We had the good fortune of connecting with Nara Hernandez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nara, why did you pursue a creative career?
It’s pretty simple, art makes the world a more interesting and livable place. In my work, I get to help facilitate the creation of art, curate exhibitions, organize public programs, and inspire the next generation of artists. As the Visual Arts Director of the nonprofit, Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA), I connect underserved youth with emerging and established artists through workshops, field trips and residencies. Our studio and gallery space are constantly buzzing with inspired young people engaged in the creative process—exploring how art intersects with their lives and benefits the greater community. The creative work born from these experiences is aweinsipring and it’s apparent that art isn’t just beautiful, but also serves as a potent vehicle for social change. Los Angeles will always need more artists from diverse backgrounds and my contributions at HOLA helps sustain our creative economy in a more equitable way and secures a brighter future for all of us.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
After working in museums for nearly a decade, from Mexico City to New York, Washington DC, San Diego and Los Angeles, I started to feel that my work in arts education and my curatorial aspirations could have a larger impact on our local communities. Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA) has been a place where I still get to surround myself with museum caliber artists and their work while partnering with major cultural institutions. At HOLA, my impact on individuals and their communities is evident on a daily basis. Nonprofit work can be extremely challenging but I truly believe that our youth deserve quality arts education and I’m proud to be part of the solution.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
My list is endless because there is just so much to do in LA in a week. Here are a few of my favorites:
I love visiting all the different cultural pockets to highlight the history and diversity of the city. I’d take them to have a progressive breakfast in Chinatown stopping and sampling treats along the way, then we’d walk over to Olvera Street for lunch and margaritas, and on to an izakaya dinner, and treats from Fugetso-Do in Little Tokyo. Maybe explore one of the hidden Japanese gardens there.
In downtown we’d swing by the Music Center and Grand Park to take in some good views, snacks and drinks at Grand Central Market, maybe an art museum, a fancy dinner at a spot like Bavel or Red Bird. Rooftop drinks are a must! So many more options these days.
One afternoon we’d hike up to the Cedar Grove in Griffith Park, have a picnic dinner there (usually it’s burritos, falafel and sandwiches from Dune, or pizza from Hail Mary).
We’d spend a day at Escondido Beach in Malibu and finish the day with a stroll and dinner in Venice.
Explore the LA River with a Salazar stop. We’d also have a bunch of stops in Boyle Heights, The arts district, Silver Lake (my neighborhood), and Echo Park.
I’d definitely plan some gallery/museum visits. Commonwealth and Council, Hauser Wirth, ICA LA, and LACMA are some favorites.
Go out on the paddle boats in Echo Park and eat elotes.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA)
Instagram: #holavisualarts @heartoflosangeles