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Selby Gardens Exhibition Explores Paintings and Lives of Florida Highwaymen

Courtesy of Roger Lightle
Photo Courtesy of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
"Palm on the River" by Florida Highwaymen artist Harold Newton (Oil on Upson board)

The Florida Highwaymen are a group of mid-century African American artists who produced prolific paintings of Florida’s iconic landscapes. Operating in the Jim Crow South, they were shut out of traditional galleries, but earned successful livings selling their work to businesses in towns and cities along the A1A highway on Florida’s east coast. Today their works are highly sought after by collectors around the world. An exhibition now at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota explores their artwork as well as their lives and challenges living in the segregated South. The exhibition is titled, “We Dream A World: African American Landscape Painters of Mid-Century Florida, The Highwaymen,” and runs through Sept. 26. We’ll take a closer look with the curator of the exhibit, museum professional, educator, author and artist Radiah Lovette Harper.

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