Des Moines Art Center to celebrate 20 years of Day of the Dead/Día de los Muertos virtually

Posted on Friday, September 25, 2020

For Immediate Release
Contact: Jordan Powers
Tel: 515.271.0344 

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DES MOINES, IOWA (OCTOBER 2020) – The Des Moines Art Center is proud to continue their 20-year tradition of celebrating the Day of the Dead. While preserving the safety of visitors due to COVID-19 means the event cannot be held in person for 2020, the Art Center strongly believes in the importance of respecting and commemorating loved ones who have passed.

The Art Center acknowledges that the Latinx community in particular has been hit hard by the effects of this disease. In support of the community and in the spirit of honoring this international tradition, the Art Center’s official Day of the Dead website,, will offer links to multiple resources and activities that include:

  • Free Ofrenda Starter Kits will be available for families wishing to learn more about the tradition of honoring loved ones who have passed. Kits will be available at local Des Moines Public Library Branches (Central, East, Forest, Franklin, North and South) on Monday, October 26 through Saturday, October 31 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – for library pick-ups find more information at
  • A YouTube channel will feature the short films made by Vince Valdez over the last two decades, honoring members of the Latinx community. Valdez will also create a special 20-year anniversary film that will premiere online November 1, 2020. The film will highlight those honored in previous events and the volunteers and sponsors who have helped the Art Center make it happen.
  • New photo galleries commemorating each year, with a chance for users to submit their photos of previous events and their own altars and ofrendas from this year.
  • Free downloads of Day of the Dead/Día de Los Muertos poster designs from this and previous years.
  • Near the Exit – Travels with the Not-So-Grim Reaper: Listen to a conversation on how cultures have confronted death with author Lori Erickson.
  • Iowa PBS adds to the Day of the Dead celebration: Virtual altar, a bakery visit, a paper flower making tutorial, and more! Visit

Stay tuned to and the Art Center’s Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter channels for additional updates. Support for the Day of the Dead is provided by Homesteaders Life Company and Iles Funeral Homes. 


About the Des Moines Art Center

Recognized by international art critics as a world-class museum in the heart of the Midwest, the Des Moines Art Center, an AAM-accredited institution, has amassed an important collection with a major emphasis on contemporary art. The collection’s overriding principle is a representation of artists from the 19th century to the present, each through a seminal work. This accounts for an impressive collection that ranges from Edward Hopper’s Automat to Jasper Johns’ Tennyson, Henri Matisse’s Woman in White, Georgia O’Keeffe’s From the Lake No. 1, Francis Bacon’s Study after Velázquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X, Bill Viola’s Ascension, and Cecily Brown’s Half-Bind.

The Art Center’s physical complex marries with the collection for a totally integrated experience. The collection is housed in three major buildings, each designed by a world-renowned architect—Eliel Saarinen, I. M. Pei, and Richard Meier. With the exception of special events, admission to the museum is free.

In September 2009, the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park opened in Des Moines’ Western Gateway Park. Philanthropists John and Mary Pappajohn provided funding for and donated 31 sculptures by internationally acclaimed contemporary artists to the Des Moines Art Center. The collection of sculptures by such artists as Ai Weiwei, Louise Bourgeois, Deborah Butterfield, Willem de Kooning, Mark di Suvero, Olafur Eliasson, Keith Haring, Robert Indiana, Ellsworth Kelly, Yayoi Kusama, Jaume Plensa, and Richard Serra, and Joel Shapiro is the most significant donation of artwork to the Art Center in a single gift in the museum’s history. The Pappajohn Sculpture Park is a collaboration of the Pappajohns, the City of Des Moines, the Des Moines Art Center, and numerous corporate and private donors.

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