Pistol Packing Vaquero Is Held Up
Local historians who for more than 20 years have been trying to create Fort Worth’s first statue to honor the Hispanic culture are blazing mad now that it’s finished.
WFAA‘s Brett Shipp describes in this June 8 report how a city arts committee commissioned two Dallas artists to create a vaquero statue and requested that pistols be excluded in the design.
But the artists added a sidearm anyway, claiming historical accuracy.
A couple of years ago I wrote a Metro article about efforts to create this vaquero statue and quoted Justice of Peace Judge Manuel Valdez, the head of the Vaquero Project Committee, saying specifically that he did not want the vaquero to be packing a pistol.
Manuel described similar statues in other cities as historically inaccurate and borderline condescending because the vaqueros were depicted wearing pistols and bandoliers, which were typically worn by Mexican soldiers and bandits but not vaqueros.
The artists might be historically correct — some vaqueros no doubt wore pistols, just as American cowboys did.
But a Fort Worth committee spent countless hours developing the idea and raising the money. They commissioned the artists and made it abundantly clear they didn’t want a pistol.
The committee involved many people, plenty of discussions, and various compromises to reach an agreement on what the statue should look like.
Valdez has asked the artists to remove the pistols from the finished statue, obviously not an easy task. The artists refused.
The city is now alleging a breach of contract.
Looks like the artists shot themselves in the foot on this one.