Overtown Hopes New Performing Arts Center Will Bring Glory Back

Miami’s historic Overtown neighborhood is once the center of commerce and entertainment as the black community looks to bring the magic back.

The community celebrated the grand opening of the Overtown Performing Arts Center Friday evening. Also known as OPAC, the center was once a Methodist church but was recently restored and renovated.

“We feel like the OPAC will bring back the magic to Overtown,” said Suzan McDowell of Circle of One Marketing.

The funding came in part from the Community Redevelopment Agency which is focused on making the history-rich Overtown once again a center of arts and entertainment as it once was back in its heyday.

During the 50’s and 60’s, all of the biggest names in black music and acting would party and perform in Overtown.

“Back in the segregation days, when all the entertainers would come and perform on Miami Beach, they could live on Miami Beach. They lived in Overtown and they partied in Overtown. And, one of the missions of the CRA is to bring that glory back,” said Neil Shiver of Southeast Overtown/Park West CRA.

The arts center plans to host all kinds of events, from a jazz series and R&B concerts to dance performances. The center also hosts Sweet Butter Pop-Up Restaurant, which is a southern food dinner show and experience.

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