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'The Art of the Highwaymen' exhibit at Polk Museum of Art celebrates brilliant Black Florida artists

Free exhibit runs until May 22
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Posted at 4:54 AM, Feb 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-22 07:34:26-05

LAKELAND, Fla. — "The Art of the Highwaymen" exhibit at Lakeland's Polk Museum of Art celebrates brilliant Black artists from the 1950s and 60s, who sold their lush landscape paintings to tourists motoring through Florida.

This art was often quickly made on the roadside, inexpensive vacation tchotchkes that one day, when these 26 "Highwaymen" were finally recognized as groundbreaking talents, would be worth thousands.

As a result, the Highwaymen have taken on mythic proportions.

Many people may have unknowingly sold their historic art at yard sales for next to nothing. Or it might be stashed away in dusty attics.

The free exhibit, from the Woodsby Family Collection, explores the artists' history of finding a voice in the Jim Crow-era South. It runs until May 22.

For more on "The Art of the Highwaymen," click here.