FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
RIVIERA BEACH, FLORIDA – The Riviera Beach CRA, City of Riviera Beach, and Artist Showcase partnered to create an art exhibit to showcase landscape pieces at the Riviera Beach Marina Village Event Center. We got to hear from the son of R.L. Lewis, who is one of the quietly creative and versatile figures of Florida landscape artist tradition that has become known as the Highwaymen, on Tuesday, June 1, 2021 at 5pm.
During the discussion, we learned about the history of the Highwaymen and how they influenced art culture in a whole new way. Depending on how long you have lived in Florida, you may or may not have heard of the Highwaymen. They are better known today, but not very long ago they were an anonymous group of Florida artists selling original paintings of Florida landscapes from the trunks of their cars.
The artists featured paintings of familiar Florida scenes – crashing waves on windswept beaches, palm trees bent by the wind, majestic Royal Poinciana trees, moss-draped oak trees, red-orange sunsets, billowing clouds, and moonlit rivers. Their palette include vibrant colors of verdant greens, sunset oranges – and blues and grays that often featured the sun or moon backlighting the scene. The Highwaymen often painted from memory as they captured scenes of natural Florida they had grown up with, one that was yielding to the development brought on by the state’s mid-Twentieth Century growth.
They used oil-based paints and painted on Upson board (a roof sheeting product) then framed the artwork with crown molding. The artists often painted together, but they didn’t sit in front of the landscapes and paint leisurely while admiring the natural beauty around them. Rather, these artists approached their work in a different way, painting in a shaded backyard or a carport or shed, imagining the scenes from imprinted images of their surroundings. Some would work on several paintings at once having affixed the boards to a wall and then stroking in several similar scenes. They worked quickly sometimes using palette knives to cut in highlights. By using construction materials, they cut costs; by working quickly they had more to sell. Then by selling directly they were able to deliver original art at a reasonable cost. They sold the artwork door to door, or out of their car trunks, mostly along A1A and U.S. 1 on Florida’s east coast from Daytona Beach to Miami. Later, some of the artists would travel inland to the growing interior communities.
Come out to see the new exhibit that will be held through the end of June at the Riviera Beach Marina Village Event Center. It is open to the public by appointment only for all viewings of the exhibit. Please call 561-881-7439 to schedule your appointment.
The Riviera Beach Community Redevelopment Agency
The Riviera Beach Community Redevelopment Agency is at the heart of dramatic transformations underway within the district. Formed in 1984 by the Riviera Beach City Council, the Riviera Beach CRA provides funding for a wide scope of projects that incentivize economic growth through business attraction and retention; finances and new and improved infrastructure for real estate projects; and generally works to expand the tax base by creating a welcoming environment that eliminates blight and improves the perception of safety in the area.
The Agency’s main mission is to guide the city’s redevelopment efforts. This includes making investments of public funds in key infrastructure improvement projects that have the capacity to act as a catalyst for additional private funding and development, create jobs and help to improve the quality of life for city residents. For more information about the Riviera Beach Community Redevelopment Agency, follow the official Facebook, Instagram @RBCRA and Twitter @RivieraBeachCRA pages or visit www.rbcra.com.