A number of events honoring the Florida Highwaymen will take place in January and February in Fort Pierce,
where many of the Highwaymen got their start and where many still live.
DRIVING FORCE: ALFRED HAIR
AND THE FLORIDA HIGHWAYMEN
“Driving Force: Alfred Hair and the Florida Highwaymen”
opens at the Backus Museum and Gallery, 500 N. Indian
River Drive on Jan. 8 and runs through Feb. 16. Curated by
Roger Lightle, the paintings will focus on the art of Alfred
Hair, but will include paintings by other Highwaymen, along
with A.E. (Bean) Backus.
On Friday, Feb. 14, at 6 p.m., Doretha Hair Truesdell,
Alfred Hair’s widow, will speak in the museum, the inaugural
event of the Highwaymen weekend.
On Saturday, Feb. 15, and Sunday, Feb. 16, a number of art
dealers of Highwaymen works will have vintage paintings for
sale on the museum grounds.
Throughout each day, executive director Marshall Adams
and Lightle will be giving gallery talks.
Former director Kathleen Fredrick will also be available for
appraisals on Saturday and Sunday.
HIGHWAYMAN HERITAGE TRAIL
ART SHOW AND FESTIVAL
That same weekend, on Feb. 15, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.,
Moore’s Creek Linear Park at the corner of Eighth Street and
Avenue D will host Highwaymen who will be selling their
own paintings as part of the annual City of Fort Pierce Highwaymen
Heritage Trail Art Show and Festival.
It will feature many of the original Highwaymen along with
the second generation of artists, free guided Highwaymen
Trail tours, local cuisine and kids activities. The event is free,
but guided tour seating is limited. Call 772.467.3169.
A free trolley will be available for visitors to go between
the Heritage show and the Backus Museum.
HIGHWAYMEN ART SHOW
Jetson TV and Appliances will host its popular annual
Highwaymen Art Show at its flagship store, 414 S. U.S. 1
in Fort Pierce on Saturday, Jan. 25, from 11 a.m. to
Owner John Jetson has had a long affiliation with
many of the artists and has a large collection of Highwaymen
paintings, which will be on display. Although
the number of living original Highwaymen inducted into
the Florida Artists Hall of Fame has dwindled — most
recently with the death of the lone woman in the group,
Mary Ann Carroll, in December — many of the remaining
Highwaymen, as well as their relatives who have
taken on their mantle, will be there selling paintings.
Three Highwaymen paintings, including original oils,
will be raffled off.
Susan Harris, who works for Jetson in client relations,
was an early admirer of the painters, before they were
nicknamed the Highwaymen. When she moved to Vero
Beach in the 1990s, she fell in love with the dreamy
tropical landscapes she saw in many of the local offices
and began looking for the paintings and the artists,
befriending all of them.
Calling them all a “treasure,” she says the annual
festival is one way she can make good on a promise
to Highwaymen Hezekiah Baker and George Buckner
before they died.
“They asked me to never let people forget the Highwaymen.”
Harris says that the festival continues to grow in interest
and — judging by the number of free hotdogs that are
given away — is attended by thousands.
ROGER LIGHTLE COLLECTION
Hair chose to paint mostly on Upson board, a building material that was cheap and easy to find. It became the trademark media of the early Highwaymen,
along with frames that were fashioned from molding. (Oil on Upson board.)