‘Homage’ sculptor Jim Brothers dies

“We cannot do enough for them, they have given us their lives.”

Jim Brothers
Sculptor of Homage

If you study the man and then study the statue that he created for the citizens of Culpeper, you will see clearly why artist Jim Brothers was the quintessential choice to sculpt ‘Homage.’ A nationally recognized sculptor whose work is perhaps best known at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia, Brothers expressed in his art what he felt in his heart – an undying reverence for soldiers and all that they represent.

“I thought Kansas was friendly, but I am really liking Culpeper,” said Brothers at the time. He was staying at a local bed and breakfast and frequenting several of the businesses on Davis Street.

“From an early age, all I wanted to do was draw,” said Brothers who would scribble down portraits of people as he talked with them. As a college student at the University of Kansas, Brothers majored in commercial art but found sitting at desks tedious. An avid biker and collector of old cars, he dabbled as a mechanic and also did some social work but it was his foray into sculpting that has brought him the most pleasure and has occupied more than two decades of his life.

A student of history, Brothers did extensive research for his works not only for accuracy but for spirit. “I’ve made a lot of friends over the years,” said Brothers, “I’ve talked to a lot of soldiers…they trust me to do what I do best―tell their stories for them in art.”

Brothers considered himself a liberal when it came to politics or decisions sending young men and women to war. While he may not always be for the war, his heart is with the warriors and what they have done through history and what they are doing today.

Study Homage. Look at his face. See the lowered, sad eyes. Note the faint down turned edges of his mouth. He is paying respect to a fallen brother, a fellow soldier on the field. It is very moving, very emotional and a fitting tribute for Culpeper’s veterans of World War II and the Korean War.

Brothers believed that he had been given a talent and it was his journey in life to use it well. “I can’t do what they’ve done, but I can channel their energy and spirit into legacies that will outlive me,” said Brothers. “Hopefully they will be around for years to come and people will see them and remember.”

Brothers ‘Homage’ statue stands erected in Wine Memorial Park. It is surrounded by the serenity of tall trees, open space and inviting benches. Ceremonies are held there, TAPS is played and veterans of World War II and the Korean War and their families are remembered.

The bronze statue stands nearly 8 feet tall. The more you study it, the more you are invited to stand next to this soldier and to pay homage for all that he and countless others have endured.

Keith Price, who chaired the Veterans Recognition Committee and spoke at it’s official unveiling, was a great fan of Brothers and his work.

“Jim was a gracious and unassuming man who made it his life’s work to memorialize the heroism and sacrifice of the Greatest Generation. Fortuitous circumstances put us in contact with Jim, but it started a process that would make a significant and lasting contribution to Culpeper,” said Price.

Brothers crafted a smaller model of the finished statue which was used for fund-raising purposes.

“His Homage sculpture, which in 2008 existed only as a small model, was just what we were looking for to complete the recognition of our local World War II and Korean War veterans at Wine Street Park. Jim visited Culpeper twice during the over two years needed to make the Homage monument a reality. He took an immediate liking to the town and its people, felt very comfortable here, and loved the small park where his sculpture would stand. Jim was a product of the small towns of Kansas, and he said that in Culpeper he saw a reflection of his own roots. Each day several thousand people see Jim’s bronze sculpture of General Eisenhower in the rotunda of the US Capitol in Washington, and it’s nice to know we also have a piece of him here in our own quiet corner of the world,” added Price.

Chris Snider, now serving as Eric Cantor’s (VA-07) representative in Culpeper, was instrumental in advocating for a memorial at Wine Park to remember the county’s veterans.

“It’s very sad news. Jim was sick, but was very quiet about it,” said Snider. “He thought that ‘Homage’ might be the last piece that he would be able to complete.”

“Jim certainly left a mark on us and Culpeper, and not only with his work. He was a fine person.”

Brothers was in the process of creating another ‘Homage’ statue for the 70th anniversary of D-Day for the memorial in Bedford. Presentation will be in June of next year. He had told officials in Culpeper that if he ever created another it would have slight differences. Brothers had finished the clay mold. It just needs to be cast.

Culpeper’s ‘Homage’ is unique and Brothers contribution to the community a lasting legacy.