Over 300 people packed into the Richmond Art Center on Saturday to create and become bony creatures. The occasion was Skeletonfest, the RAC’s annual Day of the Dead and Halloween extravaganza. Kids, parents, and community members all gathered to celebrate the macabre holiday through creativity and culture.
“Skeletonfest helps bring our diverse community together around making art and being creative,” explains Teri Gardiner, Communications Director at the RAC. The festival, Gardiner explains, “weaves together the multicultural traditions of Day of the Dead and Halloween, with the skeleton being a unifying and recognizable icon of both holidays.”
The celebration included hundreds of skeletons in varying shapes and media. Large paper skeletons which hung from the walls, candy corn-covered sugar skulls, and screen-printed t-shirts were but a few. In the days leading up to Skeletonfest, Art Center volunteers hand made over 300 unique sugar skulls, and the festival’s events exploded this number.
At different points, Skeletonfest featured a live, spoken word story-telling event, mask making, and traditional Mexican paper cutting. Beyond a celebration of all things skeletal, the festival also served as a way to invite the public into a more creative setting.
“Kids and adults enjoyed getting creative and decorating these skulls with colored frostings and adornments,” says Gardiner. The Art Center offers the event and art materials for free to the public. Every year the attendance is greater, and it typically leads a few attendees to sign up for regular classes at the facility. “People are consistently amazed to learn that this large resource exists in the heart of Richmond.”
“These events create fun opportunities to experience the joy and creativity in hands-on art making, meet our instructors, and get a sneak peek at our studios in action,” explains Gardiner. Skeletonfest is but one of the many events the RAC offers throughout the year. Every event has its own unique theme, and each serves as a creative workshop open to the public.
On Saturday, with the rooms of the RAC stuffed with families, local creative spirits, and many, many skeletons, it was easy to see why the event was such a success. Between the festive celebration and the creative opportunity, the RAC opened up a connection to a different world. Based on the success of this year’s event, it looks like there will be many more Skeletonfests in the future.
To learn more about the Richmond Art Center and its events, click here.