A capsule collection of Florida Highwaymen paintings is being showcased in the Cultural Heritage Exhibit in the Sarasota City Hall atrium, 1565 First St.

Known as Florida’s legendary Black landscape artists, the Florida Highwaymen emerged in the 1950s in the City of Fort Pierce and Gifford area. The group of young painters, which grew to include 25 men and one woman, became known as The Highwaymen. They were prolific painters who sold their artwork from the trunks of their cars after World War II because they were unable to exhibit through traditional means due to racial barriers. While making ends meet, they also made a significant contribution to the genre of Florida landscape painting. “These works captured idyllic, romantic landscapes of old Florida,” said Mary Davis Wallace, Sarasota Public Art Manager.

The 26 original Highwaymen were inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame in 2004.

The exhibit is on loan from Roger Lightle, a Highwaymen art collector and owner of the Highwaymen Art Specialists in Vero Beach. Since the late 1990s, Lightle has collected about 700 Highwaymen paintings and amassed one of the most relevant collections of the genre.

Wallace said, “We are honored to partner with Mr. Lightle to advance the narrative of the Highwaymen, host their work in historic City Hall and to provide access to the public free of charge.”

The Cultural Heritage Exhibit is open to the public during City Hall hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, on weekdays. The City Hall Cultural Heritage Exhibit launched in November 2022 to beautify the City Hall lobby while sharing Sarasota and Florida’s rich history in arts and culture. Pieces are on a six-month rotation.