Mesa Arts Center is pleased to celebrate Día de los Muertos with an annual event created in collaboration with the community. Día de los Muertos is a celebration of Latin American art and culture related to the Mexican holiday, Day of the Dead. The annual free event offers a variety of features, performances and more in celebration of the memories of the deceased.  


Los espíritus se entrelazarán durante la celebración anual del Día de los Muertos en el Mesa Arts Center. Los visitantes se han deleitado cada año con maravillosos espectáculos en vivo por parte de destacados artistas. 




Visit our YouTube channel to enjoy the performances, art, demonstrations, family activities and more from our 2020 virtual Día de los Muertos festival. See the Día de los Muertos video playlist.


Day of the Dead altars, also known as ofrendas (offerings), are constructed and adorned to remember, honor and please the dead, are a central symbol of Día de los Muertos.


In the spirit of traditional Día de los Muertos festivities, a community altar will be the centerpiece for the festival, where attendees can leave mementos in honor of their loved ones who have passed. Photographs will be collected and added on the altar each year or can be picked up by 5:00 PM on Sunday, Oct 23.


Our 2022 Día de los Muertos Festival altar was created by Artist Luis Estrada.




Elements of the Altar and their Significance 

Arches: Passageways between life and death

Candles: Light, Faith and Hope

Flowers: Remind us that life does not endure

Traditionally: Cempasuchil - Marigolds - Mano de Leon - Cockscomb - Lions Paw

Incense: Cleans the space of negativity

Traditionally: Copal

Ofrendas: General items for the offerings put on the altar

Water: Life and purity, satisfies the thirst of the spirit

Relaxed hour at Día de los Muertos

Sun, Oct 22 | 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM

Located on the Mesa Arts Center Campus


What to expect:

The hour offers a more comfortable Día de los Muertos Festival experience with reduced sensory stimuli. Guests are welcome to use their own or Mesa Arts Center-provided fidgets, ear protection and other sensory resources (supply limited).


Relaxed Hour has:

  • Fewer people and crowds
  • Self-guided tour of altars
  • Reduced lighting and less amplified sound
  • Access to vendors with minimal lines*
  • A chill-out space to relax in
  • Food allergy-friendly snacks
  • Hands-on art-making activities led by specialist artists with expertise in working with youth and adults with additional needs.


*Please note: some vendors may not be open

  • Remarkable artist demos
  • Delicious food
  • Fun family activities
  • Altar Contest with submissions from the community
  • Over a DOZEN cultural performances and live music & entertainment
  • Incredible Mercado Market Place with arts & crafts, jewelry, furniture, and MORE+
  • Participation in the memories of the deceased with the community altar

Vendor applications are closed!






Thank you for your interest in participating in the 2023 Día de los Muertos Altar Contest! This invitation is open to the general public until Fri, Sep 22 at 5:00 PM (or until spaces
are filled). English Altar Contest Rules and Guidelines. Spanish Altar Contest Rules and Guidelines.


Due to limited space, a maximum of 20 altar applications will be accepted.



FREE Papier-mâché Sugar Skull Workshop




Make your own Papier-mâché Sugar Skull at this year’s Día de los Muertos Festival. This workshop is designed for all ages above 8 years old. Adult supervision is required for kids under 12 years old. Workshops by Oscar Becerra Mora and Ruben Miguel Castillo Navarrete.


Reserve your seat!



FREE Alebrije Mask (Máscaras de Alebrije) Workshop




Make your own magical creature (Alebrije) at this year's Día de los Muertos Festival. This workshop is designed for all ages above 8 years old. Adult supervision is required for kids under 12 years old. Workshops by Oscar Becerra Mora and Ruben Miguel Castillo Navarrete.


Reserve your seat!




Skull Enameling Class - $10




In this hands-on activity, participants will have the chance to decorate their own copper enamel skull with colorful beads that will be melted and affixed to the skull with fire by lead Jewelry Instructor, Jenny Vaughn. Have fun mixing patterns and creating designs on the white skull to resemble a traditional calavera from Día de Los Muertos! After which you can keep the skull as a pendant or ornament.


Get tickets!

Please be advised: the main parking lots at Mesa Arts Center will be closed to accommodate the Mercado vendors and the food court for the festival, and street parking will be busy. Nearby parking options are available throughout downtown Mesa. Please review the parking map to find parking options. The Light Rail also offers nearby park and ride options. We recommend parking at the park & ride near Main Street and Mesa Drive and riding the Light Rail to the Main and Center Street stop. Find more Light Rail information here. Please note that the Light Rail ride does have an associated fee.  

Alliance Pavilion Stage

Sat, Oct 21


Mariachi Estrella Musicales

10:00 AM - 2:00 PM


Mariachi Aguila

2:00 PM - 5:00 PM



Alliance Pavilion Stage

Sun, Oct 22


Mariachi Torres

10:00 - 1:00 PM


Mariachi Rubor

1:00 PM - 3:00 PM


Ballet Folklorico La Llorona

3:00 PM - 5:00 PM



South Lawn Stage

Sat, Oct 21


Gustavo Angeles

10:00 AM - 12:00 PM


Medio Pinto Band

12:00 PM - 2:00 PM


Carmela y Mas

2:00 PM - 5:00 PM


South Lawn Stage

Sun, Oct 22


Las Calakas

10:00 AM - 12:00 PM


Andres Martinez & Ritmo Latino Band

12:00PM - 2:00 PM


Mariachi Pasion

2:00 PM - 5:00 PM



The Plaza at Mesa City Center

Sat, Oct 21


Ballet Folklorico Amistad

10:00 AM - 12:00 PM


Primovera Folklorico Dance Company

12:00 PM - 2:00 PM


Ballet Folklorico Quetzalli - AZ

2:00 PM - 3:00 PM


Mariachi Sones del Desierto

3:00 PM - 5:00 PM



The Plaza at Mesa City Center

Sun, Oct 22


Edith Maynez

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM


Ballet Folklorico Viva Arizona

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM


Chandler High School Los Lobos

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM


Institue de Folklor Mexicano

1:00 PM - 3:00 PM


Mariachi Sones del Desierto

3:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Mesa Arts Center’s Día de los Muertos Festival concludes in a processional, led by Desert Sounds. We invite the community to join us in the procession through the Mesa Arts Center campus.

Sunday, October 22
Procession Start Location: South Lawn Stage

4:15 PM – Begin to gather and pick up your candles
4:30 PM – Candle lighting and beginning of procession
4:45 PM – Procession concludes at the Community Altar, presentations and remarks from Mayor John Giles, Consul General Jorge Yescas, Arizona Congressman Greg Stanton, Vice Mayor Heredia, Councilmembers Duff and Acting Director Mandy Tripoli.


Volunteer activities include assisting with set-up and clean-up, artist interactives, greeting and directing the public, line monitoring, providing crowd control and assisting with volunteer hospitality.


Volunteers must be 16 years old or older.


Sign up here!


Please email with any questions!

Mesa Arts Center: Sensory Friendly Spaces for Families with members (both children and adults) with Sensory Processing Disorders and (SPD) and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).


Multi-Sensory Room at Festivals and Major Events

A sensory room is a multi-sensory space to help individuals feel calm, supported, and focused. These spaces are designed to have a calming effect that reduces anxiety and improves focus. Both calming and stimulating items are provided in sensory rooms to help support an individual’s sensory needs in the moment. The sensory room is also a space for families to connect and find an aligned community.

Mesa Arts Center provides designated sensory spaces at all festivals and major events to create a more welcoming, safe, and comfortable Sensory-Friendly Environment to make attending events less overwhelming and more enjoyable for the entire family.

Our sensory room is located on the 2nd floor of the Studios South Building, see our festival map to locate or ask our information booth for directions.


Mesa Arts Center Sensory Room accommodations include:

  • Reduced volume levels and noise-redacting headphones
  • Modifications to lighting
  • Weighted blankets
  • Comfortable seating (pillows, plush rugs)
  • Wholesome Snacks (gluten, dairy, and dye free options)
  • Tactile games, fidgets, toys, and squishes
  • Coloring and drawing station
  • An ancillary "calm room" for any child or adult seeking a break from stimulation to regulate their emotions and relax.


Calm Spaces at Mesa Arts Center

A calm space is a quiet room for any child or adult seeking a break from stimulation to regulate their emotions and relax in a low-sensory environment.

Calm Spaces are always available at Mesa Arts Center upon request. To request access to a calm space:

  • Please see the house manager in the theater building.
  • Please see the receptionist in Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum.
  • Please visit the information booth at community events and festivals.
  • Please visit the box office.
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