As October 31 draws near, communities are preparing to celebrate El Día de los Muertos, also known as Day of the Dead. The celebration, started by the Aztecs some 3,000 years ago, honors those who have passed with celebrations of their life, from midnight October 31 through November 2.
This year is a special El Día de los Muertos in South Park, with the installation of new neighborhood art that brings the culture alive.
The street art along 8th Ave S, near S Cloverdale St, enjoyed a grand opening this past weekend, as the final Pavement to Parks (P2P) program installation. Since 2015, the SDOT P2P program has converted 13 underutilized portions of city streets into vibrant community spaces, exceeding its goal of 12 parks over 3 years.
For the South Park project, the neighborhood committee requested design submissions and held a block party at which community members could anonymously vote on their favorite designs.
Out of 22 submissions, the winning design embraces the colorful memorials and expressive costumes that are part of Day of the Dead and remembering the spirits of deceased loved ones.
Close to home.
Our own Signs and Markings Crew Chief, Dahvee Enciso submitted design ideas, pulling inspiration from various sources. More specifically, Enciso wanted to make a tribute to his single mother who raised five children, then died unexpectedly a few years ago.
Enciso says he put his “heart and soul” into the South Park installation, “in remembrance of my mother, Eva.”
His grandparents were from Spain and Mexico and Encino says, his culture. “…embraces death and respects it as a sacred part of life.” He recognized the Pavement to Parks project as an opportunity to recognize that belief.
P2P installations are meant to be temporary installations of 2 to 3 years. In several locations, such as in South Park, installations are constructed using Thermoplastic, which can last 7-10 years.
All Pavement to Parks efforts have the potential to transition into more permanent uses based on the community’s long-term vision, needs, funding options, stewardship opportunities, and other considerations.
We are evaluating the future of each of the P2P projects to ensure that they are well-utilized and maintained, so they serve as community assets, drawing visitors and enhancing neighborhoods.