By Maureen Post Special to Published Nov 14, 2008 at 1:48 PM Photography: Maureen Post

The Day of the Dead is over this year but you can still celebrate the "Dia de los Muertos" exhibit for another week. In honor of the November Mexican holiday, the United Community Center and Latino Arts aptly host this mix of artistic expression, cultural awareness and ancestral celebration.

It's available only during the week but you're looking for a great way to start the weekend tonight or cap off the work day next week, I highly recommend it.

The ofrendas -- or shrines -- which are astonishingly vibrant upon entering the gallery, range from the literal to the imagined. Created by high school students, community advocates, international, regional and local artists, each "Dia de los Muertos" altar commemorates life through a remarkably personal lens. The works display an intimate understanding and reveal individual perception and adaptation in a way very few touring or national exhibits are capable of doing.

Shrines honor a range of personal ties; from idealistic connections to the works of Picasso and Van Gogh to heart wrenching memorials of lost spouses and grandparents. And while the subject matter may be dark, the vibrant creativity is not. 

The "Dia de los Muertos" exhibit invokes an eerily inviting balance between the living and the deceased. Articulated through ghostly skeletons and vividly dressed catrinas, each work pushes the usage of mixed materials; creating works of complex, visual depth.

You can find the "Dia de los Muertos" exhibit in the main gallery of the United Community Center, 1028 S. 9th St., from 9 a.m to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. Admission is free.

Maureen Post Special to staff writer Maureen Post grew up in Wauwatosa. A lover of international and urban culture, Maureen received a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

After living on the east side of Madison for several years, Maureen returned to Milwaukee in 2006.

After a brief stint of travel, Maureen joined as the city’s oldest intern and has been hooked ever since. Combining her three key infatuations, Milwaukee’s great music, incredible food and inspiring art (and yes, in that order), Maureen’s job just about fits her perfectly.

Residing in Bay View, Maureen vehemently believes the city can become fresh and new with a simple move across town.