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Florida Highwaymen

We Dream A World: African American Landscape Painters of Mid-Century Florida, The Highwaymen

July to September 2021

Dubbed “Florida Highwaymen,” these African American artists were entrepreneurial landscape artists in segregated Florida beginning in the 1950s. Mostly self-taught, this small collective of artists was shut out of museums and art galleries. Instead of settling for traditional labor jobs in the citrus industry, however, they forged ahead and found success selling their works to consumers along Florida’s Atlantic coast. This exhibition will be presented in collaboration with the Sarasota African American Cultural Coalition.

Harold Newton painting

Harold  Newton, 22 x 28 in., painted on canvas board. Courtesy of The Lightle Collection.

Curated by Radiah Harper, the Florida Highwaymen exhibit will explore the artists’ use of native botanical imagery to achieve economic success within the confines of a still segregated Florida. Harper is a museum professional with more than 30 years of experience. Prior to launching her Arts and Museum Management consulting fi rm, Harper served in leadership roles at several organizations such as Vice Director of Education and Program Development at the Brooklyn Museum, NY and as Assistant Professor at the Teachers College of Columbia University. Committed to racial equity and justice, Harper supports dialogue and collaboration to promote action for becoming truly inclusive and accessible.

Mary Ann Carroll Painting

Mary Ann Carroll, courtesy of Asselstine Collection

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