Fort Lauderdale History Museum to Celebrate Outsider Art & The Legends of the Florida Highwaymen During Black History Month Series

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

The incredible story of the Florida Highwaymen is explored in the 2008 PBS documentary by Father and Son Production Team, John and Jack Hambrick.

The Highwaymen were 26 African American artists who against all odds thrived in jim crow era Florida to create one of the most inspiring and unorthodox art movements.

These prolific highway artists produced an estimated 100,000 works and sold their painted scenes at times with "the oil still wet out of their car trunks," driving Florida’s roads looking for buyers.

Today their paintings hang in the White House and in the Florida Governor’s Mansion. In 2004 all Florida Highwaymen Artists (including the one female) were inducted in Florida’s Hall of Fame, the state’s highest cultural honor.

The Florida Highwaymen is a cultural subject the Fort Lauderdale History Museum deems important, so much so it has dedicated the kick off of its Black History Month Exhibit to the subject of the Highwayman via special visual arts exhibits, lectures, and student workshops.

On February 8, at 6pm, the public is invited to visit the museum for an opening reception. Author and Historian of "Outsider Art," Gary Monroe will share stories about the Highwaymen and share some vintage works with the attended that night. The event is free and open to the public.

Kelvin Hair, the Second Generation Highwaymen Artist, will display his work and meet and greet the public. "We are on a mission to identify the next wave of inventive painters that can capture the spirit of this legacy," said Hair.

Governor Scott recognized Kelvin Hair in 2012 as a featured pioneer Artist from the State of Florida.

“The Highwaymen paintings represent the postwar ideal of Florida better than alligators and oranges, said Historian Gary Monroe. They challenge our notions of race relations during the time that these artists prevailed, before the Civil Rights Movement and when Jim Crow laws were still in force. These dreamy images stimulate a viewer to a transcendent sense of self, relative to our wondrous land where fact and fiction can blur to suit one's imagination,” Monroe added.

Who: Artist Kelvin Hair and Historian/Author Gary Monroe
What: Searching for The Florida Highwaymen Painters: Opening Reception, Exhibit and Lecture 
When: February 8th -6pm
Where: Fort Lauderdale History Museum
Details: The event is free and open to the public

For more information or to schedule an interview with the Artist Kelvin Hair and/or Art Historian Gary Monroe contact Clare Vickery @ 954.816.3324, Director Grace Arts Fl, Cultural Marketplace collaborative of Retail Gallery and charitable arts programming.