Florida Highwaymen Exhibit at Selby Gardens
Palm on the River, Harold Newton
We Dream a World: African American Landscape Painters of Mid-Century Florida, The Highwaymen
We Dream A World, African American Landscape Painters of Mid-Century Florida, The Highwaymen, will be on view at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens’ (Selby Gardens) Downtown Sarasota campus through September 26, 2021.
We Dream a World explores the depth of art and business enterprise created by a unique set of landscape artists. Guest Curator Radiah Harper will take visitors through the experience of African Americans who, living in a hostile climate of racial injustice, were able to both learn their artistic craft through formal and informal education, and successfully break away from traditional field labor jobs to monetize their work. Visitors will also discover the little-known account of Lincoln Park Academy’s art teacher, Ms. Zanobia Jefferson, and how she recognized and nurtured the natural talent of young African American students.
In all, more than two dozen African American artists embraced a style of bright bold colors focused on natural landscapes, preserving images of old Florida for future generations. Their painting technique is distinct and while shunned from the traditional mainstream art market due to the practice of segregation, the artists’ ingenuity to sell directly to customers quickly resulted in a proliferation of their art in waiting rooms, lobbies, and homes throughout the east coast of Florida.
The exhibition will feature a selection of paintings from a variety of lenders, including The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, The Asselstine Collection, Roger Lightle and Doretha Hair Truesdell, in Selby Gardens’ Museum of Botany & the Arts. We Dream A World, African American Landscape Painters of Mid-Century Florida, The Highwaymen is presented in collaboration with the Sarasota African American Cultural Coalition.
The exhibition is included with regular admission to Selby Gardens’ Downtown Sarasota campus and is free to members of Selby Gardens and the Sarasota African American Cultural Coalition.