By Marissa Armas

DENVER (CBS4) – Denver Arts Week is officially underway, and organizers said in that time they’re expecting to host about 300 art events and happenings around the city. The week long celebration started with a night of performances and open galleries put together by the 40 West Arts District in Lakewood.

Liz Black, the executive director of the organization said Denver Arts Week is about exploration in art.

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“When people come to our district, we really want them to celebrate the art in all forms,” said Black. “We want it to be a family friendly experience, and to really excite and encourage folks in their artistic exploration, and in the ways they’re able to see and partake and engage in the arts in all forms.”

Denver Arts Week also falls in line with the end of Día de Los Muertos, also know as Day of the Dead in English. Organizers said the celebration is a way to not only talk about Latino culture, but also different forms of art, like Aztec dancers. Scholars say Día de los Muertos is actually a tradition which traces back to the Aztec civilization.

“They open with the four directions. They salute the four directions. They call in their ancestors. They call for the ‘palabra,’ the permission to lay down the prayers, because each dance you’re going to see is actually a prayer,” said Renee Fajardo, the Chicano Humanities Arts Council chair.

(credit: CBS)

One of the galleries opened on Friday night showcased vibrant altars put together for the Pirate gallery’s Day of the Dead show. Students at schools around the city created the altars, representing people that they knew who have died or well-known celebrities who’ve passed away. Craig Robb, one of the curators of the project told CBS4, they’ve been partnering with local schools to create these altars for several years now.

“It’s the celebration of life, especially in the last couple of years like how depressing it’s been, and how hard it’s been. Here’s an opportunity this year to come out and celebrate everything, you know not just the passing people, but just being around each other and enjoying each other,” Robb said.

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Many of the Denver Arts Week events are free for the community. The events run throughout Nov. 13.

Marissa Armas