Florida Highwaymen exhibit opens at MOAS
By Rick de Yampert
The exhibit “Highwaymen: African-American Folk Artists of Florida” opened this week at the Museum of Arts & Sciences in Daytona Beach, and will be on display through late fall.
Today the works of these 26 artists — dubbed the Florida Highwaymen — are featured in museums, while enthusiastic art collectors have paid $5,000 and more for individual paintings.
From the early 1950s through the 1980s, a number of African-American artists would paint Florida landscapes on cheap Upson board, then on weekends they would travel up and down Interstate 95 and State Road A1A to sell their works.
Those artists would sell their Edenic scenes of wave-swept beaches, wind-swept palms beneath dramatic cloudscapes, serene sunsets and moonlit marshes to hotels, offices, businesses and individuals for around $25 a piece.
The artists didn't gain much acclaim until the early 1990s, when the established art world seemed to suddenly discover “outsider art” — art created outside of mainstream circles.
The MOAS exhibit includes works by S.M. Wells, Charles Walker and brothers Harold and Sam Newton.
Museum of Arts & Sciences in Daytona Beach website found here