Exhibitions - The Florida Highwaymen & Lake County Public Schools

February 3 - March 4, 2023
Opening Reception February 3, 2022, 5pm-7pm

The Lake County Museum of Art (LCMA) is honored to be exhibiting an array of Florida Highwaymen paintings on loan from several generous collectors during Black History Month. The exhibit will include works from Sylvester Wells, Sam Newton, Harold Newton, Al "Blood" Black, Willie Daniels, Ray McLendon, Don D. Brown and the only female artist of the group - Mary Ann Carroll.

"Florida Highwaymen" is the collective name given to a group of African American painters from Ft. Pierce, Florida, who began painting Florida landscapes in the late 1950s. Local landscape artist, A. E. "Beanie" Backus, helped young artists developed their own individual techniques using vivid and bright colors to display the varied and beautiful Florida landscapes of wild palm trees, colorful and dramatic sunsets, and stunning ocean scenes. The artists painted on inexpensive upson board or masonite and frames were made from crown molding. The Highwaymen were excluded from traditional art shows and gallery exhibits, so they would pack their paintings in the trunk of their car and travel up and down Florida's main highways, mainly A1A and US-1, selling their paintings to hotels, offices, businesses and individuals who appreciated the artwork.

LCMA is excited to exhibit the collection of original Florida Highwaymen paintings alongside the colorful and expressive works of Minneola Charter School's 5th grade art class. Art teacher Jenny Waalewyn was so intrigued by both the art and the history of the Florida Highwaymen, she applied for and received a grant to teach her students not only the history of these brilliant artists, but their technique as well. "We studied their beautiful paintings and together we created a few of our own Florida landscapes in the style of the Highwaymen, including big skies, bold colors, waving palms, glistening water and some royal Poinciana trees. The students learned to use different brushes to create different effects with acrylic paints on canvas," says Ms. Waalewyn. "The results are amazing!"