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For Immediate Release
Media Contacts:
Sherry Meadows Lewis / (407) 836-8595 / Sherry.Lewis@ocfl.net
Jen Cipolla / (407) 836-8596 / Jennifer.Cipolla@ocfl.net


Museum brings back one of its most successful exhibits to launch its 10th Anniversary celebration

September 25, 2010-January 2, 2011

ORLANDO, Fla. (August 26, 2010) - The Orange County Regional History Center in Orlando, Fla., is bringing back one of the most successful exhibits created by the museum on Florida's Highwaymen artists to launch the yearlong celebration of its 10th anniversary in the restored historic courthouse downtown. Against All Odds: The Art of the Highwaymen will be on display at the History Center from September 25, 2010, through January 2, 2011. The exhibit has been newly curated to include paintings by all 26 Highwaymen, together in one exhibit for the first time at the History Center, including two artists not previously shown at the museum. The exhibit also marks the first showing at the History Center of a painting by A.E. "Bean" Backus, an accomplished white Florida landscape artist who encouraged and inspired the artists.

The Highwaymen began as a group of African American artists who, against all odds, managed to prosper selling their paintings in the segregated South of the 1950s and '60s. They perfected techniques to rapidly produce their paintings with common motifs like the flaming red Poinciana tree, sunrise over a placid lagoon, and the pine-treed savanna populated only by a wading bird or two, and then each artist incorporated stylistic idiosyncrasies to define his or her work. They also developed unique strategies to sell and market their artwork outside of the formal world of art galleries and exhibitions. Their story is about much more than art: It's about thriving as artists not as laborers - their expected social role at the time - through sheer determination selling their art door-to-door despite social conditions of the Jim Crow south.

One charismatic artist, Alfred Hair, dreamed big and developed a fast method of painting that he generously shared with 25 others, and they collectively produced more than 200,000 paintings over a 30-year period. Learn their fascinating story and see a Backus painting and paintings by 26 Highwaymen: Curtis Arnett, Hezekiah Baker, Al Black, Ellis Buckner, George Buckner, Robert Butler, Mary Ann Carroll, Johnny Daniels, Willie Daniels, Rodney Demps, James Gibson, Alfred Hair, Issac Knight, Robert Lewis, John Maynor, Roy McClendon, Alphonso Moran, Sam Newton, Harold Newton, Lem Newton, Willie Reagan, Livingston Roberts, Carnell Smith, Charles Walker, Sylvester Wells, and Charles Wheeler.

Highwaymen Weekend
The History Center will welcome Highwaymen artists during a first-ever Highwaymen Weekend, Saturday, November 20, and Sunday, November 21, 2010. Visitors can meet some of the original Florida Highwaymen artists, purchase their uniquely Florida paintings, and visit the Against All Odds: The Art of the Highwaymen exhibit. Artists will be on hand each day to display their work and talk about their experiences over the years. On Saturday, November 20, meet Mary Ann Carroll, James Gibson, Issac Knight, and on Sunday, November 21, meet Al Black, Robert Lewis Jr., and Roy McLendon. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. each day. Regular museum admission applies, but two-day Highwayman Weekend admission tickets are available: $15 for adults; $12 for seniors and students and military with I.D.

Call (407) 836-8500 for information or check website http://www.thehistorycenter.org/highwaymen.

The Orange County Regional History Center, housed in a restored historic five-story 1927 courthouse in downtown Orlando, showcases the vast collections of the Historical Society of Central Florida, Inc. The museum features three floors of permanent exhibitions and also presents nationally important limited-run exhibitions. The museum, a Smithsonian Institution affiliate, is accredited by the American Association of Museums.

The History Center is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. General admission is $9, seniors (60+), students and military with I.D. $7, and children ages 5-12 $6. Historical Society Members and children ages 4 and under are free. Parking is available at the adjacent Orlando Public Library garage on Central Blvd. A self-guided Audio Tour of the museum's permanent exhibits is available free of charge with admission into the museum. For general information, call (407) 836-8500 or visit www.thehistorycenter.org.
High Res images available.

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The Orange County Regional History Center is financed in part by Orange County Government through the Department of Health & Family Services under Orange County Mayor Richard T. Crotty and the Board of County Commissioners, The Historical Society of Central Florida, Inc., United Arts of Central Florida with funds from the United Arts Campaign and by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Arts Council, as well as the National Endowment for the Arts: Division of Historic Resources and B