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This week I am honored to have been appointed to the Advisory Board of the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center. I was elected Chair on Wednesday evening and wish to thank my fellow board members for the confidence expressed in their decision. I look forward to working with Laura Esparza, Herlinda Zamora, the board, staff and community stakeholders to advance the MACC during my tenure. Special thanks to Councilwoman Leslie Pool for nominating me to the board.

My page has traditionally been about the myriad of things that are of importance to me; references to my family, artwork, travels, interests, web pages I've built and manage and more. And it will remain so, however....

I am compelled by my recent work to use this space to talk about some of the things I've been doing during my employment with Texas Health Institute trying to get a Lay Caregiver Initiative off the ground. It has been a bit of a slow go, but I am finally seeing some movement in a positive direction. My intention is not to dwell on or chronicle my days work. Rather, I hope to share some of the things I've learn as I move further in to the world of Public Health that might be useful to you.

I recently went to Philly to participate in a training session and game play for My Gift of Grace, A Conversation Game for Living and Dying Well. Part of the Lay Caregiver Initiative is Education. So, we offer a couple of workshops for people to help them recognize that within each of us we have the ability to cope with the difficulties life hands us and to learn what is needed to put one's advance directives together. Both of these workshops offer lots to the folks that attend them, however to complete one's advance directives they have to think and talk about death. Not an easy subject when it is focused on you and your loved ones. The On the Road, Advance Directives workshop and it accompanying workbook, conducted and authored for us by Amy Praskac is great.

My Gift of Grace can be a great addition. It's like a traditional game, printed cards, wooden chips and well thought or directions. I love that if it's a "tie" at the end the elder at the table serves as the judge. And the winner is determined not by how many chips they accumulated but by a flip of a coin at the beginning of the game where the result is hidden under a Point Card until the end. Heads, the guy with the most chips wins, tails and it's the one with the least or no chips!

As if that wasn't enough there's also a Community Card that helps determine when to end the game. The questions on the cards are well thought out to illicit very high quality conversation about a very difficult subject, end of life. I truly appreciate the values represented in the game. It was developed by three young guys that call themselves Common Practice and ActionMill. The game is one of their products. They consider themselves a human-centered design firm.

It's the good kind of social engineering. Like the stuff that so many of us have done over the years with cultural development projects. While I was in Philly I couldn't help but to think about our dear friend Lilly Yeh and the Village of Arts and Humanities and Barefoot Artists. And just down the road in Pittsburg is Bill Strickland, the daddy of micro-businesses with Manchester Craftsmen's Guild and Bidwell Training Center. It's all good stuff.

I'll end this chapter by encouraging all of my family, friends and visitors to consider exploring their advance directives. It's so much more than walking around saying "I want to be cremated." So I purposefully only placed three links in this writing in hope that they will help you on your way.

Shared with all of you with affection,

Rick Hernandez

Art Work





Worthy Resources

The Association of American Cultures Official Website
National Endowment for the Arts Official Website
Americans for the Arts Official Website
Logo of the Craft Emergency Relief Fund
Image of Mexican American Cultural Center in Austin, Texas
Mexican American Cultural Center


(Click on the image above to enter)

My travels have taken me to the South Seas, England, the Netherlands, Mexico and Japan. The places that have impacted me most are in the South Pacific. There I have found people from which we have much to learn. Please enter these parts of my site for a glimpse at the people I have encountered and what they have taught me.

Kia Orana
A Poem

In September of 2000 I traveled as part of a Maori tour group to the 8th Festival of Pacific Arts and Culture in Noumea, New Caledonia.
I'm pictured above at Taco Taco, the only "Mexican Food Restaurant" in Noumea. My traveling companions were primarily Maori artists, musicians and film people.

Unlike, my initial trip to the 6th Festival in the Cook Islands, it was my engagement with these individuals and other Maori I met along the way that made this trip particularly special. The Festival activities were full of magical moments, as were New Zealand and New Caledonia. On the pages linked below I share a variety of images and stories from this experience.

The Journey Begins
The First Days
The Seafaring Tradition

(Click on Image)

The beach at Anse Vata on the southern end of Grande Terre, the mainland of New Caledonia.

(Click to See Related Ceramic Hearts)

Work History

After five years of retirement I have rejoined the workforce with the Texas Health Institute serving as the director of THI's Lay Caregiver Initiative.

In retirement I had the pleasure of serving as the studio assistant for Carolyn and Jose Vasquez, co-owners of Paloma's Nest an internet based business making Handcrafted Modern Heirlooms from ceramic and wood.

Prior to working for Ms. Vasquez I served in a variety of capacities at the Texas Commission on the Arts, from 1977 until August of 2007, when I retired as Executive Director.

(pdf Format)

Sites I've Made
& Maintain

Sweetly Recycled

Official Website of Bob Daddy-O Wade

Texans for Cures

Texas Health Institute

Cold Beer Texas

Dan Beck's Taste of Texas Iron Works

Latte Dolls

Halloween '03

Site last updated August 16, 2016

Content the Property of Ricardo Hernandez, All Rights Reserved © 2016