26th Annual Día de los Muertos Retablos and Student Exhibitions

The 26th Annual Día de los Muertos Retablos and Student Exhibitions are among the most democratic, free-for-all art shows in the city. Prior to the exhibit, the Lawndale Art Center gives out small pieces of sheet metal to anyone who asks for one. The only requirement is to create contemporary interpretations of a retablo, a form of traditional Latin American devotional art. Every year, Houstonians respond with a staggering variety of artwork, from primitive to fine art, lowbrow to sophisticated. The contributions seemingly reflect every possible level of religious influence. The retablos are part of a silent auction at the center's gala, with proceeds benefiting the Lawndale Art Center.

Christine Jelson West, executive director of the center, says the exhibition especially resonates with her, because not only is she often humbled by those who create a small artwork in memory of a loved one, she's frequently amazed by those who transform an 8"x10" piece of sheet metal into something that's almost unrecognizable compared to its original form. "I also love that the exhibition is the very first time some artists have work displayed in a museum or gallery and that Lawndale is the place where they choose to show it," she tells us. "It's so heartwarming [that artists make something for us year after year], even though they now are internationally known and show their work all over the world." Students from around the city contribute works to the exhibit.

The annual Día de los Muertos is at 7 p.m. on October 25. $35 to $50. Regular viewing hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays. Through November 9. 4912 Main. For information, call 713-528-5858 or visit lawndaleartcenter.org. Free.
Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturdays, 12-5 p.m. Starts: Oct. 22. Continues through Nov. 9, 2013

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Olivia Flores Alvarez