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Las Vegas’ art community mourns the death of Alex Huerta

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Alex Huerta
Photo: Curtis Joe Walker

The Las Vegas art community has lost a vital member. On January 20, beloved Downtown artist Alexander P. Huerta died due to complications related to ongoing health issues. The 53-year-old was sometimes called the “Grand Old Man of the Arts District” or the “Mayor of the Arts Factory,” where he ran his studio-gallery Peace N’ Art Studio. Huerta was also a member of the 3 Baaad Sheep art collective.

Eddie Canumay, a co-member of 3 Baaad Sheep, describes his relationship with Huerta as “brotherly.” Artist and gallerist Nancy Good says she called Huerta her “little brother.” There was something about Huerta that inspired a loving, family feeling.

A former casino worker, the self-taught mixed-media artist and painter didn’t turn to canvas until late in life. Huerta dedicated his life to art, spending about 10 hours a day in the studio and making a living from his creations. Yet Huerta still found time for friendships with all who passed through the Arts Factory and beyond. “He influenced pretty much the whole art community,” Canumay says, recalling the ways Huerta encouraged and supported both new and established artists.

“Alex’s art was very Vegas: street-smart, funky, colorful,” says gallerist Priscilla Fowler, who has displayed the work of 3 Baaad Sheep for years. “Everyone loved Alex. We will all miss him terribly.”

And from friend and fellow Las Vegas artist Miguel Rodriguez: "My conversations with him led me to a much deeper understanding of what and where the Las Vegas art scene actually is. I went to a fancy private art school for my BFA and have an MFA from UNLV, too. As far as I know, Alex had no formal training. But his work ethic, his innate desire to create an aesthetic vision and creative world around him was truly inspiring. The academic divide between us was literally nothing. That’s f*cking beautiful."

 

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