Sunday, June 20, 2010

Summer summer summertime

For those of you who don't know, I am first and foremost a Florida guy. I was born there and lived there for the first 26 years of my life. I love the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Florida State Seminoles, which is kinda hard living so close to Tobacco Road and Carolina Panther fans. Regardless, I will always be a Florida boy at heart. I don't enjoy the cold, all though the occasional snowfall is nice to some extent.

I also enjoy Florida culture, and trying to share with others just how cool Florida really can be. And it has little to do with Disney or Universal Studios. No, Florida doesn't really have seasons (hot and then hotter don't count), there are no mountains or leaves changing, and the snow rarely falls all that far south of Jacksonville. In spite of that, there is a beauty of Florida that most people never see. If you have never taken a ride on an airboat, you've not experienced all that Florida has to offer. That's where Florida Highwaymen come in to shed some light.

During the 1950's, it was hard for self taught African-American artists to get art displayed in galleries, much less sold for a decent living wage. But one white artist went out of his way to help these painters. He was Albert Ernest Backus,or Bean as he was known in the Ft. Pierce community. It is estimated that he influenced hundreds of local painters, including the 26 African-American artist who came to be known as the Florida Highwaymen. This group of artist closely replicated his painting style of local landscapes, using whatever materials were cheaply available (upson board or masonite), and then sold the paintings out of their cars to the tourist flocking to Florida's beaches. During the 50's and 60's this group of artist sold tens of thousands of painting, usually for $20-25 each. These paintings today can now reach thousand dollars each at auction. For more info on these important Florida painters, check out their site here.

Meanwhile, there isn't much known about Bean. His work, while just as nice as the Highwaymen, is relatively obscure. But he changed so many lives by investing in others. It reminds me of what I read this week in I Corinthians 10:24: "Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others." I am constantly reminded that the greatest investment I can make is in other people. Barnabas is one of my favorite characters in the Bible. He stood up for Paul when no one else would, stood by John Mark when Paul wanted nothing to do with him, and was generally known as an encourager of others over himself. Who invested in you? Is investing in you? More importantly, who are you investing in?

No comments:

Post a Comment