Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue

The Spirit of Día de los Muertos – Centro Hispano de East Tennessee

Group Bio

Centro Hispano de East Tennessee’s mission is to connect, integrate, and empower the Latino community through education and engagement, information and referral services, and community strengthening initiatives. Centro’s Youth and Family Engagement department oversees after school enrichment programs at five sites and serves approximately 375 youth and family members each year.

In Spring of 2022, we partnered with the Cattywampus Puppet Council at each of our afterschool sites to create paper mâché alebrijes to celebrate Mexican cultural heritage. The children worked with artists from Cattywampus over eight weeks to design, build, and paint large colorful puppets which were then featured in a community parade during the Big Ears Music Festival in March 2022.

This fun, messy, collaborative process was a great way for our kids to engage with hands-on learning about an important Latin American cultural art form.

What inspired you all to create this installation?

Our inspiration for this installation was Day of the Dead’s world-famous iconography and its unique perspective on life and death. Even though its traditions include all kinds of references to the dead, the colors and designs are extremely lively, emphasizing the idea that life is made most vibrant by the knowledge that death is a part of it. Día de los Muertos is not nearly as popular in the rest of Latin America as it is in Mexico, but images such as calaveras and marigolds are instantly recognizable to people from many different cultures.

What do you want people to know or learn about Día from your installation?

Día de los Muertos dates back thousands of years, all the way to the Toltecs, Mixtecs, Zapotecs, Maya, and Aztecs. Día de los Muertos is primarily celebrated in Mexico or by people of Mexican descent. It is a tradition that emphasizes death as a key part of the life cycle, and the day itself is meant to be an opportunity for the living and the dead to “meet” again. To many Mexican families, it is a very special day of the year when those who have passed are honored, remembered, and celebrated.


Please click on the photos in the gallery below to learn more about each image!

Centro Hispano de East Tennessee Afterschool Program Group Members


Belle Morris

Brayden Zelaya
Alexis Otero Ortiz
Yonel Otero Ortiz
Alexander Velazquez Jimenez
Dominic Lopez
Jose Lopez
Brianna Lopez
Lester Amador
Hashly Davila Lopez
Snayder Davila Lopez
Kellyn Corea Menendez
Stefany Calles
Esly Anthonella Menjivar


Mayra Hernandez Nicolas
Ariana Peralta
Candelaria Francisco Diego
Micaela Pascual Francisco
Miguel Serrano Reyes
Ezequiel Bartolome
Estefany Vicente Jose
Mariano Morales Meraz
Alisson Diego Andres
Zoilia Rivera Andres


Jonathan Osorio
Pedro Gonzalez Perez
Belinda Vicente Perez
Keyli Gonzalez Tista
Magali Tovar Carreon
Santiago Guerrero Ortiz


Alan Felipe Martinez
Brayan Gutierrez
Mike Pascual Francisco
Tomas Pascual Francisco
Ana Liazbeth Pascual Diego
Eleany Samantha Monge Villatoro
Carlos Diaz Monje
Angie Turcios
Alejandro Turcios
Walter Isaac Pineda
Alexandra Lainez
Junior Martinez
Jennifer Santos Villanueva
Ellie Diego-Andres


Luciana Vargas
Abner Isaac Vasquez Lopez
Sandra Baltazar
Fabio Espinosa
Briana Hernandez
Derek Soto Escoto
Daylin Sawers
Ana Hernandez
Ian Reyes
Derick Pina
Keylor Lopez
Andre Oviedo
Rita Guerrero
Andrea Monge Nataren
Victoria Rojas
Gabriel Leyton Ortiz