Border Crossings: This and Other Worlds (November 2–4), a three-day series of programs, performances, and installations that takes inspiration from global practices of honoring those who are no longer with us—e.g., El Dia de Los Muertos (the Mexican “Day of the Dead”); the Buddhist and Taoist “Ghost Festival” of Zhong Yuan Jie; the Christian holiday of All Souls Day; and Qingming or “Tomb Sweeping Day,” a traditional Chinese celebration. With many free events, Border Crossings is a weekend of celebration, reflection, and commemoration.

Co-presented by Bard Graduate Center and The Green-Wood Cemetery, Border Crossings is part of a series of public programs designed to complement our current exhibition Agents of Faith: Votive Objects in Time and Place. We welcome participants of all backgrounds and religious beliefs.

Participatory Altar by Adrián Viajero Román

The centerpiece of Border Crossings is an altar designed for the community by artist, Adrián Viajero Román, a long time Sunset Park resident. His inspiration is the El Dia de Los Muertos altars created to honor the dead throughout Mexico and the Mexican diaspora. Viajero’s altar commemorates loved ones who have crossed the border from life to death. In particular, his Puerto Rican compatriots who died during Hurricane Maria in 2017 and those who lost their lives while crossing a border between Mexico and the United States.

Add something of your own and be a part of this work of art. All visitors are invited to bring personal offerings to the altar. Flowers, photographs, notes, and/or other objects are welcome. (Please note that offerings left at the altar cannot be returned.)


The programs listed below will take place in Green-Wood’s Modern Chapel. Please ask security at the Gothic Arch for where to go.

Sunday, November 4

2:30–4 pm
Free with RSVP
On Borders, Human Lives and Poetry

Treat yourself to the musical language and expressive beauty of poets who write on the themes of border crossings and what it means to be human.

Vanessa Angélica Villarreal
was born in the Rio Grande Valley borderlands to (formerly) undocumented Mexican immigrants. Her work has appeared in The Boston Review, The Academy of American Poets, and PBS News Hour.

Raquel Salas Rivera
is the 2018-19 Poet Laureate of Philadelphia. Rivera, 32, is a networker, bridging people of different geographies, languages and races. As a person identifying as queer and non-binary, Rivera bridges sexual and gender identifications, as well as social and economic classes.

Roberto Montes
is the author of “I Don’t Know, Do You?” which NPR named one of the Best Books of the Year in 2014. His poetry has appeared in The Lambda Literary Spotlight, Guernica, and The Pen America Poetry Series.

3–5 pm
Free Drop ins Welcome with RSVP
Make Your Own Nicho

Drop in and make your own nicho, or portable altar shrine, with visual artist Mia Román. Found throughout Central and South America, these small shadow boxes are made to honor a saint or departed loved one. All materials will be provided.

Mia Román is a visual artist, educator, and organizer. She has taught mixed media art at The Children’s Art Carnival, The Riverbank State Park, The Leroy Neiman Arts Center, The Westbeth Arts Center, La Casa Azul Bookstore, and the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural and Educational Center. She co-founded and facilitated an expressive arts program for homeless and displaced children and families at the Ruth Fernandez Family Residence in the South Bronx.

5–6:30 pm
Free with RSVP
Closing Celebration

The Ase music group’s performance will mark the closing of the altar, followed by an artist talk with its creator, Adrián Viajero Román. Refreshments will be provided.

Additional Events in this Series

November 2
Border Crossings: This and Other Worlds

November 3
Border Crossings: This and Other Worlds

November 14
Memorial Walls as Votive Sites: Tribute, Activism and Collective Memory

December 7
Objects of Care & Resistance from the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands

Leading support for Public Programs at Bard Graduate Center comes from Gregory Soros and other generous donors.