Q: Does the Bare Hands Día de los Muertos festival have any religious affiliation?
A: Our Día de los Muertos festival is an arts & culture event hosted by an arts organization. We welcome people of any belief or heritage into the Bare Hands community and encourage active participation.
Q: I’m not familiar with the history of Día de los Muertos; where can I learn more?
A: Click Here to learn more.
Q: How do the Bare Hands festival organizers engage with the Hispanic community?
A: In 2003, after Tracy Martin built Birmingham’s Día de los Muertos-inspired installation for her father, so many people asked to participate in a similar event the following year that Bare Hands and Tracy realized potential for a very special community gathering. They immediately asked for help from their Hispanic friends as they began making their vision of this annual event a reality.
Guillermo Castro, Luis Fernandez and the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama (HICA) became involved early on and provided guidance, translated postcards into Spanish, provided food, found local Mexican and Mexican-American musicians and dancers, built altars and invited family and friends. Today, after so much hard work, the festival and Bare Hands continue to grow.
There are now Hispanic festival managers and team leaders, board and junior board members and a new Mexican-American executive director. In 2016 and beyond, Bare Hands will meet with more Hispanic organizations in metro Birmingham in an effort to continue improving participation and expanding diversity in the organization and its programs.
Q: What is the leadership structure of the Bare Hands Día de los Muertos festival?
A: The Bare Hands board and staff meet monthly to plan and review the work of the organization, which includes the logistics and community impact of its Día de los Muertos festival. From early spring through December, Bare Hands teams of trained volunteers work in various crews (spelled "krewes" in a small nod to the New Orleans culture which inspires us artistically) to advance the festival.
These volunteers work in seven categories: welcome and craft activities, visual arts installation & uninstall, public altar spaces, art market, performances & procession, pre-festival altar-making classes and pre- & post-festival hospitality for volunteers and sponsors.
Each of these categories has a manager who reports to the executive director. Each category umbrellas several krewes that carry out specific tasks. Each krewe has a captain responsible for their group who reports to their category manager. The Bare Hands education outreach committee works with Spanish language and visual art teachers on Día de los Muertos-related class activities.
All festival site setup and logistics are handled by the festival director and a team of generous professionals.
Q: How do I learn more about making an altar to honor a departed loved one, volunteering for a festival krewe, or supporting the festival in some way?
A: You can find details on all of these means of participation on the Get Involved section of this site.