Day of the Dead Workshops Come to Miami: "We Want To Help Families Say Goodbye"

Don't panic, but you're going to die.

"It's inevitable. You're gonna die, I'm gonna die, every person reading this article is gonna die," says Jim Hammond, founder and executive producer of Florida's Day of the Dead celebrations.

Phew. Now that we've got that awkward part of the conversation out of the way, we can skip to the good news: Florida's Day of the Dead Festival, symbolically reflective of the ancient Aztec celebration, has made its way to Miami-Dade County for the first time. And, unlike Halloween's "zombie culture," its mission statement is to remember the dead in ways that instill peace of mind, not fear.

"It's to feast together on their favorite foods, on their favorite drinks, to listen to their favorite music, and to metaphorically have an opportunity to dance with them," Hammond says.

See also: "Savage", An Exhibit of Art Made by Animals at Bakehouse

Until this year, the festival was limited to Fort Lauderdale. Now, an entire month of programming covers Broward and Miami-Dade County, including art workshops,

"What we're really excited about is bringing our puppets, our creatives, our skeleton motifs, and our community to Wynwood," Hammond says.

Having secured art space at the Bakehouse Art Complex the Ofrenda Workshop Series runs until October 26 and gets participants a free sugar skull, mask, and print making activities provided by Iron Forge Press, Tortuga Tile Works, and the Puppet Guild of South Florida.

The first large-scale event to happen in Wynwood will be El Jardin de los Muertos Contentitos, on Wednesday, October 22, from 6 to 9 p.m. The exhibition includes interactive art activities, Latin food trucks, face painting, costumed performers, and Mariachi music at the Bakehouse. The family-friendly exhibit will then run from October 23 to November 2 from noon to 5 p.m.

Artists participating include event founders Jim Hammond (Puppet Arts), Chuck Loose (Printmaking), Janet Luru Rudawsky (Ceramics), and Ian Rowan (Installation Art). Additional work will be contributed by Adriana Sandoval (Ofrendas), Ronni Gerstel (Puppet Arts), Sonia Neira Matthews (Puppet Arts), Omar Angulo (Ink), Jorge de Rojas (Papier Mache) as well as other official DOTD artists.

"Art isn't something you have to walk into, it's something you can be part of... This isn't something [the public] have to have happen at them, they can taken an active role," says Brooke Whitley, Associate Director of Marketing and Development at the Bakehouse.

KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Raychel Lean

Latest Stories