Florida Highwaymen Renaissance Headed To Delray Beach


Staff report

Historic landscape artists known as the Florida Highwaymen will be coming to Delray Beach for pop-up exhibits, live painting demonstrations and a panel discussion this month.

The Arts Garage, Spady Cultural Heritage Museum and the city of Delray Beach have teamed up with sponsors IBM’s Southeast Employees Credit Union (IBMSECU) to bring the artists on Feb. 23-24.

In the early 1950s through the 1980s a group of 26 African-American artists known as the “Florida Highwaymen” used vivid and bright colors to display the beautiful untouched Florida landscape. The Florida Highwaymen painted wind-bent palm trees, serene sunsets, churning oceans and bright red Poinciana trees. They painted from their garages and back yards on inexpensive Upson board and then on the weekends they would travel and sell their Highwaymen paintings to hotels, offices, businesses and individuals who appreciated the artwork.

Their work became a cultural phenomenon in Florida and are now worth thousands of dollars. Collectors from all over the world collect their art and the Florida Highwaymen have cemented their place in Florida history. Featured original Florida Highwaymen include Curtis Arnett, R.L. Lewis, Willie Reagan and Isaac Knight.

Art will be exhibited from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Feb. 23-24 at both Arts Garage and Spady Museum for free. Live painting demonstrations will take place on Feb. 23 from 1 to 2 p.m.

A panel discussion and reception moderated by Mayor Shelly Petrolia at the Arts Garage has a $10 entry fee at 1 p.m. on Feb. 24.