With a vision for connecting pieces of Florida’s past to the emerging future of Miami Gardens, City Manager Dr. Danny O. Crew sought out what could be considered some of Florida’s most historical and unique pieces of artwork to be included on the walls of the new LEED Platinum City Hall Complex – artwork created by a group of African-American artists known as The Highwaymen.
Colorful, fantastical and stunningly accurate portrayals of Florida Landscape make up the collection created by a host of self-taught artist. Many of these works went unnoticed, held by individual owners who did not recognize the collective value of the paintings.
According to photography professor Gary Monroe, who has documented the history of The Highwaymen, “…the majority of the Highwaymen came from a neighborhood called “Blacktown” in Ft. Pierce, Florida. They painted on inexpensive Upson boards, framed their paintings with crown molding and marketed them around Florida from the backs of their cars, generally before the oils had dried.” (The Highwaymen; Florida’s African-American Landscape Painters, University Press of Florida, 2001)
“When visitors walk through the new complex, not only will they see a state-ofthe art construction project, they will also enjoy eclectic artwork showcasing Florida history,” explains Dr. Crew. “I felt it was important to showcase work created from the heart by African-American artists and share the story of The Highwaymen via a rich history of Miami Gardens.”
The new City Hall Municipal Complex is slated for completion in the coming months.