For one-and-a-half weeks in October starting next Wednesday, a colorful, visually astounding - if often misunderstood - celebration of life takes center stage at Tacoma Art Museum. Dia de los Muertos, often misconstrued as "Mexico's Halloween," is filled with a juxtaposition of skulls and skeletons, joy and music, and sometimes even humor as people honor their departed friends and relatives. 

In Tacoma, that honoring takes the form of art.

Through tapate (sand painting) and ofrendas (decorated altars), local artists pay homage to Dia de los Muertos traditions, and the loved ones they've lost.

Starting next week on Wednesday, Oct. 20 and running through Sunday, Oct. 31, more than a dozen ofrendas will be decorated by community members with flowers, candles, clay figurines, skeletons and representation of nourishment for the spirits on their journey home. In addition, artists will create a traditional tapete with pigmented sand on the floor of the museum, turning the museum into a celebration center for Dia de los Muertos, as it has been for the last 16 years.

Drop by the museum to revel in the powerful symbolism that's a part of Latinx culture throughout North America and now around the world.