Annual, Special and Cultural Events


Since 1973, Self Help Graphics & Art (SHG) has developed spaces for artists and community to collaboratively create, learn and grow. One of the many ways in which SHG has achieved this has been through organizing annual, special and cultural events such as longstanding programs; Día de los Muertos, Annual Print Fair & Exhibition, Artist Marketplaces, along with hosting ephemeral events and programs such as Los Punks film screening, Peel Here (by Sticky Ricks), Mujeres de Maiz annual exhibitions and workshops, The Vex, Indigenous Hip Hop Gathering, Mexica New Year, The Farce of July (by Xicano Records & Film), The East LA Society of Film & Arts film screenings, among many other community events.


Día de los Muertos | Day of the Dead

For 43 years Self Help Graphics & Art (SHG) has organized one of the most popular Día de los Muertos events in Los Angeles and perhaps the oldest Day of the Dead commemoration in the country. Self Help Graphics & Art is unique in that it provides the community with a season of activities from August to November, to celebrate and prepare for Día de los Muertos. The season of activities includes the participation of over 50 community organizations, 150 plus volunteers and over 15,000 attendees.


SHG’s Día de los Muertos Season begins with Community Art Workshops, held every Saturday in October at which participants and families create traditional crafts to honor the dead. It also features the production of a commemorative limited edition fine art serigraph (print) to be premiered at the annual exhibition. Furthermore, over 40 community partners participate in the creation of 40 plus altars including Self Help’s Community Altar that is built during Noche de Ofrenda (Community Altar Night). Not only is Noche de Ofrenda a chance to remember and honor those who have passed, it is also a way to bring the community together in remembrance. The season culminates at SHG’s Annual Día de los Muertos Celebration held on or near November 2. The celebration includes a procession and blessing along with art, craft vendors, music, food and workshops for the community. 

Día de los Muertos is the post-modern celebration of the Americas! – Joel Garcia


History-The revival of the indigenous holiday Día de los Muertos was part of the Mexican-American reclamation of indigenous identity, an important social aspect of the Chicano Movement. Self Help played an integral role in the holiday’s revival in California. The first celebration was in 1972, and today, the Day of the Dead is one of Los Angeles’s major celebrations. The event has not only been the occasion to learn about the important role that heritage and tradition play in defining who we are, but has also been used to make artistic and political statements. In 1974, the Chicano conceptual and performance group ASCO took advantage of the opportunity to confront a by-then entrenched social and political culture with an irreverent “invasion”. In the midst of ceremonies attended by Los Angeles’s political elite, Harry Gamboa, Jr., Patssi Valdez, Gronk, and Willie Herrón were “delivered” in a giant envelope marked postage due. According to the artist group, “Day of the Dead can mean a lot of different of things, and it doesn’t necessarily mean paper cutouts, skull heads. We can invent it, what it means to us.”

  • Main Celebration: On November 2, participants, many of whom paint their faces as Calaveras take part in a public procession where life size calaveras, personal and family items are carried and offered to the deceased family members at a large Community Altar. The procession and traditional blessing kicks off a festive celebration with arts, craft and food vendors, musical performances, face painting, and children’s art workshops. Over 10,000 guests enjoy a community gathering that celebrates community, life and death.


  • Commemorative Print and Exhibition: Every year Self Help Graphics selects an artist to create a limited edition serigraph to commemorate the year’s Dia de los Muertos Celebration and to curate a group exhibition based on that year’s theme. In the past couple of years, Self Help Graphics has had artist/curators such as Patssi Valdez, Slanguage, Jose Ramirez, and Diane Gamboa.


  • Free Community Art Workshops (October): Every Saturday in October, Self Help Graphics offers the following Dia de los Muertos Community Art Workshops. All materials and teachers are provided by Self Help Graphics & Art! Please be on time, wear clothes that are not too precious, enjoy a Saturday afternoon of fun & tradición with new friends and old ones too. Free for the entire familia! Information on specific workshops is forthcoming.


  • Noche de Ofrenda: A day of art workshops concludes with the construction of a large community altar at Self Help Graphics & Art’s Noche de Ofrenda at Grand Park. Over the past three years SHG has partnered with Grand Park to expand the reach of this beautiful community altar night with over 40 plus organizations, partners and artists installing altars of all kinds. Led by premier altar-maker and community resident, Ofelia Esparza, participants are invited to place their newly created offerings or those brought from home together in creating a community altar for display throughout our Dia de los Muertos festivities. This inspirational and important art of traditional altar making serves as a way for the community to contribute their memories with special tokens of remembrance. Poetry readings, Pan de Muerto and Xocolatl will also be a part of this special evening.

Other Events

Annual Print Fair & Exhibition

Art lovers of all kinds—from casual admirers to serious collectors—are invited to attend Self Help Graphics & Art’s Annual Print Fair and Exhibition. Held on the last Saturday of June every year, Self Help Graphics & Art’s Annual Print Fair is a one-day only opportunity for art lovers to acquire new, limited edition, fine art prints created by dozen of artists at Self Help Graphics & Arts during the year. The Annual Print Fair & Exhibition is a highly anticipated showcase filled with panel presentations, demonstrations, and an opportunity for artists that have participated through Self Help Graphics & Art’s Professional Printmaking Program to show off their work created throughout the year. This event draws hundreds of people to SHG, giving the artists a chance to exhibit their artwork on a large scale. The Annual Print Fair & Exhibition helps provide funding for the Día de los Muertos Season.


JUNE 24 , 2017 | 12pm to 5pm at SHG


Artist Marketplaces

In support of local artists, Self Help Graphics & Art holds multiple craft and art fairs that feature adorable and distinctive art, jewelry, housewares, clothing and crafts by local artists and artisans. New and vintage monoprints, etchings and limited edition silkscreen prints from Self Help Graphics & Art are also available on this dates of local, cause-related shopping. The Holiday Marketplace and the Mercadito de Amor are offer an opportunity to get a meaningful and unique gift, just in time for the holiday season, while supporting local artists and small businesses. The Holiday Marketplace features demonstrations, workshops, and artists’ talks for those in attendance.


DECEMBER 10, 2016 | 12pm to 5pm at SHG

FEBRUARY 11, 2017 | 12pm to 5pm at SHG