MacFarland MS Students Create Mural Memorial for Go-Go Legend 

On a two-story brick ‘canvas,’ young artists beautify Petworth neighborhood with Chuck Brown painting

Photo by Andy Le
MacFarland Middle School students painted this image of the late Chuck Brown, known as the “Godfather of Go-Go,” on the side of Sweet Mango Café at the intersection of Georgia and New Hampshire avenues NW.

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Chuck Brown may be gone, but a DC restaurant and a group of MacFarland Middle School students have made sure he won’t be forgotten.

On Friday, May 18, MacFarland Middle School art teacher Charles Jean-Pierre led students a few blocks south to Sweet Mango Café at the intersection of New Hampshire and Georgia avenues to paint a mural of the legendary “Godfather of Go-Go.”

With a two-story brick “canvas” and supplies from Annie’s Ace Hardware on Upshur Street, students got to work, painting a likeness of Chuck Brown on the side of the restaurant in a highly visible spot, just a few feet from the Georgia Avenue/Petworth Metro station.

About five hours later, a striking lime-green and blue mural of Chuck Brown adorned the side of the building, greeting commuters, Petworth residents and diners alike.  

“The main focus is having students take pride in their community and showing them they can literally do big things,” said Jean-Pierre, who has worked with students on other murals inside the school. “This brightens up this whole part of town.”

Students have a little more work to complete the project, but the experience has been a big confidence booster for students.

“A project of that scale builds confidence,” Jean-Pierre said noting that the project connects students to the community and instills a sense of pride as well as ownership. “Their work will be here for years to come.”

MacFarland Middle School Dean of Students James Flowers, who sketched the image based on a photo by City Paper photographer Darrow Montgomery, said projects like the Chuck Brown mural empower the community and bring people together.

“This doesn’t just beautify that intersection, but it also brings a positive energy,” Flowers said. “I was amazed by it.”

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