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On Saturday, October 28th, over 3500 people gathered at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center for our 14th annual Dia de los Muertos Celebration. The colorful and lively community festival shared the sacred Mexican holiday that celebrates the life of friends and family whom have passed and serves as a reminder that they have not been forgotten. With a mix of traditional and contemporary stylizations, our Dia de los Muertos welcomed families that observe the holiday in their own home, and also helped to educate and share this cultural event with the wider community.
Our Great Hall, Celebration Gallery, and patio was transformed by the many community groups, organizations, businesses, and local food and craft vendors that explored traditional and contemporary Mexican art, food, dances, and music. Our gallery welcomed altars, and art installations honoring the lives of friends and family and examining the living's relationship with death. New to the altar exhibit this year was a somber, yet beautiful, altar created by Salt Lake Community College art students honoring and remembering the victims of the recent Las Vegas shooting. Community groups such as Danza Azteca, Latin Dance Heritage, Nostalgia Juvenil, and Ballet Folklorico de las Americas crafted meaningful and culturally significant dances and performances that were enjoyed by a packed audience in our Great Hall. Food and craft vendors, as well as traditional face painters, lined the Crossroads of the UCCC and outside patio. It was an endearing, and sometimes comical sight, to see someone in freshly minted sugar skull face paint try to navigate their roasted elote or steaming tamale. The full day event came to a grand finale with our La Catrina and El Catrin costume contest. The contest was emceed by our wonderful sponsor Alpha Media, and we were overwhelmed by the community participation and quality of costumes
Thank you to all our community and business partners and sponsors that include, but certainly not limited to, Salt Lake County ZAP, Utah Division of Arts and Museums, Upstart/Waterford School, Security National Mortgage, Save our Canyons, Alpha Media, and Rancho Markets. We hope it was a festive, educational, and meaningful experience for all, and can't wait until next year!
In partnership with the World Golf Hall of Fame and Museum, the Utah Cultural Celebration Center is proud to present BOB HOPE: AN AMERICAN TREASURE.
The 2,200-square foot traveling exhibit tells the story of the Guinness World Records book “most honored” entertainer through a series of 15 themed exhibit display units that celebrate his comedic contributions, achievements in entertainment, relationships with a number of U.S. Presidents, and his other passion – golf. It traces his family’s arrival at Ellis Island, life as part of an immigrant family in Cleveland, his struggles to succeed in New York in entertainment, the success and family life he found in Holly wood, and how golf and his love for the military took him around the world.
The traveling exhibit includes reproductions of more than 200 vintage photos, seven videos, and more than 170 items including an original vaudeville contract from 1922, his Ellis Island medal, the final set of golf clubs used in his life, Emmy and Honorary Oscar awards, an outfit he wore during USO tours, gifts & awards from Presidents and other celebrities, his Congressional Gold Medal awarded by President John F. Kennedy, and his “Honorary Veteran Citation” from Congress, which he called the most important honor of his life. In addition, the exhibit includes a 30-stop audio tour and an educational program.
Additionally, Bob Hope’s celebration of his favorite sport golf allows for collaboration with the World Golf Hall of Fame, West Valley City Parks and Recreation, local golf courses, and the West Valley Historical Society. The exhibit also features an educational program for students grade 4-8.
BOB HOPE: AN AMERICAN TREASURE, A World Golf Hall of Fame Exhibit runs December 7, 2017 - April 28, 2018. FREE ADMISSION; Donations Encouraged.
Join us for a special OPENING RECEPTION on DEC 7, 6 - 9 PM
The Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos in Spanish) is a holiday celebrated mainly in Mexico and by people of Mexican heritage (and others) living in the United States and Canada. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and relatives who have died. The celebration occurs on the 1st and 2nd of November, in connection with the Catholic holy days of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day which take place on those days. Traditions include building private altars honoring the deceased, using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed, and visiting graves with these as gifts. Observance of the holiday in Mexican-American communities in the United States has become more important and widespread as the community grows numerically and economically.
Many people believe that during the Day of the Dead, it is easier for the souls of the departed to visit the living. People will go to cemeteries to communicate with the souls of the departed, and will build private altars, containing the favorite foods and beverages, and photos and memorabilia, of the departed. The intent is to encourage visits by the souls, so that the souls will hear the prayers and the comments of the living directed to them. Celebrations can take a humorous tone, as celebrants remember funny events and anecdotes about the departed.
Plans for the festival are made throughout the year, including gathering the goods to be offered to the dead. During the period of November 1 and November 2, families usually clean and decorate graves; most visit the cemeteries where their loved ones are buried and decorate their graves with ofrendas, or offerings, which often include orange marigolds called "cempasúchitl".
Toys are brought for dead children (los angelitos, or little angels), and bottles of tequila, mezcal, pulque or atole for adults. Families will also offer trinkets or the deceased's favorite candies on the grave. Ofrendas are also put in homes, usually with foods such as candied pumpkin, pan de muerto ("bread of the dead") or sugar skulls and beverages such as atole. The ofrendas are left out in the homes as a welcoming gesture for the deceased. Some people believe the spirits of the dead eat the "spiritual essence" of the ofrenda food, so even though the celebrators eat the food after the festivities, they believe it lacks nutritional value. Pillows and blankets are left out so that the deceased can rest after their long journey.
Some families build altars or small shrines in their homes. These altars usually have the Christian cross, statues or pictures of the Blessed Virgin Mary, pictures of deceased relatives and other persons, and scores of candles. Traditionally, families spend some time around the altar praying and telling anecdotes about the deceased. In some locations, celebrants wear shells on their clothing so when they dance the dead will wake up because of the noise. Some will dress up as the deceased.
A common symbol of the holiday is the skull (colloquially called calavera), which celebrants represent in masks, called calacas (colloquial term for "skeleton"), and foods such as sugar skulls, which are inscribed with the name of the recipient on the forehead. Sugar skulls are gifts that can be given to both the living and the dead. Other holiday foods include pan de muerto, a bread made in various shapes, from plain rounds to skulls and rabbits often decorated with white frosting to look like twisted bones.
By Jeff Olsen, @JeffOlsen76
Construction is underway. Stay tuned to this post for periodic photo updates. An overview of the project: we're adding classrooms, new prep areas, offices, and storage. Upgrades to existing HVAC, A/V, and other systems will also be performed.
Project Overview and Layout
Click "Read More" for construction update photos!
Currently on display in the Celebration Gallery is Eye Hand Mind: Selections from the Africa Meets Africa Project. The Utah Cultural Celebration Center is presenting the exhibition in partnership with the University of Utah’s International & Area Studies Program, Center for Science and Math Education, and the Utah Museum of Fine Arts. As a result of the project, the museum added thirteen new objects to their permanent collection. These beer pot covers, arm/leg bands, bandoliers, aprons, belts, and acrylic works are the primary focus of the exhibition, which is part of a larger effort to teach math and science through art from South Africa.
By Julie DeLong, @UCCCF
“Look at all these choices - - I can eat my way around the world!" said a happy patron at The Wasatch International Food Festival, held by West Valley City on August 19 & 20 in partnership with the community and sponsors. It was created as a signature event at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center to bring people together in celebration of the vibrant diverse local cultures with world cuisines, music, arts, and community activities. Celebrity chef Viet Pham was on hand to explain and make delicious fried chicken on the Sysco Demonstration Stage and shared it with the audience afterwards.
For twelve years the centerpiece of the Dia de los Muertos was a traditional altar constructed by partner organization Una Mano Amiga. The altar, built entirely by UMA Director Rocio Mejia, her family, and close friends, was a dramatic spectacle honoring and paying tribute to the dead. The post-colonial style altar may be familiar to many, as it has been part of Mexican and other Central and South American countries Dia de los Muertos holiday for over 500 years. The three-tiered altar was a complete offering, with photos of deceased loved ones; arches & crosses; glasses of water and other beverages; food; salt; candles; mirrors; marigold flowers; colorful cut paper and other adornments. Like altars of its type, the heartfelt and beautiful display combined indigenous and Catholic iconography, all displayed to honor and pay respect to the dead.
From September 29 – October 1, the Utah Cultural Celebration Center hosts the Utah Division of State History’s annual conference. This year’s theme is “Rural Utah, Western Issues”, which conference organizers expect will highlight new, revised, or heretofore unknown histories of rural and western life for a twenty-first century public. Conference registration information can be found here.
Accompanying the 2016 Annual State History Conference is an exhibition of historic maps, owned by Salt Lake City businessman Stephen Boulay. Stephen’s fascination with maps and the stories they tell began three decades ago, and he has been collecting maps ever since. Stephen has accumulated one of the finest collections of maps dealing with the history of Utah. Some of Stephen’s most prized cartographical renditions show the territory from its sixteenth century imaginings, all the way to statehood in 1986.
By Susan Klinker
We love to spend time with fun and talented folks in our community! There’s so much to learn and share with one another, especially when we work together for a good cause!
Summer’s here and we have a heap of fun ahead coordinating all sorts of activities for the UCCC’s Summer Series. That includes everything from our WorldStage! Concerts, to the Wild West Round-up, to the Wasatch International Food Festival, Face of Utah Sculpture Exhibit, and the ARTrageous Program. Getting involved is fun and rewarding! You can even put your volunteer experience on your resume.