FLORIDA’S HIGHWWAYMEN: LEGENDARY LANDSCAPES

by Bob Beatty

Paintings by the Florida Highwaymen are prized by collectors today, but their story is about much more than art. The name refers to African American artists, mostly from the Fort Pierce area, who painted landscapes and made a living selling them, door to door, to businesses and individuals throughout the state from the mid-1950s through the 1980s.

It was not a formal movement and represented no “official” group, yet the Highwaymen thrived as artists and entrepreneurs through their sheer determination to succeed as painters and not as laborers in citrus groves, their expected social role. They honed techniques to rapidly produce their paintings and developed strategies to sell and market their artwork outside of the formal world of art galleries and exhibitions. Their story is one of African Americans who carved out unique economic opportunities despite the social conditions of the Jim Crow South.

Discover the story of the Florida Highwaymen through an engaging presentation by Bob Beatty, author of Florida’s Highwaymen: Legendary Landscapes and former Curator of Education at the History Center in Orlando.

Harold Newton

James Gibson

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© 2008 Bob Beatty

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