Germane Barnes, a 27-year-old artist who relocated six months ago from Los Angeles to Opa-locka, could be remembered as a pioneer in 2026.
By then, when Opa-locka will celebrate its centennial, city officials and community activists believe the city with a reputation for violence and drugs, would have turned into a thriving arts district.
Barnes moved to Magnolia North, a tough neighborhood formerly known as The Triangle, to transform abandoned buildings into works of art. Two other LA-based designers, Christian Stayner and Jennifer Bonner, are part of his project, funded by the nonprofit Opa-locka Community Development Corporation (OLCDC).
“People in the neighborhood are surprised that I moved here all the way from Los Angeles,” Barnes said, adding that he moved to Magnolia North to learn about the residents’ needs. His team wants to design “sculpturesque” additions to buildings where businesses such as a bakery or a bike repair shop are run.