South Florida State College Museum of Art and Culture

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The Highwaymen – Revisiting Our Roots

October 21 – February 5, 2021

The Highwaymen are a group of artists, all of African-American descent and living in the Indian River area of Florida. Most are still living, some are still painting. Their artwork is recognized as the beginning of Florida’s contemporary art tradition.

The Highwaymen are unique in all of art history because:

  • a single artist and one community can be identified as being responsible for their beginning and growth, and
  • all the participants have been identified and most are still painting.

The person who must receive credit for mentoring the group of young black men (one woman) now known as the Highwaymen is A.E.“Bean” Backus, now deceased, of Fort Pierce. Known as the “Dean of Florida landscape painters” Bean’s character was perfectly suited to encouraging these teenage youths in the segregated south of the 1960s.


South Florida State College Museum of Florida Art & Culture
600 West College Drive
Avon Park, FL 33825
Phone: (863) 784-7240 or (863) 453-6661
E-mail: stepem@southflorida.edu

Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday:
12:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Admission is free

MOFAC is also open one hour before each Artist, Trending Now, and Matinee Series performances and by appointment for group or school tours. Call for additional information.






Our lower lobby currently features the sublime etchings of Tampa artist, John Costin. These hand colored etchings depict various life-size birds native to the state of Florida.









 Every great work of art has two faces, one toward its own time and one toward the future, toward eternity. 

- Daniel Barenboim