New York City Day of the Dead Festival
- To celebrate, preserve, promote, present and share Mexican traditions in the New York City Day of the Dead Festival
- To preserve the regional diversity of the Day of the Dead, by celebrating the traditions from different states of Mexico at the New York City Day of the Dead Festival
- To pass on Day of the Dead traditions to younger generations of Mexican-Americans, many of whom have been separated from their family’s spiritual and geographic origins
- To share the Day of the Dead heritage and cultural practices with the broader New York community, through the richness and diversity of Mexican folk arts, music, dance and food
- To support and offer a setting for artistic expression to artists involved in traditional cultural practices related to the Day of the Dead
- To ensure the continued growth and long-term success of Day of the Dead traditions in New York
The New York City Day of the Dead Festival provides opportunities for both the immigrant Mexican-American and the broader Staten Island community. It helps the Mexican community gain a sense of self-esteem and pride in its traditions and rich culture. It also opens up the Mexican community to our neighbors, allowing them to gain a greater understanding of Mexicans who reside here in New York.
Who We Are:
Irma Bohórquez-Geisler, PhD.
Irma Bohórquez-Geisler is the Founder, Artistic and Program Director of the annual New York City Day of the Dead Festival on Staten Island, established in 1992. Irma directs and organizes New York City Day of the Dead Festival in Staten Island to preserve Mexican traditions, to be connected to our homeland, to support spiritual and artistic practices and visible forms of creation that help Mexican and Mexican-American people in our community know who we are. A native of Mexico City, Irma migrated to New York in 1991. She has presented Mexican traditions at many museums, schools and other institutions. A photographer, Irma has exhibited work at a number of contemporary art galleries and museums. She holds a Ph.D. in Ecological Entomology from Oxford University and she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Autonomous University of Mexico City (UNAM). She has been awarded grants for the Day of the Dead festival as well as for her photography from Staten Island Arts, NYFA Mentoring Program for Immigrant Artists, from the New York Foundation for the Arts and JP Morgan Chase. In 2011, City Councilwoman Debi Rose conferred on Irma the “Staten Island Women Who Preserve History” award for her current long-term photo essay on the Mexican Immigrant Community in New York. Irma is also a jeweler.
Tamara Geisler was born in Mexico City, and moved to the United States at the age of three. She has assisted to present Mexican traditions on the Day of the Dead festival since 1994. Tamara has lead hands-on traditional arts and crafts workshops for adults and children at the annual Día de los Muertos in both English and Spanish. Her commitment to teaching about Mexican cultural heritage includes work at the Children’s Museum, The Newark Museum and the American Crafts Museum and several schools and the broader community. She has been awarded the 2012 JP Morgan Chase Artists in Our Communities grant to present Mexican traditions. The project comprised a series of workshops at elementary schools, community centers for disabled students, senior centers and libraries, accessing a cross-section of the underserved on Staten Island. She received her education from the Professional Performing Arts School in New York, the British American Dramatic Academy in London, and received her Bachelors Degree in English and Theater from Columbia University. She made her London debut in “A Midsummer Nights Dream” in 2009. Tamara has also taught theater in several New York City public schools and at the Children’s Theater Company in Union Square. She is a teaching artist through the Center for Arts Education and is the Spanish and Theater teacher at Building Blocks Montessori School, Staten Island. She is fluent in both English and Spanish. Tamara is an acting member of Illuminart, a theater company committed to writing and performing anti-bullying plays to students throughout the city, as well as an acting member of the Writopia Play Festival, whose most recent festival performed at the Clurman Theater on Theater Row.
Silvia Gutierrez de Silva
Mexican-born, Silvia Gutierrez, a member of the Staten Island community, has assisted at workshops on arts & crafts at the Day of the Dead celebration since 2006.
New York City Day of the Dead Festival
To experience the Day of the Dead first hand, please join us at the annual New York City Day of the Dead Festival.