October 27 – November 18, 2023
The Altar America Project is a celebration of cross-cultural ancestor remembrance and an art exhibition.
The mission of the Altar America Project is to alter America for the better and we believe we can achieve this goal by bringing communities together through art, culture, and history.
Art Works is having a call-for-entries for this exhibit to create altars. The aim is for the greater Richmond community to see these examples, and become inspired to engage in their own, culturally relevant acts of remembrance. The exhibition opens on October 27th followed by a cultural celebration day on November 5th. This exhibit will be in the Centre Gallery and continues through November 18, 2023.
Cultural Celebration November 5th, 2023
The cultural celebration will be held at Art Works. Enjoy music, performances, speakers and meet the altar artists. This event is free and open to the public. 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
These events are sponsored by The Sustainable Culture Lab, Art Works and RVA Thriving Artists.
More about the Altar America Project
For generations, cultures from around the world have erected altars and ancestor remembrance practices to enrich their communities, strengthen their culture, and ensure that the memories and stories of their departed loved ones are never forgotten. Tragically, the United States has never embraced these practices, but we desperately need to so that we can collectively heal, grow, and come together to cope with the trauma of loss. The rise in gun-related deaths and attacks on communities of color shows how urgently we need the Altar America Project.
In recent years, the awareness of Day of the Dead, or Día de los Muertos, has grown exponentially in the United States, but the growth of an American ancestor remembrance practice cannot consist of merely partaking in another culture’s practice. Instead, we must appreciate, and not appropriate, Día de los Muertos and use it as an inspiration for creating an American safe space for the diversity of this nation to come together and both share the remembrance practices of their cultures and also combine and create new practices to represent the ever-evolving diversity of this nation. The Altar America Project creates this safe space.
The Altar America Project creates this environment by partnering with art galleries and artists and commissioning them to produce altars that express their culture, and celebrate ancestors, departed loved ones, and cultural icons who have passed away. The artists provide both inspiration and a template for the public to create their own altars and engage in the practice. In Richmond, The Sustainable Culture Lab is partnering with Art Works for this celebration.
In addition to the artists, the Altar America Project engages community members and leaders to create altars and partake in the celebration, so that this profound cultural shift can start taking root and bringing communities together.
Each year, this project will expand to more and more cities, and we will all be able to witness the altaring of America.