Día de los Muertos Installation: Opening the Gates

We were so honored to host the Día de los Muertos installation “Opening the Gates” November 1-7. As we remembered the lives that were lost in both Ulvade, Buffalo and beyond, we also honored and celebrated them. Thank you @theartistbaker and @shopcollyflowers for such personal and heartfelt details that tied so beautifully to the victims. We shared such a special evening with the community that transcended differences and cultures and brought us together in solidarity. Click the image above to see a quick video from our opening event. 

In addition to the press release below, here are a couple articles:

MorristownGreen.com: Opening the Gates: A bittersweet celebration in Morristown
MorristownGreen.com: Opening the Gates: Morristown shopkeepers create altar to victims of Uvalde and Buffalo shootings

The Artist Baker employees including owner, Andrea Lekberg (far left front) creating elements of the ‘Opening the Gates’ altar to be installed next week from November 1 – November 7 at 14 Maple Avenue. Photos compliments of Andrea Lekberg.

In collaboration with The Artist Baker and Colly Flowers, Morris Arts is proud to be the host location of the Day of the Dead Installation: Opening the Gates/Instalacion del Día de los Muertos: Abriendo las Puertas. Coinciding with el Día de los Muertos, the ‘Opening the Gates’ piece will be created in remembrance and celebration of the lives of those who were killed at the Uvalde, Texas and Buffalo, New York shootings—both occurred in May within a week of each other. On Tuesday, November 1 from 5:30–7:30PM, the public is invited to join Morris Arts, The Artist Baker and Colly Flowers at Morris Arts’ lobby at 14 Maple Avenue in Morristown to visit the altar and enjoy a small celebration reception in the Gallery at 14 Maple space on floor 3.  

The Artist Baker and Colly Flowers have created an installation that goes beyond cultures and celebrates the lives that were lost. The altar will include homemade sugar skulls and photographs along with personalized illustrations tied to the victim’s interests – all adorned with beautiful flowers. Attendees are encouraged to bring a small offering.

The Artist Baker owner, Andrea Lekberg states, “These shootings (and others) transcend differences and cultures. They send a heavy sadness to all of us. In Lakota teachings, we are all relatives. We look to this installation and this community gathering to be part of the process of mourning. Having this altar in place for the week puts a lot into perspective and allows us to remember to celebrate those we have lost – you will see fun and colorful elements in the piece to reflect that.”

Colly Flower shop owner, Kori Gervasio comments on her involvement with the installation, “As a passionate advocate for gun control, it was a no-brainer when Andrea asked me to collaborate on this. I’m honored to be able to express our collective grieving through art and flowers and hope this piece will forever leave an impact on those who visit.”

The Day of the Day/El Día de los Muertos is a Mexican Holiday celebrated October 31st through November 2nd where families welcome back the souls of their relatives. These days the deceased are treated as honored guests and the border between the spirit world and the real-world dissolves. According to tradition, the gates of heaven are opened at midnight on October 31st and the spirits of the children can rejoin their families for 24 hours, and thus November 1st is ‘All Saints’ Day’. The spirits of the adults can do the same on November 2nd, ‘All Souls’ Day’.

Morris Arts Executive Director, Tom Werder adds, “This type of event is exactly what we aspire to achieve through our mission to build community through the arts. There’s nothing better than seeing local businesses collaborate, create art and gather in a space to enjoy and reflect on that art as a community. We are delighted to provide spaces, resources and/or connections like ‘Opening the Gates’ to more local organizations and businesses in the future.”


The installation is open to visit through Monday, November 7th during normal business hours.