Bustin’ Ground: Chuck Brown Park vs. Other Musical Memorials
Chuck Brown’s already gotten a street dedicated to his memory (the 1900 block of 7th Street NW) and soon, another physical landmark will bear his name: Chuck Brown Park formally opens on Aug. 22 at 11 a.m. How does it compare to other public spaces built in honor of local music icons? Check out our analysis below. And now that the Godfather of Go-Go finally has his own recreation area, let’s turn our attention to the next issue at hand: renaming part of Rock Creek Park for Donald Byrd.
Chuck Brown Memorial Park
Location: 2901 20th St. NE
Date Dedicated: Aug. 22, 2014
Rendering of its namesake: Larger-than-life photos of Brown through the years, printed on tiles
But is it musical, really? Yes, visitors can play on a variety of drums and rainbow chimes.
Capacity for fun: Medium. There’s lawn seating and a paved area for informal performances.
Artist’s connection to the site: None. Politicians and planners just needed a wide open space to pay tribute to Brown.
Duke Ellington Plaza
Location: Florida Avenue and T Street NW
Date Dedicated: March 29, 2012
Rendering of its namesake: "Encore,” a 20-foot-tall granite and stainless steel sculpture of Ellington
But is it musical, really? Ellington sits at a piano in the sculpture, but it doesn’t make noise.
Capacity for fun: Low (it’s just a statue), but Zenebech Injera is only a few steps away.
Artist’s connection to the site: Ellington spent part of his youth living in Shaw.
Marvin Gaye Park
Location: Fitch Place and Division Avenue NE
Date Dedicated: April 2, 2006
Rendering of its namesake: A 6-foot ceramic mosaic of Gaye’s face from his What’s Going On album cover
But is it musical, really? Nope.
Capacity for fun: High. It’s got 1.6 miles of hiking and biking trails, plus a playground and amphitheater.
Artist’s connection to the site: Gaye grew up near the east end of the park and played one of his first gigs at what is now the onsite community center.
Rendering of Chuck Brown Park by Jackie Braitman; photo of Duke Ellington Plaza by Flickr user Rich Renomeron, used under a Creative Commons Attribution Generic 2.0 License; photo of Marvin Gaye Park courtesy of CityArtsDC.