KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Knoxville arts community is commemorating the legacy of a beloved figure with the creation of a scholarship endowment and a special proclamation by the Knox County Commission.

Brandon J. Gibson, managing director of the Marble City Opera, died last year. The Knox County Commission has proclaimed Thursday, June 8, which would have been his 37th birthday, “Brandon J. Gibson Day.”

The proclamation, written by Commissioner Courtney Durrett, will be read on Thursday at the opening night of Marble City Opera’s production of “Susannah.”

Gibson attended Austin-East High School in Knoxville and enrolled at the University of Tennessee. He worked as an actor, writer, reviewer and essayist, and voice actor.

He performed in and helped produce a variety of unique works as Marble City Opera’s managing director. Gibson played the lead role in “Shadowlight,” an opera about the life of the Knoxville-born artist Beauford Delaney. He composed the libretto for “I Can’t Breathe,” a 2022 original opera revolving around the murder of George Floyd which garnered national attention.

Friends and colleagues of Gibson have worked with the University of Tennessee to create the Brandon J. Gibson UT Knoxville Alumni Tri-Star Scholarship.

When the scholarship meets its fundraising goal of $12,500, the university will match the total to create an endowment. It will benefit undergraduate students currently enrolled at or admitted to UT with preference to applicants who attended Austin-East High School, are originally from East Knoxville and/or demonstrate an interest in the arts.

“There’s not many ways to commemorate someone forever,” said Chris Weathers, a close friend of Gibson who helped facilitate the creation of the fund. “This was one of the ways I think Brandon would have been very proud of.”

A brunch benefit for the scholarship endowment will be held Sunday, June 11 from noon to 2 p.m. at the Dogwood Center at 2743 Wimpole Avenue.

All proceeds will benefit the Brandon J. Gibson UT Knoxville Alumni Tri-Star Scholarship. Contributions to the scholarship fund can be made here.