LOGANSPORT — Sugar skull drawings and shadowbox shrines will be lining the walls of the Logansport Art Association, 424 Front St., until Friday.
Rachel Ellington, director of the association, knew she wanted to have a Day of the Dead art exhibit when she saw the shrine exhibit at the Indianapolis Art Center in Broad Ripple.
“This event is new in Logansport and when I took the job here I knew I wanted to reach demographics that are under-tapped,” Ellington said. “I thought it would be good.”
Ellington said she wanted to have the event because people aren’t familiar with Day of the Dead. The exhibit has been available at the Logansport Art Association since Oct. 30.
“Some people hear Day of the Dead and picture creepy skeletons,” Ellington said. “It’s remembrance of loved ones, ancestors, family and friends.”
Amy Werner, an art teacher at Logansport High School, had two classes – 50 students – turn in sugar skull submissions. Werner said she assigned the exhibit to her classes and they spent two to three weeks drawing.
“A lot of kids knew what the exhibit stood for because it is their heritage,” Werner said. “I had to explain to some of them that’s it’s not the same as Halloween and it’s not about spiders, cobwebs or haunted houses.”
Werner, who serves on the art association board, said she explained there are a lot of flowers and bright colors involved.
Ellington said skeletons are a typical thing to see for Day of the Dead and a lot of people don’t understand.
“I want it to be a loving event and something special the whole community can embrace,” Ellington said. “My hope is to have more participation next year from Hispanic adults. We want to broaden participants by word of mouth.”
Ellington said she had submissions from the Logansport High School diversity club, Logansport High School art classes, members from the Logansport Art Association and the association’s art club and there were submissions from people in Kokomo and Indianapolis.
She said shrines, drawings and photography were submitted. The shrine exhibit is free.
Ellington said, as a part of the shrine exhibit, a blank canvas is available in the gallery and she said 4-by-4 pieces will be added to the mosaic with loved ones’ names or a small message. The community project will be permanently displayed in the gallery.
Werner said the exhibit was a great way to have work displayed in a non-pressure atmosphere. She said she sent all of the drawings in and didn’t pick and choose which to submit.
Werner said another teacher, Bryan Hole, assigned students to create a shrine of someone they care about, whether it was a celebrity, family member or friend. She said the students did a good job and it was important for them.
“We have a high Hispanic population and I thought it would be a good project for them to work on,” Werner said.
Ellington explained the importance of the exhibit.
“It shows diversity we have in our community,” Ellington said. “The learning and sharing of different cultures is important. It’s telling your story whether it’s photography, a shrine or painting and this was a way to do that.”
Since she became director in 2011, Ellington’s goal has been to make the Logansport Art Association an open house where people don’t need an invitation.
“The Art Association is Logansport’s best kept secret,” Ellington said. “I want people to know they don’t have to be a member to participate.”
Ellington said she wants the art association to continue to grow. She said the Shrine Exhibit and every project she began in 2012 will appear again in 2013.
Amie Sites is a reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5150 or firstname.lastname@example.org.