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May 12, 2021

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Sculptures celebrating African American culture unveiled at West Las Vegas Arts Center

Queen of the Arts

Wade Vandervort

A person looks at one of two sculptures titled “Queen of the Arts” created by artists Gus and Lina Ocampolsilva during an unveiling event at the West Las Vegas Arts Center, Thursday, April 15, 2021.

'Queen of the Arts' Unveiling

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Two 15-foot sculptures celebrating African American culture were unveiled today at the West Las Vegas Arts Center.

The identical sculptures feature a Black woman and a yellow sankofa, a mythical bird symbolizing rebirth in the African American community. They also include silhouettes of dancers and musicians.

Tyler Jones, an actor and filmmaker who lives across the street from the Arts Center, watched the sculptures being installed. "It's breathtaking. It’s beautiful,” he said. 

The sculptures, the “Queen of the Arts,” were created by Florida artists Gus and Lina Ocampolsilva. It took them about a year to design and another nine months to sculpt the pieces.

A recent $40,000 donation from the Howard Hughes Corp. to the Mayor’s Fund for Las Vegas LIFE funded the completion and installation of the the sculptures.

"We know you share our vision for enhancing the role played by public art," Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman told the crowd gathered for the unveiling.

Ally Haynes-Hamblen, director of the city’s Office of Cultural Affairs, said the sculptures are meant to be reflective of the Arts Center.

“They really wanted to make sure that these sculptures established there was not just performing arts happening here but also visual arts," she said.

The West Las Vegas Arts Center, built in 1995, features dance studios, art exhibition spaces, acting classes and other creative programs. Classes are fee-based, but the center also hosts free art workshops.