Alexis “Lexy” Hughan grew up in the arts community.
At the age of 3, Hughan began taking piano and dance lessons at Infinity Visual and Performing Arts. Her artistic abilities were developed and nurtured during the years that followed as she expanded her artistic journey with a variety of instruments, dance classes and art.
It became apparent to all who knew her, that Hughan’s passion and talent as an artist, musician, actor and dancer created a light around her that shone brightest when she was sharing her talents with others.
On Dec. 31, 2021, Hughan’s light was extinguished when she was tragically killed in a hit-and-run accident in Jamestown. She was 15 years old.
“Lexy was special,” said Shane Hawkins, Infinity executive director. “She was an Infinity student, but she was just so much a part of Infinity for 12 years.”
A Community Unites
In the days, weeks, and months that followed, not only did the arts community rally around Hughan’s friends and family to honor the Jamestown High School sophomore, but so did the community-at-large.
From Jamestown’s Municipal Building being lit with Hughan’s favorite colors and a makeshift memorial created on the corner of Sixth and Washington Streets to a celebration of life that filled the pews at First Covenant Church, it was clear no one was going to let Hughan’s light fade.
“We are overwhelmed by the amount of support and outreach that the community has shown in Lexy’s memory,” said parents, Sara Rafaloski and Jeffrey Hughan. “We are grateful to each and every person who has helped, and continues to help make Lexy’s dreams come true.”
Although young, Hughan’s dream was to find a way for people to express themselves through the arts. Recently, a collaborative effort between Infinity and Jamestown High School’s Class of 2024 has helped bring Hughan’s dream to life.
Proceeds from Infinity’s fundraising event, featuring autographed sports memorabilia, has led to the creation of an agency endowment fund to enrich the lives of future Infinity students.
A Fund to Benefit the Arts
Infinity’s Lexy Hughan Memorial Fund will be administered by the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation and will distribute grants annually to the arts organization. This is the first fund at the Foundation that is set up to directly benefit Infinity.
According to Hawkins, the fund will support classes and additional programming, with input from Hughan’s parents, as to what would have been important to Hughan.
“Lexy understood the powerful impact that arts mentoring has for young people and regularly shared many ideas for classes,” Hawkins said. “We hope that by starting this permanent fund in Lexy’s name that those classes, and her name, will continue to be a part of Infinity, forever.”
Contributions to the fund were also raised by Hughan’s classmates at JHS through a flower sale at the high school. Class representatives also reached out to all the Jamestown Public School buildings to take up a collection in Hughan’s memory. In total, they raised $2,000 to be added to the fund.
“We hope by our class helping with Lexy’s fund that the community remembers what a wonderful person she was and that it will provide other students the opportunity to experience the arts that she loved so much,” said JHS Class of 2024 representatives, Ella Storms and Sydney Maggio.
Donations to Infinity’s Lexy Hughan Memorial Fund can be made through the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation by mailing a check to 418 Spring Street, Jamestown or online with a credit card at crcfonline.org.
“We can’t say how much we appreciate the support that Infinity has given our family during this time,” Sara and Jeff said. “We’re also so appreciative of the JHS Class of 2024. It is especially gratifying that Lexy reached her peers in a way that made them want to give back to her dreams.”