Bare Hands, Inc. is a community-supported, non-profit arts organization dedicated to cultivating creativity and innovation in metro Birmingham and the surrounding region by creating opportunities and favorable environments in which artists and audiences play an active role in the creative process and cultural dialogues.
This mission is addressed through our Día de los Muertos festival, an annual joyful remembrance of lost loved ones which began in 2003, inspired by Mexico’s sacred Day of the Dead tradition, the tradition of Decoration Day in the Southern United States, New Orleans Jazz Funeral Processions and Birmingham’s own history and community. Since 2010, we have furthered this mission through the Bare Hands Art Club, a partnership with the local artistic community and the YWCA of Central Alabama that encourages creative expression in children moving from homelessness to transitional housing.
Bare Hands, Inc. works with and for the community to create meaningful and memorable experiences – there are many ways to get involved and we hope you will join us!
The Day of the Dead is a joyful, colorful remembrance of lost loved ones, which originated in Mexico centuries ago. Similar to Decoration Day in the southern U.S., the tradition combines flowers, music, food, stories, friends, family and memorials in honor of those who have gone before. The observance Bare Hands presents has become a cherished cultural celebration of life in Birmingham. Many say the gathering has brought them a stronger, broader sense of community. The festival comes to life through countless volunteer hours given to create an experience that respects the tradition and heart of Mexico’s sacred remembrance while recognizing many memorial traditions.
Birmingham’s Día de los Muertos commemoration began in November 2003 with a Day of the Dead inspired installation built by artist Tracy Martin in Bare Hands Gallery to honor her father who died earlier that year. Her father was noted Civil Rights photographer, James “Spider” Martin. Spider’s memorial was eagerly embraced by a small group of artists and friends and began the celebration at Bare Hands each Nov. 2. In continuing memory of Spider Martin, toy spiders, Spider-Man action figures, and prints from his powerful photo archive are placed on an altar for him each year.