What is the Altar Exhibition and Competition?


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Creating an altar to honor the dead is one of the most important parts of Dia de los Muertos. Altars can be heartfelt and humorous, simple or extravagant. In addition to deceased family members and friends altars are constructed for departed pets, celebrities, and historical figures. The Sacred Altar Exhibition and Competition will showcase a variety of perspectives within the Dia de los Muertos tradition. Cash prize of $1000 to first place winning entries. Altar of Remembrance – There will also be a community altar where anyone who has lost a loved one is invited to leave a picture, personal note or other small item of remembrance.

Free to Participate

As part of San Pedro’s Dia de Los Muertos festival, the San Pedro Historic Waterfront Business Improvement District will be presenting an open-air exhibition of community altars that honor the deceased and/or explore the tradition of Dia de Los Muertos and other such rituals memorializing the dearly departed.

For those unfamiliar with this Holiday’s traditions, altars honor the deceased with food and oftentimes colorful and playful offerings. Tributes include everything from toys for children, photographs, special foods or other symbolic items that were meaningful prior to death.

Marigolds, also known as the flower of the dead (cempasúchil), are often used as well as colorful paper flowers, birds or skeletons. The images of the skeletons (calacas) are not meant to be scary, but instead mimick joyful moments, such as dancing.

Artists and community members are asked to submit altar concepts for consideration for the exhibition that will take place during the Festival on October 23rd, 2022. There is no charge to participate in the Sacred Altar Exhibition and Competition., but space is limited. Applications will be on a first come first serve basis.

Apply for 2022 Altar Competition

Download the application and fill it out! Please follow the instructions on the document on how to submit.

Rules, Guidelines and Instructions

  • A maximum of one 10' x 10' altar space and one (1) 8' folding table with two chairs will be provided to each artist.
  • No 10'x10' overhead canopies will be permitted.
  • Overhead lights will be provided.
  • Open flames (including candles) are strictly prohibited. Battery-operated candles are approved for use.
  • Artists whose entry is accepted for the exhibit will be notified immediately after receipt of application.

Judging will be based upon the following criteria:

  • Traditional approach or contemporary approach
  • Written dedication and meaning
  • Creativity and artistic design

**A $50.00 deposit is required to reserve your altar space. On the day of the event your deposit will be 100% refunded to you
Once your online submission is completed, an event staff member will reach out for deposit information**



  • 1st place winner - $1000