L.A. Artists Move to Opa-Locka With Plans to Redesign the Community

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Read also: New Public Art in Opa-Locka Promises to Break Down Barriers, Literally

Los Angeles-based designers Christian Stayner and Jennifer Bonner do not look like they belong in Opa-locka.

But when the distressed neighborhood called for artists to come install public art and start a movement, the hipster pair answered and came to the impoverished site with experience and a plan.

One year ago, the Opa-locka Community Development Corporation received a grant that would allow it to launch a project to erect public art pieces and strengthen the community's involvement with the arts. Stayner and Bonner were one of four artist teams chosen to help drive the cause.

The thing about these Angelinos, though, is that they don't plan on leaving any time soon.

"We won't be just dropping a piece of art in the community and leaving," said Stayner, who along with Bonner, plans to turn deserted, foreclosed houses into public spaces for work and art -- including a living space of their very own.

"We have to be there on the ground," backed up Bonner. "We can't dump something off and leave. We really need to be invested in the community, because that's how [it] works."

Over the course of at least the next year, the pair will take the formerly private spaces and transform them into public amenities. Possible uses for the buildings include a planning office offering design services pro bono, an employment office, a neighborhood gallery, and an "artist hotel" for artists coming in from all over the country to participate in the larger, city-wide project. Talk about Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

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Conception by Jennifer Bonner and Christian Stayner

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10 comments
Anonymouse
Anonymouse

you lost me with "the hipster pair" quip. 

Danny Brody
Danny Brody

Apparently, "Walter Hood and Gale Fulton Ross are celebrated African American artists both in Florida and around the country." (Mentioned elsewhere)

Dbaptiste
Dbaptiste

 I'm quite surprised that there is not at least one black artist involved.  With the NUMEROUS, AMAZING black contemporary artists working today, they couldn't find ONE locally, or in the whole U.S.?  In a community that has been so disenfranchised, this is disheartening-and yet, typical, for Miami.  

Lindsey
Lindsey

The middle of the triangle would be a great place for public art...as long as they only work between the hours of midnight and 5am. Think it'd really give them a sense of the "community" they're here to become a part of. Yay hipsters!

Geoff Paugam
Geoff Paugam

Take note Miami "Artists".  With the Legions of "artists" living here in Miami and there was not a Miami selection?  We have to get outside help to cleanup or brighten our community with art?  Instead of painting and re-painting the same "graffiti" over and over again...take your skillz to the next level and get out of that comfort zone.

Love305
Love305

Refreshing to see people with good attitudes around here.

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