The Florida Highwaymen visited the Sample-McDougald House and offered a presentation of their paintings. The group included around ten men who have spent many years painting and traveling the road of Florida to sell their paintings.
They are older African American men and many have memories of struggle during time when segregation was the law and they had difficulty selling their work in galleries and mainstream art events. They would travel around the state and sell their paintings to offices, motels and other businesses. Many were based out of Fort Pierce. And while they struggled as younger men, now they are able to sell their paintings for more money.
Al Black was one of the original Highwaymen. He remembers selling his paintings in the 1950s and 1960s from his car. His paintings show trees, swamp and beaches. “I go to the actual scenes and base my paintings on what I see,” said Black.
Willlie Reagan is another original Highwayman. He creates paintings based on what he sees in nature and around Florida. Many of his paintings are centered at Wekiwa Springs State Park. Also, many of his paintings focus on other nature scenes in northern Florida. Reagan also worked as a high school art teacher for many years.
“I love painting and I started in 1966. I do mostly Florida scenes,” said Reagan. “I remember traveling all over Florida and Georgia selling paintings.”
James Gibson is an original Florida Highwayman. He has been a painter for more than 55 years and sold many paintings over the years. “I paint Florida landscapes. I remember when I could not make as much money selling my paintings. But now I am making more money for my paintings. I love to paint,” he said.
Curtiss Arnett is an original Highwayman. “I have painted mostly inland seas. I paint scenes from Florida,” he said.
The two day Florida Highwaymen Exhibit included a Friday night auction and dinner and an exhibit and painting sale on Saturday. The event was hosted by the Pompano Beach Historical Society and the Sample McDougald House.
“This was a nice event for Sample McDougald House,” said Lee Waldo, Museum manager for the House.