By Justin Adams

DENVER (CBS4)– The Santa Fe Arts District, just like many other businesses, have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. In typical years, major events like Dia de Los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, would have filled the art district blocks with people.

(credit: Liz Levy)

“We have dancers, altars and all kind of community building experiences. We would have face Calaveras, face paintings,” Shaina Belton, Volunteer Executive Director of the arts district said. “Unfortunately, it’s one of our most amazing events of the year, but we’re just trying to reach out to our community and honor our past love ones.”

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This had been one of the challenges for Belton and business owners in the area. Originally artists were going to have a community altar for family and friends to gather and pray, but the public health order limiting those who can gather from 10 to five people, changed those plans.

“Not being able to do our large events has definitely impacted everyone, including us,” Belton said.

(credit: CBS)

With only a few days to readjust the plans, she partnered with other community leaders to hand out 200 bags on Saturday filled with items to not only honor the Mexican holiday, but to also help reignite the Santa Fe Arts District.

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“I’m hoping that people can start to reintegrate with our community and come down and building an altar at home and reconnecting with a free Día De Los Muertos kit is the start,” Belton said.

The kits are a way to bring people back to the Santa Fe Arts District, but there are other changes on the way to the area as well. Three artists, Jennifer Chaparro, Alexi High, and Bimmer Torres, will paint the street murals on the sidewalks.

Also, the Denver’s Department of Transportation & Infrastructure improved the safety of the sidewalks by narrowing the roadway and shortening crossing distances for people looking at the artwork along 6th to 12th Avenues.

(credit: CBS)

“I feel like this is us reaching back out and saying we love you we miss you. You’ve lost loved ones as well as ours so let pay honor to them and reconnect,” Belton said.

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Denver Arts Weekend, a CBS4 Sponsored Event, is from Nov. 6 through Nov. 8. Learn more at DenverArtsWeek.com.

Justin Adams