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Florida Highwaymen

Hi friends, today we are headed next door to the Tampa Museum of Art because they have an exhibition featuring the Florida Highwaymen. 

Since we’re headed to an art museum we should talk about what that means! There are all kinds of different museums. Our museum, the Glazer Children’s Museum is one type. As a children’s museum, what can you do here? You can play, interact, and use your imagination! Another type of museum is an art museum. What do you think an art museum might have inside? Art! Such as paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs, and installations.

The Florida Highwaymen are a group of twenty-six African American artists, including one woman, who create paintings of Florida landscapes. Have you heard of landscape art before? Landscape art is an art that shows natural scenery such as trees, oceans, and mountains. 

What do you see when you look at this work of art by Roy McLendon? What do you think it’s about? What do you see that makes you say that? 

Roy McLendon, Untitled (Backcountry pond at sunset), date unknown


The Florida Highwaymen are self-taught artists who were incredibly resourceful meaning they were clever in dealing with problems. Facing limitations because of racial prejudice at the time, the Highwaymen couldn’t sell their paintings at traditional art markets and galleries, so they got creative and created hundreds of paintings very quickly, so they could sell them to lots of different people for about $25 each. They would sell their paintings door to door, to hotels, and even from the trunks of their cars!

Let’s create our own landscape painting! 


  • Recycled canvas (this can be scratch paper, cardboard, a paper bag, or something else!)
  • Paint, markers, or crayons


  1. Gather your materials! Remember how I said the Florida Highwaymen were resourceful? Well, to save money they created their works of art on Upson board, an affordable construction material. I want you to be resourceful too and paint, draw, or color on any type of paper or cardboard you have. 
  2. Now close your eyes and imagine what you see outside. Are there trees? Grass? A beach? What will you be painting or drawing today?
  3. The Florida Highwaymen would paint very fast in order to sell more works of art, so I challenge you to create your work of art faster than you normally paint, draw, or color! 
  4. How did your work of art come out? Be sure to share with us using #gcmathome

Team GCM Creator: Ashley