altars or shrines to honor friends, family, or community members who have passed away. Interact with the project online as it unfolds in the classroom beginning in early September. A selection of student ofrendas from each school is on view the museum November 1 through December 4.

Generous support is provided by Best Buy Co., Inc. and Cargill.