After a year of planning to honor a local legend, Wilmington officials unveiled a statue of jazz musician Clifford Brown, which sits at the center entrance of Kirkwood Park.
Wilmington Mayor James Baker who dedicated the life sized bronze statue says it’s located in the perfect place especially since the popular musician was born and raised close by in Wilmington’s East Side neighborhood.
“Wilmington is fortunate to have many fine examples of public art that beautify our public spaces, encourage neighborhood pride, and express our City’s value,” said Mayor Baker.
The 8-foot statue was created by artist Jon Hair of North Carolina, who was chosen after a nationwide search. Wilmington’s Percent for Art funds funded the 125,000 sculpture along with “Kirkwood Park” entrance sign that was also created by Hair.
“This new sculpture is a welcome addition to Wilmington’s public art landscape. It is particularly fitting that we pay tribute to Wilmington’s own Clifford Brown, who was more than just one the greatest jazz trumpters who ever lived-his reputation for hard work and clean, wholesome living make him an enduring role model for the City youths,” added Baker.
Nicknamed and called “Brownie” by many firends, the jazz legend played with other legendary musicans such as Lionel Hampton, Art Blakey and Max Roach. In fact, at one time, before Brown was trajically killed in a car accident, he was named “New Star of the year” in 1954.
Each year the city host an annual Jazz Festival in honor of Clifford Brown (October 30,1930-June 26,1956).