We are very proud to announce our hosting a very special event TONIGHT on behalf of the Better Boys Foundation!
The Better Boys Foundation serves boys and girls ranging in age from five to eighteen through innovative out-of-school time programming, as well as addresses the needs of young adults through scholarships for post-secondary study.
During a six-week course this spring students at the Better Boys Foundation participated in an ArtLAB Workshop in which they explored the history and art of the Highwaymen, as well as their place in the larger narrative of landscape painting. They created paintings based on, and inspired by, the Highwaymen’s style and subject matter, and then applied their learning to the urban landscape of Chicago. The communal aspect of the Highwaymen’s practice was artistically and commercially integral to their success, and likewise, during the course of the workshop the classroom setting lent itself to an environment of communal learning and critiquing.
Students who participated in the workshop include
Tearra Armstrong, Makiya Baskerville, Charlene Doss, Cumiyan Forte, Tyshawn Johnson, Jaleicia Staples, Tekenya Tucker, and Samaje Wren.
The group of artists known as The Highwaymen were a community of some 26 black artists working out of Ft. Pierce, Florida from the late 1950s through the 1980s. Mostly self-taught artists, they created idealistic, vibrant landscapes of the Florida they knew and sold them along the side of the road and door-to-door. Their paintings have long been recognized as a part of the Floridian culture, appearing in hotel rooms, offices and homes across the state. In the last twenty years there has been a growing recognition of the Highwaymen’s work as a cultural and artistic moment worth preserving.
At the time the Highwaymen group was forming, segregation and social inequality were still prevalent in Florida. The Highwaymen were unable to receive a formal art education and would not have been welcomed at art galleries. Despite these challenges they managed, as a community of artists, to create an alternative system in which they could thrive outside the traditional art market.
Please join us Tuesday, June 17th from 6-9PM for a reception at Adventureland Gallery, featuring original paintings by the Highwaymen alongside the paintings created by students during the workshop.
The show includes artwork by recognized members of the Highwaymen group including Willie Daniels, Rodney Demps, James Gibson, Isaac Knight, Robert L. Lewis, John Maynor, Roy McLendon, Harold Newton, and Charles Wheeler.
The Highwaymen ArtLAB Workshop and Urban Landscape were taught and organized by Stella Brown for the Better Boys Foundation. She is an artist and educator native to Chicago.