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Art is one of the most provocative and intriguing parts of the upcoming Life is Beautiful festival Oct. 24-26. It’s also been a defining factor of the downtown festival, which spruced up the side of more than a dozen buildings in 2013.
The murals were a hit with downtown business owners and residents alike.
One mural, however, caused a bit of controversy. It was a mural depicting a cowboy in an oversized yellow hat and three reels of a slot machine in his chest, reaching out with hands to more hands poking up from the desert floor.
Kazki spent a week painting the east-facing exterior of the Emergency Arts building, but the owners said that the mural didn’t reflect the spirit of all the people working downtown. A month after the festival, workers covered it with white paint.
Charlotte Dutoit, curator of the festival street art, said she would do everything she could not to have that happen again, while not harming the artist draw of Life is Beautiful.
But another mural, a portrait of a tank and oil derrick around a beautiful woman with the word "AWARE" overhead, was covered in the last week. All that remains is "AWARE."
Dutoit said this year's murals project are a "cool factor."
"I think that we are a cool factor for the festival... and we are a decoration for the (festival) footprint."
Ed Fuentes, who has written for years about street art here and in Los Angeles, said this year's murals fit Las Vegas.
"In terms of public art and the tradition of site-specific narrative and story of location, there really isn't much of that, but that's OK," he said. "Maybe it is best that it's like 1980s plop art ... the beauty of the street art is you can make up your own story behind it, and in that way you can bypass all the politics and how they got up or got down in the first place and enjoy the art for its own nature."
Charlotte Dutoit, curator, street art program for Life is Beautiful festival
Ed Fuentes, writes about street art in LA and Las Vegas
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