Miles Darst's "The Disco" hangs at the French Press through October.

Whether you’re an art enthusiast, a religious studies buff, or simply interested in learning new things, this year’s D-a de los Muertos festivities in S.B. are offering something for everyone. The nearly 3,000-year-old Mexican holiday revolves around beliefs that the deceased return home in the afterlife, and the two-day celebration includes altar building, delicious and delectable gift offerings, and a whole lotta public performances. The holiday is also deeply rooted in the visual arts, and has spawned creative types from all around S.B. to compile some stunning exhibits devoted solely to the Day of the Dead. For a list of events and art installations to help you celebrate, check out our rundown below.

1) La Casa de la Raza: If authentic festivities are what you’re after, look no further than La Casa’s D-a de los Muertos party. This Sunday, November 1, at 3 p.m., the community center hosts live music from DJ Orbs, free food, and altars from 805 artists Bonnie Beedles, Ray Cirerol, Carlos Cuellar, J.J. Ortiz, Vanae Rivera, and Alejandro Vasquez. La Casa de la Raza is located at 601 East Montecito Street. Call 965-8581 for info.

2) Art from Scrap: This Monday, November 2, from 5-7 p.m., the folks at the AFS unveil their collaborative D-a de Los Muertos exhibit at the upstairs gallery (302 E. Cota St.). The event boasts free food and beverages, as well as altars and art from a series of workshops put on by Communities Collaborative Foundation, El Puente Community School, Art from Scrap, and artist Julia Ford. Call 884-0459 x15, or visit for details.

3) Santa Barbara City College: On Friday, October 30, SBCC hosts a reception for its D-a de los Muertos mementos exhibit on the library patio from 5:30-9 p.m. In addition to checking out original works by Charles Dorado, Fil Lomeli, Armando de la Rocha, and Irma Vega de Bijou, attendees will be treated to live singing, dancing, pozole dinner, and a traditional Chumash sage blessing. Call 730-4430.

4) The French Press and Muddy Waters Cafe: And for amazing art in unlikely places, be sure to swing by S.B. coffee meccas Muddy Waters (508 E. Haley St.) and the French Press (1101 State St.) before the end of the month. At the Press, bright and beautiful works from Santa Barbara painter Miles Darst will hang through November 1. And down the road a ways, the Mud’s annual Noche de los Muertos art show offers colorful and creepy calaveras and catrinas, which will hang through this weekend. Featured artists include Sheryl Schroder, Diana Almand, Jen Smith, and many more. Call 966-9328.


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