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Latino students prepare to celebrate Dia de los Muertos

This Wednesday, students at Miami will wash off the fake blood and remove the black cat ears from Halloween festivities, but spookiness will still be in the air at the Dia de los Muertos celebration. The celebration has been organized by Miami’s Center for American and World Cultures for the past six years and offers a way for Miami students from all across Latin America to remember their dead and celebrate their culture. Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, originated around 3,000 years ago in present-day Mexico. Today, festive parades and public parties are held to commemorate the dead. Flowers, food and water are also placed on the graves of deceased loved ones as offerings. The holiday is often thought of as solely Mexican; however, countries all across Latin America and the Caribbean celebrate their own versions. This year, the Dia de los Muertos event at Miami will have a different spin on it. “Because of all of the natural disasters — the hurricanes and earthquakes, and even political issues — this year is about pain and healing,” said Silvia Rothschild, the Latino Community Outreach Coordinator at Miami. “It’s commemorating the fact that so many lives have gone and how people are reacting, and also how people have helped.” About 4 percent of students enrolled at Miami’s Oxford campus in 2016 identified as Latino, according...

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Published authors return to Miami for reading

Three recently published novelists visited Miami’s campus last Tuesday. Jessie Chaffee, Dave Essinger and Brendan Kiely read excerpts from their most recent publications. Two of the authors, Essinger and Kiely, are Miami alumni who graduated in 1998. Chaffee’s novel, “Florence in Ecstasy,” revolves around Hannah, a recent college grad who flees to Florence, Italy, on a mission of recovery from a deadly eating disorder. The excerpt Chaffee read details a time that Hannah stumbles upon the Basilica of San Domenico in Siena and finds the frescoes depicting the life of St. Catherine, who starved herself for god. This knowledge leaves Hannah with a new outlook on her own illness. Kiely’s novel, “The Last True Love Story,” follows the lives of two teens, Hendrix and Corrina, who are on a mission to take Hendrix’s Alzheimer’s-stricken grandfather to his old home in New York. Kiely says that “The Last True Love Story” is directly related to his personal experience with his grandfather who died of Alzheimer’s. “I went on a wacky adventure with him that was ill-advised and overly romanticized, and this novel is a response to that,” said Kiely. Finally, Dave Essinger’s “Running Out” is an adventure novel about a pair of long-distance ultra-runners and their infant daughter who get stranded in the Canadian wilderness after a plane crash. The protagonist, Dan, sets off on a multi-day journey running across...

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Professional artists come to campus for lecture series

Some of the most interesting working artists in the area are coming to Miami’s campus this fall as part of the Contemporary Art Forum. The forum, which is currently in its fourth year, doubles as a one-credit hour lecture course, ART 281, that is offered every semester. Students in the Department of Art are required to take the class three times in order to graduate. The course is also available on a pass/fail basis to non-majors interested in the subject matter. Each semester, the Department of Art faculty reach out to artists around the country to speak for this lecture series about their own experiences in the art world. The purpose of this semester’s forum is to allow undergraduate art majors at Miami to come in touch with working artists in all fields from sculpture, to fashion design, to environmental art. Tracy Featherstone — an artist, the Foundation’s Coordinator at the Department of Art and the woman in charge of the forum — knows how important this is to students exploring the field. “I think when art students come to college, they tend to know some about traditional renaissance art and things like that, but they know very little about artists that are practicing now,” Featherstone said. “So that’s why the focus is on contemporary art because we want to get people that are alive that can talk about...

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