Matthews Southwest and South Side on Lamar held a celebration to commemorate a permanent installation honoring the memory of local music icon Bill Wisener of Bill’s Records, which was created by Dallas-based artist Jennifer Morgan, on Thursday, April 27. The event kicked off with a cocktail reception and remarks from Jack Matthews, president of Matthews Southwest and developer in The Cedars, along with creator Jennifer Morgan.
Jennifer recently completed the mixed-media installation centered around a portrait of Bill that also featured memorabilia from Bill’s Records, including: concert posters, photos (some autographed by notable celebrities), personal notes, tchotchkes, and of course, records. She spoke at the unveiling about the difficulty in choosing from among the many special pieces of memorabilia, especially from the iconic collage behind the counter of Bill’s Records that included personal and heartfelt notes to Bill, and is the reason for the green balcony in the installation.
“I had a perfect timing moment with Bill one night when I was working on a different mural in the basement [of South Side on Lamar]. He shuffled by in the wee hours and passed as I was stepping back to evaluate if I was finished or should add more, a difficult crossroads for an artist... making the call to walk away. Unprompted, he said, ‘I like this and all the negative space that you left in the composition,’ as if to vocalize the answer to the question in my head,” Jennifer said.
While creating the mural in the installation, people strolling through the artist quarters would regularly stop to chat with Jennifer and share their own personal connection to Bill or how he touched their life in some way. He was everyone's ray of sunshine, and the celebration brought everyone together to honor Bill’s legacy.
Members of Bill’s family including Jennifer, Atticus, and Barbara Wisener attended the celebration, along with Dallas City Council member Jesse Moreno, and current and past residents of South Side on Lamar who had a connection to Bill. Guests included: Justin Parscale, Ben Mackey, Gina Norris, Anne Bothwell and Kent Barker, Cris Worley, Jeffrey Yarborough, David Card, Melanie Ferguson, and others.