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Company : Northgate Gonzalez Market
Program category : Youth Development Programs


In search of the next Freda Kahlo or Jose Guadalupe Posada, Northgate Market calls for high school and college students to enter its Día de los Muertos-themed Art Contest. The idea behind the year’s theme. “Traditions, Culture, and Pride” emphasizes the importance of cultural and family traditions. Día de los Muertos lies deep within Mexico’s rich heritage and reminds people to honor and remember those loved ones who have passed.

Northgate’s all about traditions where we encourage our youth to express their talents through art. We just hosted our 2nd annual art contest in June 2022.  The students submit the artwork to our website. There are multiple levels of judging; including judges from art museums, vendor partners, community leaders and Northgate owners. The top 3 winning students receive scholarships and their artwork goes on our reusable bags distributed at register level during 2nd half of October into early November to remind community about Día De Los Muertos. 

In addition, Northgate hosted workshops for high school students with leaders to empower our youth in education, giving back to community, entrepreneurship and culinary skills. Hosted our 5th year workshop in March with Congressman Correa focused on entrepreneurship. In partnership with Kid Healthy in April we hosted our 9th annual Cooking up Change high school culinary competition encouraging students to create healthy school lunches that can be served in their school cafeterias. In late April we hosted Visionary Day in our Riverside store community room with Councilmember Perry.


Northgate Gonzalez Market is committed to the communities we serve with one of our pillars being education. Our Familia Gonzalez Reynoso Foundation gives over $200,000 annually in scholarships to youth. Día de los Muertos Art Contest allows us to highlight our youth talent through traveling art shows in our stores and at community events like Hollywood Forever. Over 1 million Día de los Muertos reusable bags were distributed in late October 2021 throughout all Northgate stores at register level. Art contest offers prizes and or scholarships for top 15 students.

In youth workshops the owners share their family story of hard work and faith on the success of their company. In addition, they share a meal with the students and speak on opportunities to work at Northgate and or how to apply for scholarships.  With Cooking up Change culinary program the Familia Gonzalez Reynoso Foundation has been providing scholarships for the past 8 years and host event at our corporate office since 2012.  In the past culinary students have opportunity for paid internships in our stores and eventually become associates of Northgate Gonzalez Market.


Día de los Muertos Art Contest allows Northgate Gonzalez Market to emphasize the importance of cultural and family traditions through student art, helping students honor their loved ones who have passed.  

Youth workshop objective is to share the Gonzalez family story of hard work, how important education is to our company and the community. As well as sharing commitment to help empower our youth in hopes they will become great leaders in our communities we serve.


Art contest program allows students to express themselves and complete their piece by writing about what inspired them to create their artwork. Over 180 submissions in the past two years, contest started in 2021. Our customers and associates love the artwork from students on the bags, they are currently still using the 2021 art contest reusable bags when buying their groceries. 

“My grandmother and I are drawn facing back to back, dancing in dresses meant to reflect traditional folklorico gowns. The girl on the left (myself) wears magenta ribbons in her braid. My grandmother is represented as a skeleton as she has passed and is who I cherish in Día de Los Muertos. She is placed near morning glories and lilies which are both colored in hues of purple as it is a symbol of things my grandmother liked.” 

— First Place Winner, 2022: Emily Mendoza Ponce

“We present their favorite drinks/food to the table as I showcase my abuelito Moy and Rebecita who were taken by a stroke and cancer. I payed them a tribute by recreating their stacked grave surrounded by my other family members. I drew the ofrenda surrounded by hundreds of the famous cempasúchil flores above them. The butterfly skulls symbolize how the afterlife consists of a stairway to the gates of heaven, where they are greeted by a glowing light. I have faith my grandparents are in a lovelier place up there.” 

— Second Place Winner, 2022: Laisha Echegoyen


“This year’s Día de los Muertos High School and College Art Contest with the theme of “Traditions, Culture and Pride” generated more than 90 entries across Southern California. We witnessed amazing talent coming from our high school and college students. The art contest is just one-way Northgate González Market gives back to our customers. We pride ourselves to be able to offer authentic products and food to help our customers celebrate traditional holidays like Día de los Muertos,” said Oscar Gonzalez, co-president of Northgate Gonzalez Market.

“Art contests like the Día de Los Muertos contest by Northgate Gonzalez Markets this year are important because they allow young people to express themselves freely allowing students to express themselves authentically without fear of being criticized and challenging them to be creative. Each participant was clearly an aspiring artist looking to join the ranks of many talented artists round the world who produce amazing art with the power to educate people on multiple topics. Art creates awareness and presents information in a way that can be visually and easily absorbed by many, regardless of what language they speak. Additionally, in a world where there are those who don’t have access to a quality education; art makes education an even greater equalizer of society.”

— Solimar Salas, Vice President of Content, Innovation & Outreach, Museum of Latin American Art

“The Youth Visioning Day was a great collaborative opportunity with Northgate Gonzalez Market in bringing our youth together--and to the table, with the sole purpose of seeking their input on how they envision their neighborhood and community today and into the future. This conversation developed several strong and realistic ideas to improve our community.”

— Councilmember Jim Perry, Ward 6, City of Riverside