Miami Gardens hopes to be the home of an African history museum that can draw visitors from across the county. The group behind the new space will host a weekend of fund-raising events for the project.
The city and the Nigerian American Foundation have partnered for a benefit concert and gala to support the proposed African Museum of Arts and Culture (AMAC) Center. The concert will take place 11 p.m. Aug. 28 at the Betty T. Ferguson Center, 3000 NW 199th St., and feature Nigerian musician Flavour along with merengue artist Ivelisse Santos and others.
A gala will be held 7 p.m. Aug. 29 at the Nine O One Event Center, 901 NW 183rd St. The event will also serve as an awards ceremony for local leaders and philanthropists. Patrick Ojo, a spokesman for the foundation, said it hopes to raise $1 million to help fund the project.
“We are trying to help the local environment of the city,” Ojo said. “The center is meant to attract a lot of people to the place and bolster the local economy.”
Miami-Dade County provided the foundation with the land in 2013, at Northwest 207th Street and Northwest 32nd Avenue, and has required it to have the center completed by 2018. Through its lease, the foundation pays $1 a year.
The project is expected to cost about $5 million and will host a museum of African artifacts, sculptures, artworks along with lecture and banquet halls.
The foundation hopes the center can make that area of Miami Gardens, northwest of Sun Life Stadium and primarily residential, a destination for tourists and residents from across South Florida.
“When you see the big buses for city tours and sightseeing tours — we hope that it will become one of those exciting places to visit in Miami-Dade County,” Ojo said.
The project has faced some opposition from neighbors and members of the North County Citizen’s Association at a Miami Gardens city council meeting in June. The council voted against a $125,000 matching grant to help fund the project after residents spoke out against the location, but not necessarily the idea for the museum.
“I live about four blocks from this location. Good idea. Wrong place,” former Councilman Aaron Campbell said at the June meeting.
Despite that, the project continues to move forward and must be built at that location by the 2018 deadline or the land will revert to the county. Ojo hopes the weekend of events will help them reach that goal and gain support from residents.
“The same way you see people flooding to downtown Miami and Bayside and areas like that, our goal is to make it as attractive as other places that are destinations,” Ojo said.
Other performers at the concert include hip-hop artists M.O.G. and Filon Jay, jazz musician John Erinosho, kompa artist Rachel Louissaint and afro-soul drummer Ayanbirin. For more information on the concert and to purchase tickets visit AMACBenefitConcert.eventbrite.com. Tickets to the gala can be purchased at www.eventbrite.com/e/amac-night-fundraiser-gala-tickets-18214125941
If you go
▪ What: AMAC Benefit Concert and Gala
▪ When: 11 p.m. Aug. 28 and 7 p.m. Aug. 29
▪ Where: Concert- Betty T. Ferguson Center, 3000 NW 199th St. Gala- Nine O One Event Center, 901 NW 183rd St.
▪ Cost: Concert- $50 to $120. Gala- $75