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Community Altar Project

¨Death is democratic. Ultimately everyone light or dark, poor or rich, winds up being bones.¨

“La muerte es democrática, ya que a fin de cuentas, güera, morena, rica o pobre, toda la gente acaba siendo calavera.”


The Community Altar Project is designed to help us build bridges between the individual and the community, life and death, sorrow and celebration. This participatory draws on the thoughtful process of creating a public altar of remembrance of people who have passed. The project is inspired by the altar making traditions in Mexico for Day of the Dead but community and personal altars of remembrance are in many traditions, all over the world.

More than 700 participants from the Madison Community and beyond have made altar boxes as part of this exhibition which was held each year from 2014 - 2021. Each altar was made in honor of someone they have lost. In the exhibition we share the sorrow of their passing and celebrate the joy of their lives.

International Virtual Altar Project

Because of the pandemic, we could not hold the community altar project in person In 2020, so we held an international virtual altar project. Fifty-three individuals, from four countries sent in virtual altars to celebrate and honor of those who have passed. The altars were edited together and set to music. The video was presented as a socially distant event through outdoor projections.


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