The City of Fort Pierce’s annual tribute to the Florida Highwaymen artists and their contribution to the rich cultural history of Fort Pierce will be held Saturday, February 17 from 10am-4pm at Moore’s Creek Linear Park, at the corner of Avenue D and 8th Street.
The event will feature many of the ‘Original’ and 2nd Generation Highwaymen artists who will be on hand displaying and selling their art, as well as tribute booths for several of the deceased artists, live jazz music, food and novelty vendors and a Kid’s Zone.
Free guided Highwaymen Heritage Trial tours will be available during the event, by reservation only, by calling 772-467-3183. The award-winning Trail’s colorful markers, magnificent public art and informative website help convey the plight, fortitude, entrepreneurial spirit and accomplishments of these African Americans during the Jim Crow-era who were inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame in 2004. The Highwaymen art movement began in Lincoln Park, the iconic Fort Pierce minority neighborhood where the festival is held the third Saturday of every February.
The event will include an exhibit of Highwaymen Art Contest entries submitted by area 5th Grade students who participate in the event’s educational component. A special tribute to Zanobia Jefferson, the Lincoln Park Academy art teacher who introduced her future Highwaymen students to A.E. ‘Bean’ Backus in the 1950’s, will also be on display at this year’s festival.
The City of Fort Pierce is happy to be collaborating with the A.E. Backus Museum and Gallery this year. The Museum will host a Highwaymen Open House Weekend February 16, 17 and 18. The weekend kicks off Friday evening from 6-8pm with a talk and reminiscence by Doretha Hair Truesdell, widow of Original Highwaymen artist Alfred Hair entitled ‘The Early Days’ (free for Museum members; $20 for nonmembers). A special weekend sale of stellar vintage Highwaymen paintings by Florida’s most reputable Highwaymen dealers will take place on Saturday from 10am-4pm and Sunday from 12-4pm. The City of Fort Pierce will provide a free shuttle on Saturday for visitors to travel between the Festival and the Backus Museum.
The Trail and accompanying website -TheHighwaymenTrail.com – are part of a multi-year project underwritten by two grants from the Florida Humanities Council (FHC) and the City of Fort Pierce’s contribution of matching funds plus hundreds of staff hours. More information on the Highwaymen and their contribution to Fort Pierce’s history in the arts is available on the website https://thehighwaymentrail.com.