La Isla Bonita Summer Festival

“La Isla Bonita Summer Festival” was born as a series of public art developed by Colombian-born, Staten Island-based artist Lina Montoya under her LMProject. The series aims to transform public spaces around the Island by involving community members in the process and continues to exist, with more than 10 pieces on display throughout the North Shore of Staten Island.

In 2015, LMProject and local arts collective ISLA, partnered up to create a Summer Festival in the North Shore of Staten Island with the help of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, Partnerships for Parks and California-based cultural organization Sol Collective – naming it “La Isla Bonita Summer Festival.”

With the goal of building a yearly cultural happening which would celebrate Staten Island’s diverse and vibrant community, La Isla Bonita Festival's goal is to promote accessible, family-friendly local and global arts, culture and civic engagement for everyone to enjoy.

“People don’t think Staten Island is beautiful, but we want to celebrate the beauty that is here, in ourselves, our friendships and our community relationships. The ultimate goal for all of us is to create something that reflects us,” ISLA founder Nati Conrazon told the Staten Island Advance.

The inaugural festival in 2015 included live music performances, spoken word, dance, active sports, education, arts and crafts, marking an exciting development for cultural programming on Staten Island.

Since then, programming for the festival is intentionally chosen to reflect global and local sounds, with bands and DJs who are mixing global urban and folkloric sounds -- like past performers, the Latin Grammy winners Flor de Toloache – Mariachi Femenino, Las Cafeteras, MAKU Soundsystem, Underground System, iBomba DJs Thanu & Beto, Consumata, Gingee, Dj Jigüe, International Dub Ambassadors and local acts from or based on Staten Island like Nani Castle & Udachi, Dolltits, Captain Ahab and the Sea Crackens, Run P., Yeti, Dizzle, DJ H20, Jordan Barone and others.

In 2018, La Isla Bonita Festival teamed up with SummerStage to grow the festival's capacity, moving from Port Richmond's Faber Park to West Brighton's Corporal Thompson Park.

The festival also includes an art installation curated by LMP Project, with past installations ranging from hanging yellow butterflies to reflect the beauty and nature of migration to solar-powered lamps which have been installed in the various parks to an outdoor gallery of local artists showcasing their works. 

2019 marks the festival's 5th year anniversary, with internationally known Chilean rapper and singer Ana Tijoux, Colombia-via-Queens tropical futurists Combo Chimbita, Staten Island based transgender folkloric dance troupe L'Unicorns and Staten Island's own Deejay Shame!

Community organizations from throughout the island and New York City are invited to participate in a day of summer fun – setting up tables, a "Staten Solidarity Promenade," to engage the public while they peruse the park and connect with others. All organizations working to empower, connect and unite Staten Islanders through arts, culture and activism are invited to showcase their work. Future installments of the festival aim to further demonstrate that “Local is Global” – that our futures are interconnected and interdependent – and through open dialogue and expression between different cultures, we can inspire new imaginations and possibilities.

"We're doing this because we want every day to look like this," festival goer Krystal Sanchez told the Staten Island Advance during 2016's festival. We couldn't have said it any better!