An altar honoring the late Macario Ramirez, who brought the Dia de los Muertos tradition to the Heights, will be on display Saturday at the art gallery he founded on West 19th Street.
Casa Ramirez Folkart Gallery, located at 241 W. 19th St., will host a socially distant open house from 4-7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24. The event is open to the public and being held in conjunction with Dia de los Muertos, the Mexican holiday that starts Oct. 31 and ends Nov. 2.
Featured at the open house will be “Un Gran Altar,” which was created by Chrissie Dickerson Ramirez along with family and friends in honor of her husband, Macario, who died from heart failure June 10 at age 86. It will include an image of a bright orange sun, symbolizing the cycle of life, as well as items from Macario’s life as a teacher of Mexican culture and tradition and as a champion of civil and labor rights.
“The altar represents the indigenous pre-Columbian foundations of honoring the dead, religious teachings and symbolism of the Catholic church,” Casa Ramirez said in a news release. “It starts at the ground or ‘madre tierra’ and has several tiers for the offerings of foods, personal mementos and photographs. An arch can be seen over the altar and the structure reaches up toward the celestial realm. The arch is known as a sign of respect for the loved one you are honoring.”
Casa Ramirez is holding the open house in lieu of its annual procession because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Visitors will be required to wear masks, and socially distancing will be strongly encouraged.
In addition to the altar honoring Macario Ramirez, three community members were invited to construct altars for their departed loved ones. Also on display will be a community altar, created by Judy Turner, that will allow visitors to remember their loved ones.