For Future Development, Opa-locka Looks to the Arts

Long-time Miamians will spot Fernando Peinado’s Miami Herald article on Opa-locka’s artistic aspirations as the latest in a long line of Herald stories in which an economically troubled community seeks economic salvation through art.

Years ago, when Herald scribes wrote about the exciting potential of a rundown oceanfront neighborhood called South Beach, they were, like the legendary prophet Cassandra, heard but not heeded. As the unlikely equation South Beach + Art Deco + Artists added up, doubters consulted Aeschylus and learned that Cassandra was usually right. Wynwood was the next art-fueled success story and today the arts are blooming hopefully all over Miami-Dade County, brightening the landscape and boosting the economy wherever they take root.

Opa-locka is not exactly oceanfront property, but like South Beach it’s an economically disadvantaged area. And where South Beach has Art Deco, Opa-locka has its fever dream Arabian Nights architecture, a unique and inimitable souvenir of Florida’s ur-land boom of the 1920s documented by the new exhibition “Opa-locka: Mirage City” at HistoryMiami. The artistic and economic initiatives detailed in Peinado’s story could be the first intimations of the Next Big Thing.

Vintage 2-1 with artist’s studio space, minaret and dome, anyone?

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