According to a press release issued recently, Mayor Eric Johnson marked Sunday, October 3rd as “Vaughan Brothers Day” to honor Stevie Ray and Jimmie Vaughan. “We are Music & Music is Us” is a structure of public artwork to show respect for the brothers. It stands tall at Kiest Park in Oak Cliff.
In a YouTube video about the public display, Jennifer Scripps, the Director of the Office of Arts and Culture, talks about the structure. “We are so excited for the new statue in Kiest Park,” she said. “It’s become increasingly important to the public art committee and to so many that we begin to really honor and pay tribute to those individuals that have made Dallas known both locally and across the country and even internationally.”
John Jenkins, the Director of Dallas Park and Recreation, comments on the video as well. He explains that Kiest Park is one of the oldest parks in Dallas. Jenkins is eager to share this tribute with the community, allowing them to appreciate visual arts and helping to pay tribute to the Vaughan brothers. He states, “We are Music and Music is Us is a wonderful recognition for the Vaughan brothers and a great asset to Kiest Park and our park system.”
Many foundations and individuals have become significant donors to this project. Donors include the Cabaniss Family Foundation, Jeffrey Stephen Davis, John Dennis, The Kessler Theater, The North Texas Music Foundation, The Oak Cliff Foundation, and Kirby Warnock.
Kirby Warnock is a film writer for documentaries, director, producer, editor for Buddy Magazine, and a lead fundraiser. In the YouTube video, he states, “This has been a long hard road that we’ve been working on for more than six years.” Warnock mentions that he played guitar in his earlier years and spoke about when he saw Jimmie and Stevie perform. The brothers had the talent of playing the guitar behind their neck and back while hitting every note on the spot. “I realized they were playing an instrument that I was suddenly no longer familiar with,” he said.
The creator of the four 8×10 panels is artist Casto Solano. He is a Basque artist and was the one who named the structure “We are Music & Music is Us.” The Office of Arts and Culture for the city of Dallas mentions Solano and how he feels about his artwork. “The sculpture creates a place of belonging on which to forge our images together with theirs. A piece that will stand as a homepage to two remarkable men.”
A Basque artist creates their structures to be monumental and placed within spaces that remain open to provide meeting points for all people. The pieces are typically made of iron, wood, or alabaster and incorporate nature wherever possible.
Jimmie Vaughan left a message on the YouTube video about how much this dedication means to him, especially knowing how his brother, Stevie, would have turned 67 years old on Sunday, October 3rd. “I wanted to tell everybody thank you for all the beautiful thoughts and cards and letters and all the wonderful things.”
Stevie and Jimmie Vaughan were born in Oak Cliff and grew up near where Kiest Park stands. They began their musical journey as children, learning how to play the guitar. In the 1970s, they both moved to Austin to perform Blues music. At first, both brothers performed solo acts and joined different bands to play along with them. Then, in the spring of 1990, both Stevie and Jimmie created the album “Family Style.” Stevie died tragically at the age of 35 on August 27th, 1990, as a passenger on a helicopter when it crashed into a ski hill. Jimmie still records music and performs.
The press release states that “The Vaughan brothers are widely recognized as blues legends in the City of Dallas, the State of Texas, the United States, and beyond.”
At the end of the release, the mayor declares, “Now, therefore, I, Eric Johnson, Mayor of the city of Dallas, do hereby proclaim Sunday, October 3rd, 2021, as Vaughan Brothers Day in Dallas, Texas.”