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Latino organization connects Día de Los Muertos with mental wellness

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Jackeline Ruiz is one of the artists and educators working with the Latino Cultural Arts Center
Jackeline Ruiz is one of the artists and educators working with the Latino Cultural Arts Center

DENVER — With sugar skulls, paint and family trees, the Latino Cultural Arts Center (LCAC) kicked off a fall full of events dedicated to Día de los Muertos and mental wellness.

The series of events, called Ofrendas 2022, focuses on resilience through storytelling. The events begin in October and carry into November, honoring family traditions and creating safe space to share mental health resources.

After the COVID-19 pandemic, Lilian Lara with LCAC said the social ties that held us together were damaged and this is LCAC's attempt to create community while they teach about wellness and the traditions of Día de los Muertos.

“Especially from a standpoint of resilient, especially from an Indigenous perspective of balance,” explained Lara.

LCAC also tries to make sure the community is connecting to resources.

“A lot of times life gets in the way, work gets in the way, and we often feel stressed or tired or at a moment of crisis,” said Lara, who works with the community arts programs with LCAC. “Sometimes in those moments we don’t have the ability to reach out to those resources, that’s if we know where they are.”

“The goal is trying to feel more relaxed and try to be in the present,” explained Jackeline Ruiz, who is a facilitator with Latino Cultural Arts Center. “We wanted to be focused more on family, tradition, memories and ofrendas.”

According to Mexican tradition, those who pass on join the spirit world. Altars, called ofrendas, are set up in homes to honor and remember lost loved ones. The ofrendas are adorned with photographs, flowers, candles, food, water and salt. 

“We have many traditions in Latin America,” said Ruiz. “Something beautiful about tradition is the way that you can connect with other people; it’s the way you can connect to your community. It’s a way where you can feel more human, [show] more empathy.”

Traditions are something that travel with people and LCAC creates a safe space to honor that. Below is the list of future events people can participate in.  

Colorado Voices

Ofrendas 2022 with the Latino Cultural Arts Center

Ofrendas 2022 | Events

Calaveritas Workshops

For All Ages | Free Event | Lite Snacks Provided

Sugar Skulls are a delightfully sweet way to remember those we love. Come celebrate and honor your loved ones with us while you create and decorate a sugar skull and learn all about this traditional craft!

  • Oct. 25, 2022: Huron Street Library - 9417 Huron Street, Denver, 3:30 PM - 6:30 PM
  • Oct. 27, 2022: Raices Brewing Co. - 2060 W. Colfax Avenue, Denver, 6 PM - 8 PM  


Saint Candle Workshop 

For All Ages | Free Event | Lite Snacks Provided

How would you like to be remembered? Candles have been used to honor and illuminate our celebrations for more than 5,000 years. Come decorate a candle with us so that it may honor and illuminate those you cherish in this world and the next.

  • Oct 23, 2022: Foothills Art Center - 809 15th St, Golden, 12:30 PM - 2:30 pm (MDT) 


Catrina Worry Dolls Workshop 

For All Ages | Free Event | Lite Snacks Provided

In Mayan tradition children tell little dolls their worries and place the dolls underneath their pillows and while they sleep the dolls take away their worries. Make your own little Catrina Worry Doll to take your worries away and learn all about the importance of reflecting and sharing our stories with others. 

  • Nov 3, 2022: TBD


Corona Wreaths Workshop 

For All Ages | Free Event | Lite Snacks Provided 

Learn about the importance of the Cempasuchil in Dia de los Muertos traditions and how celebrating our ancestors with our families is a source of strength and wellness. Partake in this beautiful tradition of making flower wreaths to place on your home altar. 

  • Oct 24, 2022: Sun Valley Kitchen - 1260 Decatur St, Denver, 5 PM - 7 PM  
  • Nov 4, 2022: Hoffman Library - 1298 Peoria St, Aurora, 2 PM - 4 PM 


2-part Men's Photography Workshop 

For Men all ages | Free Event | Lite Snacks Provided

This 2-part workshop centers men’s mental wellness with the use of photography to explore different themes of identity, the different roles people have played in our lives and redefining modern masculinity.

  • Oct 15, 2022: Globeville Center - 4496 Grant St, Denver, 2PM - 4 PM  
  • Oct 29, 2022:  Globeville Center - 4496 Grant St, Denver,  2PM - 4PM 


Alebrijes Workshop 

For All Ages | Free Event | Lite Snacks Provided

Fantastical animals created from a fever dream and transformed into our spiritual guides. These magnificent and colorful creatures are said to act as our guides and protectors. Connect with your spiritual side while you make your own Alebrije!

  • Oct 19, 2022: Sandoval Elementary -  3655 Wyandot St, Denver, 4:15 PM - 6:15 PM 
  • Oct 28, 2022: Sun Valley Youth Center - 1230 Decatur St, Denver, 4:30 PM - 6:30 PM 


​Faux Tin Frames Workshop 

For All Ages | Free Event | Lite Snacks Provided 

Create a faux tin frame for a loved one or to hold a special photograph. These beautiful frames catch the light from candles and give us a physical place to celebrate our most cherished moments and people. Learn more about this traditional craft while creating your own frame and the important role photographs have in Dia de los Muertos.

  • Nov 2, 2022: Boulder Public Library - 1001 Arapahoe Ave, Boulder, 4 PM - 6 PM 


Huichol Yarn Painting Workshop 

For All Ages | Free Event | Lite Snacks Provided  

Learn about the Huichol cosmology and how it relates to wellness through the beautiful art of yarn painting with beeswax. Create your own yarn painting while you learn about the different symbols in Huichol art!

  • Oct 16, 2022: Foothills Art Center - 809 15th St, Golden, 12:30 PM - 2:30 PM 
  • Oct 30, 2022: Broomfield Library - 3 community Park Rd, Broomfield, 1 PM - 3 PM 

Julio Sandoval is a multimedia journalist with Rocky Mountain PBS. You can reach him at

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