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To honor Our Lady of Guadalupe, a celebrated Catholic icon of the Virgin Mary, the Denver Art Museum (DAM) is offering free general admission for three weeks starting Dec. 11 so the public can view a painting of one of Mexico's most beloved images.

"We want to celebrate the community with the image," said Clara Ricciardi, Spanish language and outreach coordinator for the DAM.

The colorful oil painting on copper was created in 1779 by Sebastian Salcedo. Surrounding Our Lady of Guadalupe in the painting are images that tell "The Miracle of Tepeyac," the story of when the Virgin appeared to the peasant Juan Diego in Central Mexico in 1531, said Ricciardi. The "Virgin of Guadalupe" painting is part of the museum's permanent collection and can be found in the pre-Columbian and Spanish colonial art galleries on the fourth floor of the North Building.

PDF: Our Lady of Guadalupe exhibit at the Denver Art Museum

    Our Lady of Guadalupe

    Download your free pass to view the Our Lady of Guadalupe exhibit at the Denver Art Museum. Imprima su boleto gratuito para la exhibición de una pintura de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe en el Museo de Arte de Denver.

"People can see these beautiful images and experience something that is so important to Mexicans, in particular," said Ricciardi.

There will also be entertainment to kick off the celebration on the day before the Virgin's feast day, Sunday, Dec. 11 from 2 to 4 p.m. The museum will host performances by Danza Matachina Guadalupana, Comparsa Morelos, Aplausos de Colorado Children's Chorale and One World Singers. Stop Time, members of the American Recorder Society, will tell the story, "The Miracle of Tepeyac" accompanied by flute and piano music at 3 p.m.

Spanish language tours will be available every Sunday during all three weeks of the event at 2 p.m., and participants will meet near the North Building welcome center.

The free general admission during the three-week celebration will grant people access to the entire museum, with the exception of ticketed exhibitions. Bilingual family activities will be available throughout the museum.

"It's family-friendly, so kids can come and be themselves. We encourage them to have fun and there are areas where they can get out energy and go wild while their parents take a little rest," said Ricciardi. Making music with instruments from the African gallery or building the Great Wall of China out of pillows are some of the activities for the kids, she added.

DAM's Our Lady of Guadalupe celebration has been an annual event since 2002 when Juan Diego was made a saint, said Ricciardi. The celebration is sponsored by DAM's Latino Outreach Committee, the Consulate General of Mexico, the Mexican Cultural Center and Scientific and Cultural Facilities District.

"We're glad to provide this experience for families free of charge," said Ricciardi.

To receive free general admission to the museum for the Our Lady of Guadalupe celebration, print and complete the flyer found at the top left of this article in Spanish or English. Only one flyer per family is needed and reservations are not required.

DAM hours are Tuesday-Sunday10 a.m.-5 p.m. The museum stays open until 8 p.m. on Fridays.

Suggested parking is at the Cultural Center Parking Garage on 12th and Broadway. Rates are posted at the entrance and begin at $1 per hour. Unattended parking lots and street meters are within walking distance of the museum. Handicap parking is available at assigned meters and inside the garage.

For more information visit denverartmuseum.org, call 720.913.0169 (bilingual), or email cricciardi@denverartmuseum.org (bilingual).