Sunday, October 20, 2013


Laurie Beth Zuckerman's mausoleum altar,
in honor of her relatives, Rose and Frank Francia.

A rose is perfect,

with an indelible heart.

So why do they fade?

Laurie Beth Zuckerman has created a new altar for the Longmont Museum and Cultural Center's 2013 El Día de los Muertos exhibition. This Day of the Dead altar is a memorial of Rose and Frank Francia, the matriarch and patriarch of the Francia/Zuckerman family. This altar was built inside of a mausoleum structure, designed by myself and the museum's exhibition staff who also built it. It is derivative of mausoleums in Colonial Mexico that I have photographed in Oaxaca's municipal cemetery.

This is the third year I have contributed both an altar installation and Mexican cemetery photography to the Longmont Museum's annual exhibition. This time I was invited by the museum to participate on the committee to design this show. The concept this year was to turn the main gallery into a Mexican cemetery, known in Spanish as El Panteon. For my altar and photographic contributions, I received a stipend and an honorarium, and was invited to give a public lecture and gallery walk on October 16, 2013.

The El Día de los Muertos exhibition is currently on display through November 10, 2013. The ever popular Family Day Celebration is held on November 2. Two thousand people are expected to participate on that day, which officially honors the Day of the Dead in cemeteries throughout Mexico and Hispanic-American communities. I have included a few photographs taken during the festival.

Rose Francia's vintage porcelain statue of Our Lady of Fatima is from Portugal.

Below are photos of my Mausoleum Altar in context with the cemetery display created in the Longmont Museum's main gallery by the staff and volunteers.

The archway into the museum's cemetery display includes this flower stall,
being admired by Fort Collins environmental artist, Lynne Hull.

Laurie Beth Zuckerman's mausoleum is featured in the
Longmont Museum's Mexican cemetery installation.

Laurie Beth Zuckerman's mausoleum is featured in the
Longmont Museum's Mexican cemetery installation.

Families with kids in costume peak through the wrought iron doors of
Laurie Beth Zuckerman's mausoleum at her altar.

Laurie Beth Zuckerman provided her Mexican cemetery photography to the
walls and hallways of the Longmont Museum's El Día de los Muertos Exhibition.

Laurie Beth Zuckerman contributed her Mexican cemetery crypt photography
and design concept to this crypt wall built for the Longmont Museum exhibition.

Laurie Beth Zuckerman contributed her Mexican cemetery crypt photography
and design concept to this crypt wall built for the Longmont Museum exhibition.

The November 2 Day of the Dead Family Day Celebration
included these beautifully dressed singers in front of the crypt wall.


Hettienne Grobler said...

so so beautiful! I would love to create one in my home or in my garden!! that madonna in the white frame with the white beads! just touches so deeply!!

GlorV1 said...

Just beautiful. Thanks for sharing. Excellent work.

dustbunny8 said...

This is so wonderful! I wish I could see it in person!

LFStrande said...

I am so touched by the altar Laurie has created in memory of my parents, Rose and Frank Francia. Laurie's use of items from my mother's own collection of religious icons (notably her statue of Our Lady of Fatima) as well as some family photos make this ”Wedded for Eternity” Mausoleum altar so personal it truly brought tears to my eyes. Many of the additional items Laurie uses in this altar... the candlesticks, urns, flowers, even the green color....are all things my mother loved in her life. I don't know how to say thank you for this wonderful, artistic creation. Sincerely, Louise Francia Strande


On behalf of the entire Francia family, I offer my deep gratitude to Laurie for her exquisite mausoleum design memorializing our parents, Rose and Francesco Francia. In the color and collections on her altar, Laurie captured the very essence of my mother. Rose held a deep devotion to the Blessed Mother; and Rose created a home in which the every day included lace, flowers, vases, candlesticks, framed family and religious pictures, and rosary beads ~ a scene of elegance and spirituality. It’s all come together in breath-taking beauty in Laurie’s vision. In a surprising coincidence, the shade of green on the mausoleum wall appears to be the precise color of the organza dress that my mother wore to my wedding to Laurie’s brother. Initially, I shed tears of sadness when I saw Laurie’s beautiful mausoleum; but now it’s had a healing effect on me. I’ve truly felt my parents at my side, sharing the same awe for Laurie and for the beauty of her altar creation, and wishing us all well, and telling me their spirits are ever close.

Marie Francia Zuckerman

Bohemian said...

I'm speechless... Magnificent Tribute!

Blessings from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian

Anonymous said...

For some reason, I couldn't find your entry for Haiku My Heart, but I always love visiting your site. I had seen the post before that you left as a link but I don't think I'd commented on this one. I just love everything you create.

Bohemian said...

Thanks so much for stopping by for a Blog Visit... yes, that Dia de los Muertos Celebration was in Phoenix at the Desert Botanical Gardens, they Host one every year and it's promoting many Talented Artists, particularly in the Hispanic Community locally. I got to meet a couple of my Favorite Artists in person, which was a real treat... and to purchase a couple of fabulous Masks for my own Collection. Your Altars always greatly Inspired me, we keep Altars year round in our Home and the Grandchildren Enjoy helping me Create them.

Blessings from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian

rebecca said...

dear laurie,
i cannot begin to express the honor and healing you inspire through your altars. lingering on every photograph, then savoring each adoring comment has touched me deeply. thank you for the honor of traveling to san miguel with me. i am thrilled we will be creating our own personal altars under your wing; and for all the mary's we will be sharing!

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

Joy mixed with sorrow in this post--but isn't that life?

Leaning into Grace

Anonymous said...

What an incredible offering to your family at the Longmont Museum. All your photos and your commentary make me long to see this museum during the Day of the Dead one day. Kudos to you, Laurie Beth. You are muy artistica.

Paula Scott Molokai Girl Studio said...

Amazing!! I am speechless. Thank you too, for providing more visual context to which this altar 'resides' in. Wonderful.