Sarasota, FL:

A capsule collection of Florida Highwaymen paintings will be showcased in the Cultural Heritage Exhibit in the City Hall atrium, 1565 First Street, beginning Monday, Jan. 8, 2024.
Known as Florida’s legendary Black landscape artists, the Florida Highwaymen emerged in the 1950s in the agricultural communities of Fort Pierce and Gifford, Florida. 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 during the post-World War II boom 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.
The 26 original Highwaymen were inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame in 2004.
“While their heyday was in the ‘60s and ‘70s, we really owe their discovery to a Florida art expert named Jim Fitch who began researching regional artwork in the mid-1990s,” said Mary Davis Wallace, Public Art Manager. “He gave The Highwaymen their moniker and through his writing introduced the world to their unique style of Florida landscape painting. These works captured idyllic, romantic landscapes of old Florida.”
The exhibit is on loan from Roger Lightle, a Highwaymen art collector and owner of the Highwaymen Art Specialists, Inc. in Vero Beach, Florida. Since the late 1990s, Lightle has collected approximately 700 Highwaymen paintings, amassing one of the most relevant collections of the genre.
The Cultural Heritage Exhibit is free and open to the public during City Hall hours, Monday–Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Lectures and tours of the Florida Highwaymen exhibit will be offered twice Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2024: 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Each session will be approximately 60 minutes with Roger Lightle leading the lectures.
“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,” said Wallace.
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 6-month rotation. Previous exhibitors include the Arts Advocates, Circus Arts Conservatory, The Sarasota Architecture Center and the Sarasota County History Center archive.
About the exhibitor: Roger Lightle is a Highwaymen art collector, historian, lecturer, and an authority on the Highwaymen artist’s story and their artwork. Mr. Lightle is the owner of the Highwaymen Art Specialists, Inc., which is a gallery and educational center offering a range of services from hosting specialty events to curating Highwaymen museum exhibitions. Lightle has accomplished much outreach, education surrounding the Highwaymen painters, including curating over a decade of local and regional exhibits. Lightle was instrumental in garnering acceptance of the Highwaymen into the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. Most recently, Lightle participated in the installation of three large-scale Highwaymen display panels in the $2.9 billion Concourse Terminal C at the Orlando International Airport now on display.
About the Curator: Chris Cinelli has been in the art and framing industry for over two decades. He moved his family to Sarasota in 2004 where he operated an art gallery on St. Armands Circle. By 2010, he opened and continues to operate his printing, framing, and shipping business where his focus is producing reproductions for local artists, photographers and other businesses in the art industry.
About the City of Sarasota: Distinguished by U.S. News and World Report as the No. 5 Best Place to Live in the U.S. and the top place in Florida, the City of Sarasota is a diverse and inclusive community located on Florida’s Suncoast with 55,000 year-round residents, several internationally recognized cultural arts venues, stunning sunsets along Lido Beach, newly restored Donald Ross-designed municipal golf course, and Major League spring training baseball with the Baltimore Orioles. Learn more about us at www.SarasotaFL.Gov