***We Will Follow CDC  Covid-19 Guidelines and Require Attendees to Wear Masks***



Leonel Rosario, owner/chef at Maizal Mexican Kitchen, and his family will create a large ofrenda in the style of their hometown in Oaxaca, Mexico.  There will be a community altar available for attendees to decorate and add photos and memories of deceased loved ones.


Leonel and his family opened Mariachi de Oro Mexican Grille in Medina in 2011 who are co-sponsors of this event. Prior to that he worked in agriculture with his wife, Dolores Alvarado.  As a youth he learned traditional/folkloric dances growing up in Oaxaca, Mexico.  Here in western NY, Leonel and his extended family present folkloric dance as “Alma Latina,” which performs for community events, schools, civic organizations and celebrations in western New York.  Leonel loves to share his culture with the community and has created Día de los Muertos ofrendas (altars) for museums, conferences and community celebrations. He opened a second restaurant, Maizal Mexican Kitchen in East Amherst, NY in 2019.


Artist Antonio Cruz Zavaleta will create a sand painting, another decorative art found in Oaxaca for the holiday.  Created out of basic sand and colored pigments, the three-dimensional paintings can often be found in the streets of Oaxaca city alongside public ofrendas. They vary from simple scenes to elaborately shaded and constructed mosaics.


Antonio is a native of Oaxaca, Mexico, studying art at Rufino Tamayo art school in Oaxaca.  He is professional artist in multiple media, including visual, painting, drawing, sculpture, and Mexican traditional arts.  He further honed his craft in furniture making with Scott Jordan Furniture in New York City. Since 1991, Antonio has lectured, taught and exhibited his works in the several states, including extensive installations on the traditional holiday, Day of the Dead.  He created large street puppets, “Juana” and “Felipe,” with the assistance of students attending GO ART!’s Creative Arts Camp in April, 2017.  Look for them at the Medina celebration!


Karla Slack Alcalá was born and raised in Mexico City, and is in love with her country, customs and traditions. From a very young age, she had a passion for dancing. At the age of eight, her mother noticed her eagerness and thankfully enrolled her in Mexican folklore dance classes.  Karla has over 25 years of teaching experience serving at Casa de Cultura de Acolman, Grupo Mexicatlalli, and at other dance school programs in Mexico. She holds a diploma in Art from CEDART Luis Spota.


Karla is an interdisciplinary artist, physical and wellness educator who focuses her efforts on Mexican traditions. Karla has taught, performed, and choreographed numerous dance programs within the Mexican territory and in other countries like Cuba, Belgium, Spain, Basque country and Guatemala.  She loves movement and obtained a degree in Physical Education. She believes that sports and dance are perfect tools for our abilities and development of motor skills. In her dance classes, there was always time to play and integrate sports.

In 2013, Karla left Mexico for the United States and is now making the Rochester, NY area her second home.  She is still dancing Mexican folkloric dance at every opportunity she gets with the goal of preserving the “soul of Mexico” wherever she goes. In September of 2019, Karla joined Grupo Cultural Latinos En Rochester, Inc. (gcler.org) leading Alma de Mexico program as the Artistic Director.  She is responsible for three different groups of children, youth and adults. The program’s principal objective is to show her Mexican culture through music, costumes and the folkloric dance. 

La Marimba is an acoustic group bringing authentic Mexican and Central American tunes to Western New York. Original arrangements by Tiffany Nicely, performed on marimba and drum set. This unique combination of sweet tunes, toe-tapping grooves, and inspired Improvisation is perfect for featured performances or as background entertainment.