Sometimes, I lament that I'm an artist who has been thru the institution. Tho, at the same time, my art was what got me into school, so am grateful for that opportunity. Recently reconnected with one of my Professors . . . 25 years later, when thinking about the teachers who mentored me and my work, even helped me raise my crazy self, I get teary eyed . . . how much they are missed in what felt like home in the SMU ART department! The relationships with my Professors hold SO much meaning 25 years later, realizing how deeply and profoundly they have impacted both my work and life! They will aways be a part of me and my work, which is both timeless and priceless! Bill Komodore, Tracy Hicks, Deborah Ballard, Peter Beaseker, Baranby Fitzgerald, James Sullivan, and of course the Professor I spent the most time with, my printmaking teacher Larry Scholder . . . I am always grateful!


Three things are going on in this country, to the younger generations:  1.  A growing sense of entitlement.  2.  Unequal access to education.  3.  The distraction of technology.


Kids expect more to be handed to them, these days.  It is true.  Gen X here.  We are the last generation who mostly had to work for everything.  Upon turning 16, I asked my Dad for a car.  His next reply, was "Get a job."  Back then, my Dad could of bought me a car.  So, I started working, bought a 1970 VW bug, and paid for my own car insurance.  I was a poor working artist after graduating from college and somehow paid for and my own car insurance, phone bill, and rent.  OK every once in a while, my Mom would stop by and fill the fridge with some groceries. 


Many of the kids from the younger generations have all of the above paid for by their parents, not all . . . but many.  Am I wrong in this assessment?


Also, the way in which I grew up would be considered poor.  However, I do believe that the working poor in this country, compared to other countries, are living pretty good, especially with the services that are available.


However, once again white privilege always seems to have its way, in that economically depressed kids in the poorer parts of this country do not statistically have the same quality of education as those in the wealthier 'white' communities.  So yes, society has failed minority and poor children!  Ideally, we should all be in the street in uproar about this injustice!  Something needs to be done to address such disparity.  I will always be a true advocator of the Robin Hood Theory, steal from the rich to give to the poor.  More wealthy school districts need to have some of their perks taken away so the poorer schools can get a boost.  If this happens, wealthy parents will put up a big fuss, maybe that would pressure our government to allocate more funds for education.


I also think inner cities would benefit from after school programs.  If I was an extremely wealthy person, my dream would be to establish after school ART centers in some of the poorest communities across America.  Kids could go there for free and create music together, write and perform plays, create visual ART, have openings, and be mentored all the while.  Such activities would be a wholesome way to elevate a population that barely has a voice, poor minority kids.  You just know they have such a different perspective to offer.   I would LOVE to see what kind of creativity and thinking comes from inner city youth.


Education is the most vital ingredient to creating a transformed, just society.  Let's demand equal, creative education that encourages critical thinking, problem solving, classes on finance, on how to budget and invest for the future for ALL!  Then, after that, let's demand higher education for all.  An equivalently educated populace really could be well on its way to achieving the next Renaissance.


Again, it all comes down to redistribution of wealth, or people stepping up and coming together more on a community level to provide quality programs to the people around them, right in their neighborhoods.  Below is a link to a video about a man doing something radical in South Central Los Angeles.  Ron Finley is my hero!


Finally, the technology boom that we are all witnessing, I do think will fizzle out a bit.  People hopefully will swing back around to creating with their hands, instead of swiping and poking around on devices.  Right now, we are all a bit distracted!  Technology is an awesome tool for research and for getting good information out to the masses!  We need to take more breaks tho and do what Mr. Finley is doing, put our hands in the dirt and grow some food together!

Sadly, the system is rigged my friends. Wealthy people who have joined in the billionaire ranks, in my view, are psychopathic! I read recently that, at one point, Bill Gates was making an estimated $750 million a week. I’m sure he amassed even more wealth during the Covid-19 pandemic while the rest of us have gone from living paycheck to paycheck, to barely living paycheck to paycheck, sometimes even rationing our food supplies, with even more people moving back in with their families.


The cycle of poverty is difficult to break. The system is set up for those who are top, to stay on top. In some ways, I actually believe that milking the system is kind of OK because the elite rob us every day. Is this wrong for me to feel this way?  I once heard a statistic from Bernie Sanders, that when the minimum wage was formulated in the late 30’s, if they kept the minimum wage rising naturally, the minimum wage should be approximately $35 dollars an hour now. That is how much has been stolen from us.


The Catholic bishops are correct in saying that the level of inequality in income and wealth in our society is morally unacceptable! We need to no longer support narcissistic celebrities, politicians, and mega corporations who steal from us all. We need a redistribution of wealth NOW from the top one-fifth to the lowest one-fifth in this country. If the elite will not do this on their own accord, WE need to take it from them, maybe by legally making it unlawful to amass so much wealth. No one needs to be a billionaire. . . . what is up with that. Blatant ego is what that is! The elite are spoiled children of GOD who are ruining peoples lives and even the natural Earth with their greed and need for power. We need to take these resources back and give this planet and it’s people a spiritual upgrade, to help feed the 50 million Americans who are hungry, provide shelter for the homeless, and an equal education for all, level the playing field already. Make the World more just and humane already!


I once worked as a care giver for an extremely wealthy Jewish man who has become a good friend. He has taught me much about money and respecting resources, valuable lessons. One of the first things he told me, “Why do you think they do not teach finance in education . . . because they do not want you to know how to use money and how the system works.” The rich want to stay rich.




Before acknowledging all the horrors I personally experienced as a female, I will first express something positive. The energy here on this planet does feel like we are slowly achieving a genuine balance between masculine and feminine energies. We are slowly moving away from a patriarchal system, as we do so females are stepping up and achieving more inner confidence, recognition, and power. Through it all, it is important to see men as wounded as women have been throughout history. I really feel each and every one of us, as we are working through our individual stuff, we are also participating in this great re-balancing between the masculine and feminine here on Planet Earth!


Going back into history, all the way to primitive man, I can understand how women got subjected in their roles, as primal women were just having baby after baby to literally keep the tribe alive. Hooray for the Industrial Revolution, the true time period turn around for the women's movement, sad that so much slavery and subjugation had to be made in history to get to this turning point! 1920 launched the womens’ right to vote. Then, the 60’s propelled us even further into several pivotal new laws pushing forward ever more towards greater equality between the sexes. NOW was formed in 1966, organizing women together. In 1963 the Federal Equal Pay Act, in 1964 the Civil Rights Act, in 1974 the Equal Credit Act, and now we are tackling sexual harassment, from the 80’s until present day.


Wow! I had not been so crazy and out there in my twenties, and had the mind to take advantage of some of the sexual harassment laws, I would be loaded! My twenties were a living nightmare, not only having to deal with my unbalanced self, but the attention that men gave was pretty appalling most of the time. I hated men and actually did not want to have much to do with them, unless they were gay, really glad those days are over. Every time I see an attractive young girl, typically my first reaction is to feel sorry for her, and my second reaction is hoping that she in being taught to show aggression back towards unwanted attention. Whether aggression is a good thing or a bad thing . . . I dunno? Back in the day, anger and my middle finger saved my life, at least a good, solid couple of times. It is really important that young women are taught how to stand up to sexual aggressors, that they learn how to call out men who abuse them, whether they be men of the same age or older, maybe even take some self defense lessons if they end up in a tricky situation. If I had a daughter, I would pay special attention on teaching her how to be safe and explaining to her what inappropriate boundaries are and how to deal with and report those who have crossed them.


Sometimes I am shocked, when driving by the University and looking at what some of these young women are wearing, um yeah they need to make it a bit easier on themselves and cover up, just a little. Tho, back in the day, I was pursued in jeans and an over sized t-shirt, still . . . if I had a daughter and knew that she was wearing shorts where her butt was hanging out, or if she was walking around campus in a bikini, I would not be happy! We need to teach young girls that being classy can be a really good thing! The Kardashians just need to fade away, what a horrible example they are setting for girls! We need to educate boys on what it is that makes a true gentleman, that it is OK to cry and be sensitive. Males and females need to forgive each other. Women need equal pay already! We need to celebrate women more who get ahead in life by using their brain and not just their body! Even I love looking at gorgeous female bodies . . . but a woman is WAY more than that.


I am so sick of the sex kitten programming. It is harming both genders! Female genitalia mutilation is horrific but so is male circumcision! Slavery is horrific and was even worse if you were a woman! Human slavery still exists. Unfortunately, human sex trafficking is a huge problem that people tend to ignore. There are even reports that young children are bought and sold for sex! There is still a ton more work to do.



"Nothing is more hallowing than the union of kindred spirits in art. At the moment of meeting, the art lover transcends himself. At once he is and is not. He catches a glimpse of infinity, but the words cannot voice his delight, for the eye has no tongue. Freed from the fetters of matter, his spirit moves in the rhythm of things. It is thus that art becomes akin to religion and ennobles mankind . . . It is this which makes a masterpiece sacred."


What I am looking forward to the most in my older years is having more time to devote to making ART. I am happy that ART is an activity that stimulates all levels of my being, having more free time to develop my craft and maybe even work on becoming masterful at it, is the most exciting thing ever! Also, I will enjoy more down time to relax and enjoy peace and silence. Right now, my life is a hustle both with the work that is required to maintain my reality and with the people that are attended to. Whether retirement will be the best years of my life or not remains to be seen. If health remains in tact, enjoyment may be had? Health is really the true wealth! Either way, the good and the bad will be artistically documented.


I am preparing now for later years by meditating and training my mind to be equanimous, so as to be reactive as little as possible to stress. With each medical diagnosis that comes up, my head gains more acceptance of death and dying, that this body will indeed eventually break down. The first half of life was spent living as ardently are possible, pushing the limits of mind and body, to eek out as much living as possible with out hopefully going overboard. We’ll see how my body holds up over the next decade lol. The second part of life, I will be preparing for a good death, so when death does come, surrender and grace will be in my grasp, I will fearlessly merge into the unknown, whether that be 15 years from now or 40 years away. That is my hope, at least.


What has the most impact on me about the aging population is when older people no longer feel relevant or excited by living their lives! Having the experience of working in an assisted living facility, I have personally seen people just exist . . . their life being food, TV, and sleep, as if they are already dead or just waiting for their turn. This kind of listless behavior is difficult to witness! I find the elders who have most success in their later years stay physically active, engaged in activities, and have people around them. Those who have the most success with this are the ones who really led active, involved lives in their younger years, folks who had hobbies, a curiosity about life, and a true zest for living. These people, as they age stay relevant and have good information and energy to offer to the younger generation. Usually, these are the elders who will absolutely take care of all details of their own lives and insist in doing it all themselves, for as long as they possibly can. Self sufficiency is extremely important. When aging people are able to take on this described mentality, their value increases. Family and friends really want to take care of them. The emotional connection is deeper, so if they ever really become debilitated for any reason, people are compelled to lend their helping hands.

My name is Tracy. 20 years ago, I obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Working as an artist has been a deeply rewarding experience which has given both satisfaction and continued room for development. Now, in my mid forties, the search for a side job that can produce more monetary reward is being realized. Hence, I have made the decision to further my education and pursue a certification as a addictions counselor. Being a former addict has given me the mindset of compassionate understanding towards those suffering from the disease of addiction. In addition, over the years I have developed healthy behaviors and practices that would be useful to share with those struggling to overcome addictive behaviors. Most importantly, being an addictions counselor remains in alignment of my values of service to others.


1. Reading chapter 1 provided a thorough introduction of what IS social welfare. The parts that are most intriguing were the historical origins of social welfare, dating all the way back into the Elizabethan age. What a fascinating and sad explanation of how social services developed, in that the Kings and Queens saw giving back to the poor as way out of being annoyed with their begging. This same old truth seems to play out in our current history, in that we still exist in an oligarchy system where the haves own most of the wealth. Tho, thankfully since the idea of helping the poor has evolved, ethics and humanity seem to be evolving right along with the social welfare system, pushing to guarantee more dignity for the individual and families. It is comforting to realize that agencies are there to help guide those in need and to provide skill sets to help overcome the cycle of poverty. The other part of this chapter that was fascinating is how the breakdown of the traditional family structure has created new, alternative structures. In addition, how biomedical technology is being tested and integrated into these new family dynamics will be a sure thing to watch for in the future! Bio medics truly forces us to consider and carefully study how far the technology of ‘playing god’ should be pushed.


2. Learning about the history of social welfare is opening my eyes more to the major theme that seems to play out on this planet, that seems ever slow to change, that being the disproportionate distribution of wealth. Tho there is definitely more humanity involved in the social welfare system now than from its beginnings, seems like there is still long ways to go to truly solve the problem of poverty. Learning how the industrial revolution began to break down reliable community support, to then the Great Depression in demonstrating how indeed sometimes adaption to economic change is beyond individual control, to the breakdown of the traditional family in the sixties, offered fascinating insight into where we are at now in the evolution of providing social welfare. It will be interesting to see how the system and the family structure will further evolve as we progress through the 21st century!


3. Whether giving of service is done through residual or institutional ways, both are acceptable forms of offering to the community. Both private and public institutions should continue to evolve and provide for the community. Both residual and institutional views are as typical as the party they are associated with, that being residual is conservative in nature, that charity should be limited so the individual does not become dependent, to institutional being associated with liberalism in offering a wide range of programs to provide for the needs of all members of society in need. The two party system has become too extreme over the years. The developmental view offers a nice middle ground. It would be nice to see society evolve into a more middle ground in both helping others to help themselves and in politics.


4. It will be interesting to observe the changes of what social welfare will bring to society in the future. We live in a fascinating time in that the advancement of technology is rapidly expanding and seems to be literally developing a life its own. How technological advancements will further change the dynamic of the family structure will be interesting to observe! For me, with technology ever increasing and what this can now potentially bring to us in the future, we as a humanity need to be ever cautious in finding the proper boundaries between playing God and also in preventing technologies from ill intent, both in the hands of man and the actual machine itself.

I appreciate the New Age movement and really think it is a beautiful thing . . . the crystals, the art, dreams of creating Utopia, meditating and centering so as to lead to an upgrade in vibes are always cool things to take in and aspire for, BUT in many ways, for me it's not always real life. In reality, many of us are walking around with broken hearts, and many of us are just trying to manage our grief in hopefully the most healthy way. Many are not. The trials in life can cause great pain and sorrow. If we are lucky to have the strength and tenacity to transmute our suffering , then we supposedly gain some wisdom and peace. 'God' is a bit of a trickster in this way!   Real life can and should never be sugar coated. Life will be always feel bittersweet. We are all fallen Angels. Maybe someday our Utopia will come . . .