Brown's death hastens plans for Legacy Monument

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January 9, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga.---He'll always be larger than life for music fans around the world.

Now there are plans to honor James Brown with a much bigger statue than the one that's now in downtown Augusta.

In the past two years, Augusta has honored James Brown with a statue and by naming the arena after him.

Now, some members of Augusta's arts community are making plans for another tribute.

Only on 12, News 12 has a look at the plans for the James Brown Legacy Monument.

With Mr. Brown's death, this is likely not the only tribute in the works.

And even though Augusta has honored James Brown in several ways already, the committee organizing this memorial says it will be much different.

The life-size statue of James Brown on Broad Street is perhaps the most tangible and visible image of the Godfather in Augusta.

But cultural arts advocate Anthony Page says Brown was larger than life and deserves a fitting monument.

"It's not just a statue. Because the statue we have is awesome. It's a wonderful asset to our city," Page said. "This would be another. Like if you go to France, there are several statues of Napoleon."

Page is chairman of a committee working with world-renowned British sculptor Donald Brown to create the James Brown Legacy Monument. Brown is the same sculptor who created the Millennium Monument, soon the be unveiled in London.

The idea for a James Brown monument had been on the sculptor's to-do list for some time, but Brown's death made it a higher priority.

"It touched his heart, and he was more committed to the project," Page said. "He wanted him to see the final work."

The Legacy Monument features three poses of the Godfather at his best: dancing on stage, kneeling with his cape, and a singing into a microphone.

"Each of these figures of James Brown will be about nine feet tall, and it will all be coming from an individual base," Page said. "The entire monument will be 15 foot."

The project is expected to cost several hundred thousand dollars. So who's paying?

Page says funding will all come from private donations, and he says many people have already expressed interest.

"The goal is when it comes to the city, it will be paid in full," Page said. "We'll coordinate with the family--where do you want to put it--because we don't want to put that pressure on the city."

Page says James Brown's daughter Deanna Brown Thomas has met the sculptor and is on board with the project.

Right now, the sculptor is finishing on a more final model that he will present to the family.

Augusta city leaders have not really been included in the discussion because there is no certainty the monument will be in Augusta or on city property. There's talk of putting it in South Carolina.

At this time there is no definite date for completion.