About the Project

The wooden fruit crate in which students from four Minnesota high schools will create their ofrendas.

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 October 23 through December 2.

Students use wooden crates to symbolize the migrant population that came to Minnesota to work in the fields. Each ofrenda reflects the student’s own experience. In inviting students from diverse communities to learn about and create their own ofrendas, we acknowledge that the Day of the Dead is a very personal, spiritual tradition. It is important to us that we not ask students to imitate or make Mexican ofrendas. Rather, we envision students paying tribute to this rich cultural tradition by creating their own personal and contemporary ofrendas—in the spirit of the Mexican tradition.

This project Web site and blog follows the students’ progress in creating their ofrendas. Here we present the videos they have made, in which they relate their perspectives and insights as they honor their ancestors. Their final ofrendas and videos will be on view in an exhibition at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts between October 23 through December 2.


Austin High School
Austin, MN
Austin High School is a public high school in Austin, Minnesota. Established in 1857, Austin High is one of the oldest high schools in Minnesota. The home of the Packers, the school has 1,390 students. AHS prides itself on having strong academics, athletics, and fine arts. This is their first year participating in the Ofrenda Project.

El Colegio High School
Minneapolis, MN
El Colegio Charter School is a small public high school in Minneapolis that has been serving students in English and Spanish since 2000. This is their fourth year participating in the Ofrenda Project.

Thomas Edison High School
Minneapolis, MN
Thomas Edison High School provides an academic environment that ignites students’ imagination, engages them in learning, and supports them in achieving their potential. This is their first year participating in the Ofrenda Project.

Humboldt Secondary School
St. Paul, MN
Humboldt Secondary School offers a comprehensive curriculum with high expectations and rigor for all students. Preparing all students for post-secondary education and the world of work is our top priority. This is their first year of participation in the Ofrenda Project.

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