Go-Go Park Rocks the District
In honor of the Go-Go music legend Chuck Brown, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray unveiled a new Chuck Brown Memorial Park on August 22. In addition to being Brown’s birthday, the date was declared Chuck Brown Day in the District after the artist’s death in 2012.
The $1.8 million park, located at 20th and Franklin Streets in Northeast Washington, features a mosaic wall including large scale images of Brown as well as an abstract sculpture by Jackie Braitman. The interactive sculpture, “Wind Me Up Chuck!” is designed to portray the essence of the call-and-response structure of Brown’s funky go-go music, as well as Brown’s contribution as an artist to the city’s music scene.
The 42,000 square foot site, carved out of a section of Langdon Park is intended to memorialize Brown, who rose to fame in the 1970s and ‘80s as a bandleader, singer, guitarist and songwriter and who is remembered for many hits including “Bustin’ Loose,” “We Need Some Money,” and “Go-Go Swing.” Park designers and city officials say they also hope the park, which features an outdoor performance plaza, a swath of grass, and a seating area with games and interactive instruments, will help inspire future creativity.
Brown continued to perform into his final years. “I’m not retured because I’m not tired,” he famously said. In 2005, the National Endowment for the Arts presented Brown with a Lifetime Heritage Fellowship Award. He died at the age of 75.