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Takoma Park artist Jackie L. Braitman has been selected to create a permanent art installation on the site of Chuck Brown Park, the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities announced this morning. Her interactive sculpture, called “Wind Me Up, Chuck,” features steel figures representing Chuck Brown and two dancers, as well as an interactive LED display, and is intended to capture the “call and response inclusiveness of go-go,” according to Braitman.
The oversized elements of the installation reflect Brown’s enormous persona and his impact on D.C. culture. At the same time, Braitman’s design is meant to act as a park within the park, an intimate place where visitors can sit and learn about the life of the godfather of go-go. Plans for a tribute to Brown within the Northeast park, an initiative announced by Mayor Vince Gray following Brown’s death in 2012, have been in flux since its inception. Architects first proposed a 900-seat seat music pavilion, but after neighbors raised noise concerns, the pavilion was scaled back to seat 200 before being eliminated altogether. Braitman’s design includes a small stage and dance floor, though it’s not clear if any music will be performed there.
Braitman, who also holds a Ph.D. in decision analysis, was selected from a group of 10 artists who submitted proposals last year. In praising her design, DCCAH executive director Lionell Thomas says the work will “encourage the viewer to experience Chuck Brown’s multiple contributions.” The sculpture will be installed in the corner of the park this summer.