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Bare Hands Gallery, Inc. hosts 14th annual Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) festival at new location with sights set on long-term sustainability

Festival to be held at Cahaba Brewing Company under leadership of Robert Hernandez with support of new junior board

Birmingham, AL – Aug. 25, 2016 – Bare Hands Gallery presents the 14th annual Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) festival on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016 at Cahaba Brewing Co. from 4:00 pm - 10:00 pm.

“We are thrilled to partner with Cahaba Brewing for this year’s festival,” said Robert Hernandez, executive director. “We are thankful that Cahaba was so welcoming during a year of transition, and know that our festival goers are in for a treat with how the festival will be laid out this year.”

As many devoted festival-goers know, the 2015 festival was the final year in Bare Hands’ traditional location on 1st Ave. due to Birmingham’s expansion. Bare Hands also lost two valuable assets who retired after years of generous support: Wendy Jarvis, executive director, and Craig Legg, lot manager. Because Bare Hands pulls together just enough in-kind donations, sponsorships and contributed funds to move forward with staging the festival each year, it became too heavily dependent on ticket sales on the festival night to cover costs, exposing the organization and its volunteers to great financial risk. Therefore, the Bare Hands board of directors weighed the pros and cons of staging a festival in the same year that it sought a festival location.  

“We engaged in many difficult conversations,” said Hernandez. “Of course we are passionate about the festival and want it to happen every year, but it’s also important to us that our organization is sustainable for the long-term and that our location embodies what Día de los Muertos stands for: diversity, community and versatility.”

Initial feedback made it clear that the festival must go on, so the team worked tirelessly to find a new home and put a structure in place. Hernandez, formerly the marketing director of Bare Hands and treasurer of the new junior board, was elected to the executive director role (biography below). Hernandez partnered with Kaitlyn Bentley, Bare Hands communications director, and Marcus Castro, son of Guillermo Castro (n early festival organizer), to form the new junior board in direct support of fundraising for the festival. The junior board has been essential in fundraising for this year’s festival and now stands at nine members. You can click here to view a full member list. Contact if interested in joining.  

In tandem with the Bare Hands board of directors, the junior board and volunteers worked to find a new home. Cahaba Brewing offered its support to the local festival celebrating life and culture and will be the host of this year’s festival.

“The Día de Los Muertos Festival has become a Birmingham staple and an event that many look forward to each year. We are so excited that Bare Hands selected Cahaba as the venue for its fourteenth event,” said Eric Meyer, partner and brewmaster, Cahaba Brewing. “The festival is about healing, love and remembrance of those we have lost. We are truly honored to be so closely involved and can’t wait to see the community support in our home on Nov. 2.”

The festival will again honor life and feature music, performers, art (local artists, face painting, kids craft area), food, and altars. However, this year’s festival will be different, in that due to limited costs and a quick turnaround, festival goers are encouraged to bring their own altars. Click here for specifications regarding altars.

Support from individuals, organizations and businesses allows admission to remain low at $10 for adults, $3 for children aged 7 to 12 years, and free for children 6 years and younger. A major portion of festival proceeds continues to support Bare Hands Art Club at the downtown YWCA of Central Alabama.

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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 has become a cherished cultural celebration of life in Birmingham, which 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. Countless volunteer hours go into creating an experience that respects the tradition and heart of Mexico's sacred remembrance while recognizing many memorial traditions. Many say the gathering has brought them a stronger, broader sense of community.



Bare Hands is a 501(c)(3) community-supported, nonprofit arts organization dedicated to developing creativity and innovation in metro Birmingham and the region by creating opportunities and providing favorable environments in which artists and audiences play an active role in the creative process and engage in cultural dialogue.



Robert Hernandez has been a part of the Bare Hands Día de los Muertos festival since 2013. He has served as communications director and marketing director before recently being elected by the board of directors as Bare Hands' executive director. His favorite part of the celebration are the altars. Since his initial philanthropic venture with Bare Hands, he has created an altar dedicated to his family, friends and their loved ones, and Hispanic icons. Robert is also a business continuity employee at BBVA Compass in Birmingham, Ala., and holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in marketing from Texas A&M International University. In his free time, he enjoys hosting Airbnb guests from all over the world, painting, photography, graphic design, concerts and traveling