says. “You don’t know what to expect. You never know what’s
new or when there is something new around the corner.”
This season the Highwaymen display, which opened Oct.
21 and will run until Feb. 24, will be in the downstairs art
gallery. The Florida Highwaymen were a renowned group
of African American artists from the Treasure Coast who
painted colorful, subtropical Florida landscapes during the
1950s through the 1980s. They sold their art door-to-door and
out of their cars along Florida’s highways.
“They are the ultimate American success story,” says Linda
Geary, curator of the Elliott Museum. “They overcame racial
segregation. At that time if they wanted a job, it was as a farm
laborer. There weren’t other opportunities. This was an opportunity
for them to support their families in a way that wasn’t
so physically straining and they could be their own person.”
Plein art painting will be offered during the exhibit where
artists will get a chance to learn all about the techniques and
the paints that the Highwaymen used. As an added feature,
Roy McLendon, the last surviving Highwaymen, and his son
are scheduled to give painting demonstrations. An art sale
of original Highwaymen paintings will also be held at the
museum on Dec. 3 and 4.
“If you want a Highwaymen for your Christmas present,
this is the time,” Geary points out.
Another upcoming exhibit, The Notorious Ashley Gang, will
explain how the legendary outlaw John Ashley and his cohorts
impacted the area and inspired lawmakers to support Martin
County’s effort to break away from Palm Beach County.
“Gov. Hardee was a banker and a lawyer who ran under
the banner of law and order,” explains Steve Carr, a lecturer
for the exhibit. “When
he took over as governor
in 1921, he ordered
Sheriff Baker to clean
up Palm Beach County.
“Although the governor
in changing Florida’s
Gov. Martin, who was
elected in 1924, was
rewarded with the new
county’s name. Despite
the independence of
policing its own territory,
continued for another
Carr says the presentation
will tell a human
interest story of the
criminal enterprise that
and its impact on the
local economy; law enforcement’s role during Prohibition;
bank and train robberies; and a murder of a prominent Seminole
The interactive exhibit recreates vignettes of a working
moonshine still, a hideout shack and the teller windows at
the Bank of Stuart that the Ashley Gang robbed. Rare personal
artifacts that belonged to John Ashley including his glass
eye and clothes are a part of the museum’s collection. >>
The Elliott Museum, located on South Hutchinson Island, has been a cultural hub on the Treasure Coast for 60 years.
ELLIOTT MUSEUM COLLECTION
Harmon Elliott founded the Elliott Museum,
which opened in 1961, to honor his
father, Sterling, and his many inventions.