November-December 2014 … The Global Online Magazine of Arts, Information & Entertainment … Volume 10, Number 6
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Raul Villarreal

In memoriam: Raul Villarreal, 1964-2019, by Dr. Jose Rodeiro:

My dear friend Raul Villarreal (1964-2019) passed away last night from a sudden massive heart attack. I am heartbroken and shattered by this loss; I can hardly think from the shock of this dreadful news. My entire family extends condolences to our beloved friend Rita (his wife) and his and her entire loving family.

Raul truly touched the hearts and souls of thousands of people via his remarkable fine art, his thoughtful teaching, his brilliant PR work, his curatorial projects, his writing, as well as through his love of dance, music, hilarious sense of humor, love of films, food, wine, rum, and cigars. Hence, right now, and forever, thousands of people are saddened by his loss, including tearful colleagues at Santa Fe College, Gainesville, as well as, his myriad students and colleagues at the College of St. Elizabeth, Morristown, NJ; his colleagues, classmates, teachers, and students at NJCU, CCM, PCC, Rutgers, and all the other beloved schools that he graced with his being, art, and big-hearted capacity for always giving 100%.

He was an outstanding MFA graduate student. And, it was my great privileged to have taught him and to have guided his MFA thesis at NJCU. Beyond all the above, he loved Rita (his wife), he loved his parents, and all of his & Rita’s family. Plus, he will always be a masterful painter, brilliant graphic designer, and an ingenious sculptor, whose pieces inhabit major art collections and institutions world-wide.

He remains a great author as well. And, as a curator, he played the leading role in the Neo-Latino Art Movement (2003-present), even originating the name “Neo-Latino;” a group that he successfully led in recent years. In fact, this fall, thanks to Dr. Midori Yoshimoto, The Neo-Latino Group will exhibit at NJCU’s Visual Arts Gallery. Likewise, he brilliantly curated many of the early nation-wide art shows for the We Are You Project, launching exceptional shows from California to NYC. As well as mounting countless PURA CUBA exhibitions throughout NYC’s Metropolitan Area and Florida.

Twice a year (since 2016) he organized chartered tours to Cuba to visit the Hemingway Museum’s “Villarreal Room,” and other major Cuban cultural attractions and art museums. His acclaimed books and papers on Ernest Hemingway are treasured throughout the world, especially, Rene Villarreal & Raul Villarreal’s “Hemingway’s Cuban Son.” I don’t know where or how to end or stop my enormous gush of praise and loving appreciation of his life, his being, his art, his friendship, and his love.. All that keeps popping into my mind as I write is Shakespeare’s lines from Julius Cesar, “His life was gentle, and the elements were so mixed in him that Nature might stand up and say to all the world, “This was a man!”

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For more by & about Raul, including a 2012 Interview with Ragazine founder Mike Foldes, please visit the following sites: 
http://old.ragazine.cc/2012/06/
http://old.ragazine.cc/short-takes/
http://old.ragazine.cc/2012/04/we-are-you-project/
http://old.ragazine.cc/category/food/