To end its fifth-year season, ARTtuesdays/Miami will talk all about Opa-Locka. That is the city in Miami-Dade with maybe the most eccentric architecture in Florida, and that’s saying something. Although the name derives from a Seminole word, the Moorish Revival-style buildings are meant to evoke Arabian Nights and Middle Eastern terrain more than a subtropical semi-swamp. Founded in 1926, several of the structures are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Lately, Opa-Locka has been experiencing its own form of revival, with a number of public art projects and other cultural initiatives being implemented to spark new life into the area.
Next Tuesday, May 13, a truly distinguished and interesting panel convenes to discuss the urban design and art prospects for the inner city enclave.
A couple of Miami’s most prominent public art proponents, the art duo Roberto Behar and Rosario Marquardt – who have several well-known outdoor pieces throughout town, along with numerous works displayed nationally and internationally – will take part. These “architects of hope” are the authors of the Opa-Locka Public Art Plan.
Brandi Reddick has overseen much of the public art projects for Miami-Dade County Art in Public Places, including the plethora of artwork at the new Miami Marlins Stadium, Port Miami and Miami International Airport. She also directs the South Florida Cultural Consortium visual and media arts program.
At the table will be Germane Barnes, a resident artist in Opa-Locka who teaches design at the University of Miami School of Architecture. The L.A.-based designer and artist specializes in built environments and multicultural landscapes, such as the one he worked on in Cape Town, South Africa. And Willie Logan, the founder of the Opa-Locka Community Development Corporation, longtime politician and adjunct professor at UM’s School of Architecture, will round out the panel, moderated by art critic Elisa Turner. Really, it’s just what the community – the broadest one – needs to talk about.
ARTtuesday/Miami's "Up-and-Coming Opa-Locka: Get the Inside Story" gathering begins at 6 p.m. on May 13th; the panel discussion and Q&A session starts at 7 p.m. at Books & Books, 265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables. Free.