By Andrea Richard ::
Jim Hammond, director of the Puppet Network, joined Broward 100’s Creative Minds team earlier this year. The local celebrity and rock-star puppeteer with the wild blond hair, is perhaps, best known for the massive annual event he founded, Day of the Dead Florida (DOTD).
The local rendition of the Mexican holiday, Dia de los Muertos, has taken Fort Lauderdale by storm expected to draw roughly 9,000 attendees at the two-day festivities this weekend.
What’s meaningful to Hammond is the event’s impact on the community. That’s a huge reason why he and his team launched DOTD just five years ago.
“Most of the work I’ve done has involved a community component,” he says. “I see the arts as a nontraditional way of connecting people.”
Every year leading up to the DOTD event, Hammond hosts a series of mask and puppet-making workshops open to the public. In turn, these puppet creations are used for event purposes such as the massive skeleton-procession that takes place on Sunday afternoon in Huizenga Park.
“My mantra is my space is your space,” he says of opening the doors to the public at his art warehouse space, The Bunker.
Another way that Hammond’s work will build and bond community members is what he’s doing with Broward 100. He was sought after to join the Creative Minds Team who he with four other talented arts professionals will develop together the County’s grand finale, Duende, Another way that Hammond’s work will build and bond community members is what he’s doing with Broward 100. He was sought after to join the Creative Minds Team who he with four other talented arts professionals will develop together the County’s grand finale, Duende, occurring October 2-4, 2015.
Aside from running the Puppet Network, Hammond’s professional expertise includes experience in theater production and design at venues such as the New World Symphony, Broward Center for the Performing Arts, and Florida Grand Opera. He spent nearly seven years on the road working as a puppet master of the National Broadway Tour of The Lion King.
Learn more about Jim Hammond by visiting his website www.puppet-network.com and to see the Day of the Dead Florida’s full event schedule visit www.dayofthedeadflorida.com.