The Lighthouse ArtCenter will showcase some of Florida’s most iconic artists in a special two-day exhibit to benefit the Martin County Special Needs Training Program. On April 1-2, “The Last Great American Art Movement of the 20th Century,” the Florida Highwaymen, will have artwork on display, and for sale, during the special exhibit, showcasing work from the 26 African-American artists whose work captured the ethereal beauty of the Florida landscape.
“Untitled,” Hezekiah Baker
Originating in Fort Pierce in the 1950s when A.E. Backus, a prominent white artist, taught Alfred Hair techniques on capturing the beauty of the Florida’s natural surroundings. Sharing these techniques with a collection of other self-taught painters, the Highwaymen largely painted in oil on upson board or reclaimed lumber, earning their name not from the artwork but from the hustle of the sale. Despite racial and cultural barriers in the mid 1950s to the ’80s, the Highwaymen made a living by selling their idyllic Florida landscapes door-to-door and from the trunks of cars along A1A. A staple at roadside motels, gas stations, and diners, the plein air scenes depicted by the Highwaymen offer a glimpse of Florida’s lost natural landscape, before development transformed Florida’s east coast, and are acclaimed as indigenous Florida art and widely collected.
Second-generation Highwaymen artist, A.J. Brown, has donated the painting Poinciana Curve to be offered as a chance drawing prize to benefit the Martin County Special Needs Training programs. Valued at $3,000, museumgoers can purchase raffle tickets for $25 per/five for $100.
The Lighthouse ArtCenter will be giving South Florida collectors a chance to bring home one of these original works at a special two-day exhibition. R.A. McLendon, the oldest surviving artist of the group, will be at the exhibit, along with Issac Knight, Jimmy Stovall, and a number of second-generation Highwaymen artists, giving collectors the rare opportunity to meet with some of the legendary artists that helped shape our local art scene.
- On April 1, an exhibition reception will run from 5:30-8:30 p.m., with an Artists Panel Discussion scheduled for 6:30 p.m. A second Artists Discussion Panel will be schedule for 3:30 p.m. on April 2. Admission costs $25 ($20 for members). Proceeds from the exhibit will benefit the Martin County Special Needs Training Program, which raises funds and recruits volunteers to help supplement the efforts of the Martin County School District to expand educational and training opportunities for special needs students.
- For more information, call 561-746-3101, or visit lighthousearts.org.