DC People & Places: Black History Spotlight - Chuck Brown Memorial Park | By: James Partlow IV, DGS Digital & Social Media Strategist
In celebration of Black History Month, we are spotlighting recent Department of General Services (DGS) construction projects that are named after significant Black History People & Places in the District of Columbia, our nation. The third project that we will highlight is the Chuck Brown Memorial Park in Ward 5.
The Chuck Brown Memorial Park is a new and exciting location that truly honors the memory of one of DC’s greatest legends, Mr. Chuck Brown.
The park consists of a memorial wall honoring Mr. Brown’s life and achievements and an abstract sculpture that marks the entrance to the park and signifies the “call and response” associated with the go-go music that Mr. Brown pioneered.
The memorial wall is sloped and made of colored concrete with images of Mr. Brown on high quality ceramic tiles. These images will be about 8-12 feet in height. At the southern side of the memorial there is a smaller wall of colored concrete with 2 metal panels that lists the musical contributions of Mr. Brown (discography panels).
The main wall and the discography wall is separated by a stairwell that connects the existing playground area to the new informal performance plaza area along the east end of the site. The plaza is constructed of pervious pavers with a seating area of turf-grass. To the west of the new wall there is an interactive instrument area with 5 drums that can be played by visitors.
The site also contains bio-retention areas with varied landscaping and other site amenities including seating, trash/recycle bins, game and picnic tables.
The sculpture consists of three abstract representations; one of Mr. Brown and two dancers. The three pieces are located within two circular areas (a stage and a dance floor respectively) that are enclosed by short bench walls. The overall piece is interactive and allows the visitor to experience the go-go “call and response” through LED lights that are activated through motion pads and/or motion sensors throughout the piece.
Location: 18th/20th Franklin Street, NE
Architect: Marshall/Moya Design
General Contractor: Broughton Construction, Inc.
LEED Level: Bio-retention rain gardens, and permeable pavers
Start Date: April 12, 2014 (this is the date demo began)
End Date: August 2014
Project Manager: W. Keith Jones
Construction Agency: DGS
Fun Facts About Chuck Brown
- Singer and guitarist Chuck Brown was born on August 22, 1936, in North Carolina
- "Godfather of Go-Go," a sub-genre of funk music
- Began playing guitar with Jerry Butler and The Earls of Rhythm in the early 1960s
- Joined Latin-American band Los Latinos.
- Hit songs include "I Need Some Money" and "Bustin' Loose"