What do you get when you mix the pageantry of the Tournament of Roses with the art of Día de los Muertos? You get what you saw inside the Tournament House on Saturday, October 29.
There was art, live music, Aztec dancers, crafts for children and the construction of ofrendas – these altars of offerings that speak to the traditions of Latin American culture this season – the celebration of the dead, commemoration of their souls.
The featured art was submitted for the Tournament Association Art Contest. The idea was to bring together the historic pageantry of roses and civic engagement of the Tournament of Roses with a 3,000-year-old Mexican tradition that celebrates life with marigold flowers and artistic representations of generations.
On Saturday, the winners were honored.
Ultimately, the contest aimed to connect, encourage, and engage the creativity and artistic spirit of young people across Southern California.
Reduced from 500 submissions, the art was a rich assortment of color and imagination from 9 to 18, consisting of paintings and drawings of marigolds, monarch butterflies, or other depictions of the holiday; calaveras – the making and decorating of a sugar skull; ofrendas – the erection or construction of an altar; and catrina – the painting of a face with traditional Día de los Muertos makeup.
Over $7,000 in scholarships and cash prizes were awarded to winners in three age categories.
The winners were: Brisa Barreto, 8, San Rafael Elementary School; Mikhaella Salazar, 13, Palms College; and Andrea Minjarez, 17, Martin Luther King Jr. Early College. But there were several other finalists and honorable mentions whose work you can see at https://tournamentofroses.com/diadelosmuertos/.
The event – born in the first year of the pandemic as a way to engage the tournament Association’s volunteers and the community – was a natural link to the Association’s mission, officials said. .
“When you look at the construction of floats, everything is floral, and the Día de los Muertos holiday is really tied to that, just using marigolds instead of a rose,” the Association’s executive director said. David Eds. “Were excited.”
The stage itself was a stunning display of color against the Tournament House’s white exteriors.
There were the young artists’ artworks on display, but three ofrendas – not competition entries – also caught the eye. There was the altar honoring former Pasadena Councilman John J. Kennedy, who died suddenly in July. Kennedy was a founding member of the initial group that organized the first art competition. There was the Offering dedicated to the souls of the Tournament Association who paved the way for the Rose tradition, including former Grand Marshals, a Rose Queen and volunteers; and there was The Canto “TNT” Robledo Community Altar, honoring the soul of Canto Robledo, known as the first and only blind boxing manager and trainer in the United States, who would transition from his bantamweight career to the ring to life mentoring young people. His boxing gloves, a championship belt, his Hall of Fame poster all adorned the altar, which family and volunteers diligently decorated on Saturday morning.
“I felt extremely honored to just have the opportunity to share his story with Pasadena,” Canto’s son Joseph Robledo said.
The tournament partnered with the Mexican Consulate General in Los Angeles to announce the winners. The event was sponsored by Rose Hills Memorial Park and Mortuary and Telemundo, and the program was also partnered with the Pasadena Police Foundation, YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles, 360 Agency, Albertsons/Vons/Pavilions, The Greater LA Education Foundation, La Plaza de Cultura y Artes, Los Angeles Unified School District, Mercadito Monarca, Pasadena Unified School District Arts, Wife of the Party and Yankuititl.