One on One


People. Talking.

Wendy Jarvis

The conversation this month ranged from the excitement of Birmingham’s music scene to the growth of the Dia de los Muertos festival into a signature city event. We sat down with Wendy Jarvis, a legal secretary at Gespass & Johnson and principal behind Bare Hands, Inc., and Josh Vasa, a musician and social media marketing consultant.

Vasa is a guitarist and lead singer in two bands, the eponymous Vasa, a pop rock outfit, and Sanyasi, which he describes as an indie rock band. Life is all about responding to the circumstances surrounding us. What’s great about any type of art is that it is an examination of life experiences. It is a response to what we go through and how we’re influenced, either positively or negatively, by life ‘stuff.’ Being able to articulate and express oneself in any art form is such a blessing and is truly what drives our emotions and ambitions in music, Vasa says.

Vasa’s parents moved to the United States from India back in 1978. Vasa, born in 1980, grew up in Birmingham and studied business at Birmingham-Southern College. He spent about seven years in the non-profit sector in the city, working for among other groups, Alabama Public Television and Kid One Transport. Vasa recently struck

Josh Vasa

out on his own, offering social media  and other consulting services to non-profits and small businesses.

Wendy Jarvis spent a decade at the helm of a small business, Bare Hands Gallery, before closing the physical brick and mortar downtown art gallery last year and morphing into a 501-C3 organization engaged in community arts outreach.

Along with an after school art project at the Birmingham YMCA, Bare Hands, Inc.’s biggest project is the annual Dia de los Muertos festival, now in its ninth year downtown in the alleys and parking lots that surround the old Bare Hands Art Gallery. The festival began as a project of one of the founders, Tracy Martin, to honor the memory of her photographer father, Spider Martin, and has quickly grown into a major Birmingham event with music, kids events, art and remembrance.

This year the festival on November 2 is held in special remembrance of one of the organization’s driving forces, chef Guillermo Castro, who died this past summer. The Dia de los Muertos festival focuses on celebrating the life of those who went before. We all experience the loss of loved ones so it has a universal resonance, Jarvis says.

3 Responses to “One on One”

  1. Amy Thrash says:

    Wow, Josh is awesome! Always doing something wonderful.

  2. Marlene Glaser says:

    Thrilled to see one of Birmingham’s most passionate voices featured this month! Yay Wendy! Yay Dia de los Muertos!

  3. I love it! Lots of great mentions about our city and the people who creatively make it happen here. I will certainly be looking out for the new music Josh makes and the new direction Wendy is going in with Bare Hands Inc. Real people, genuine hearts, great video by Beau Gustafsen. Informative interview. Looking forward to 2011 Dia de los Muertos Numero Nueve!

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