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Opa-Locka Light District illuminates voices of local residents by displaying short poems

Posted at 7:31 PM, Aug 17, 2021

A public art project in Opa-Locka highlights the dreams and voices of residents in the underserved community. The Opa-Locka Light District was created by O, Miami and the Opa-Locka Community Development Corporation to display original short poems written by local residents.

"We go into communities and teach poems to students and community members, then we broadcast those poems back into the community as a form of infrastructure and public art," said Melissa Gomez with O,Miami.

The poems were gathered through workshops in Opa-Locka community centers and schools.

Local resident Junior Williams is one of the ten poets whose work is featured. Williams said he’s been writing poems and music since he was in elementary school.

"This is where I live, so it means a lot. It means that people like me in the community can get our voices heard and we can get our thoughts out there and share something with the rest of the community," said Williams.

At night, the poems can be found projected onto the walls and sidewalks of several buildings including The Hurt Building. Each poem addresses topics like democracy, public safety and infrastructure.

"It says a dream is a vessel that runs on the tracks of your mind. It means that your dreams, they carry you and they carry your actions. You conceive a dream, it runs through you and then you can run towards that dream and make it a reality," said Williams.

The Opa-Locka Light District is the brainchild of Ashley Cover, who served as acting arts manager for OLCDC.

The purpose is to illuminate the center of downtown Opa-Locka and promote safety and civic pride.

"I think it shows our residents that arts and creativity is part of place-making and part of community building. I think it also shows other communities in the region that Opa-Locka is here and that we’re a bustling community with lots happening," said Adrienne Chadwick with OLCDC.

The art installation will be up until the end of April. You can find a map of where the poems are located by clicking this link.