Highwaymen Heritage Trail Festival
th Annual Highwaymen Heritage Trail Art Show and Festival on February 18, 2023
The Highwaymen Festival is scheduled for February 18, 2023. Please join the community in celebrating the City of Fort Pierce's historic arts culture.
If you are interested in becoming a food or art vendor, please see the applications below.
The success of this event depends on community members volunteering. If you would like to be a part of this event, please complete the volunteer application below.
If you are interested in a tour of the Highwaymen Heritage Trail, please register here: HIghwaymen Heritage Trail Tour 2023
About the Highwaymen
If you traveled Florida Route 1 in the 1960s, you may have encountered young African American artists selling beautifully painted Florida landscapes from the trunks of their cars along the side of the road. Jim Crowe segregation prevented the painters from entering galleries – so they sold their works at motels, businesses and to tourists – for $15-$25 apiece. It is estimated that they created and sold more than 200,000 paintings by the end of the 20th century.
Many of the young painters were inspired and mentored by Fort Pierce’s world-renown landscape artist Albert Earnest “Bean” Backus, creator of richly detailed depictions of “Old Florida” scenery. Encouragement from Backus, Lincoln Park Academy art teacher Zanobia Jefferson and each other helped propel the young entrepreneurs to paint their way out of picking citrus and tomatoes, using wallboard as their canvas and crown molding for frames.
The loosely associated group of twenty-five men and one woman came to be known as The Highwaymen. Mostly from Fort Pierce, the artists were inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame in 2004.
We hope you will join us for our next Highwaymen Heritage Trail Art Show/Sale and Festival to celebrate the world-renown Highwaymen artists and enjoy the rich cultural history of Fort Pierce, one of the oldest cities on Florida’s east coast. Visit About the Highwaymen Heritage Trail for information on the award-winning Highwaymen Heritage Trail.