Lorenzo had realized his old friend Joe – a man in his nineties – was no longer mobile. Lorenzo began picking Joe up and taking him to Friends In Deed’s Food Pantry to get groceries. It was here that our then Food Pantry Manager, Stacey, made the acquaintance of Lorenzo and Joe, and discovered their connection and history.
As well as being a highly regarded aerospace and mechanical systems engineer, Lorenzo Hernandez is a passionate collector and dealer of art, and from the late 70s through the 1980s he owned the Cityscape Foto Gallery in Pasadena. A major focus of Lorenzo’s collection has been the work of Native Americans, Latinos, and immigrants.
This focus on the cultural value of the music and art of Latin America and immigrants to the US from other countries was reflected in the work of the artists Lorenzo showed in his gallery. One of these was Joe – a European veteran of the Korean War with whom Lorenzo has remained in touch for over 40 years. Despite his war service (through which he gained American citizenship) Joe had “fallen through the cracks,” and also had no family in the US to help him. A few years ago, Lorenzo discovered that Joe was on the verge of being evicted from his home, and he and other members of the art community rallied together to find him resources and an apartment he could afford.
It was soon after this that Lorenzo started bringing Joe to Friends In Deed’s Food Pantry. Joe was so grateful for the help he received he gave some art posters of his work to some of the staff and volunteers!
We love the way in which Lorenzo’s belief in the vital importance and value of the heritage of the many different cultures that make up American society is expressed not just in his collecting, but also in his practical care for members of the art community.