It’s Art About Florida-The Highwaymen…

So, who are The Highwaymen???

It’s a quite interesting story…AND…a great piece of Florida history. The Highwaymen are a group of landscape artists that broke through the traditional world of art, and the racial and cultural barriers of the time. This talented bunch consisted of 26 African American artists from the Fort Pierce area that started an art movement, which today is considered quite unique.

They were self-taught…they mentored each other. It was the 1950’s in the South and this group of young artists were starting their careers with…let’s just say, a lot of challenges facing them and that’s the remarkable part of this story. They rose above these obstacles by adopting enterprising ways to succeed in the business of being artists.

So, here’s the story…AND…the history. The Highwaymen loved to paint the natural landscapes that all Floridians and visitors to our state find so beautiful. Trying to find a gallery interested in artwork by unknowns with no formal training was impossible, and do not forget the unsettled racial times of the late 50’s in the South. These extraordinary artists painted on construction materials like inexpensive Upson board or masonite framed with crown molding. They packed their cars with their passion and headed down the highway selling out the trunks of their cars to businesses and individuals throughout the State of Florida. Today, their works of art are sought after by many…AND…our Nation’s Capitol has on ongoing exhibit of vintage paintings at Florida House–which serves as a goodwill embassy for Floridians.

I had the pleasure of meeting one of the original Highwaymen, Mr. James Gibson, who is pictured here displaying one of his trademark pieces. This is the 13th year that the Safety Harbor Museum has showcased The Highwaymen but, this was my first time getting to see the artwork upclose. Had I taken the time to check out what my village has to offer, it wouldn’t have been my first viewing of this show.

Hint to the readers of this posts…take a walk around and discover all your village has to offer…support it…preserve it.

I would like to thank Mr. James Gibson for sharing his story…his history. Being a successful artist, James has not forgotten his community. He shares his time and talent with several charities, which range from youth programs to Alzheimers community care. Please check out his website for info, and check out the long list of accolades bestowed upon him.

James Gibson

I know…I know…I know…I went way past the word count that I usually use as my guideline. Just once!!!!

This is Safety Harbor, FL and this is my village…


Artists Tested and Harbor Approved…

As the sun colors flowers, so does art color life.
-John Lubbock

I would like to welcome to the village…”Tree”… pictured here with the artists, Gus and Lina Ocamposilva. Their sculpture won the honors of launching the new public art program called “Showcase Safety Harbor” created by the City of Safety Harbor and the Safety Harbor Public Art Committee–which is, to feature outdoor works of art for our enjoyment and the city’s committment to art and culture. This program launched a nation wide call to artists to submit a sculpture…AND…Gus and Lina were their first choice.

“Tree” is part of a series of sculptures the couple is working on to demonstrate why the elements of nature are so important to us all. “Trees gives us fresh air to breathe, and it’s important to take care of what takes care of us,” as Lina so eloquently put it.  “We are very proud of our contribution to the City of Safety Harbor.”

So…C’MON MAN!  Take a stroll by City Hall, and welcome “Tree” to its new home for the next year.

Thankyou, Gus and Lina for bringing artful color and beauty to our village and to our lives.

Please visit their website to see how these two integrate heart and soul into Sculptures bursting with creativity and connection.

This is Safety Harbor, FL and this is my village…


It’s all about using your “powerhouse” or core…that’s Pilates. It was developed by Joseph Pilates in the 1920’s, and today it is one of the most popular body conditioning methods out there. But…it is so much more…too much for me to explain, as I have deemed it NOT my job to explain, but to entice curious villagers out there to try something different.

That’s why Michele Berman, owner of Reach, can help out. She’s taught Pilates for 10 years, and in April she will be celebrating her 8th year anniversary of Reach Pilates in Safety Harbor. Michele’s focus is on private sessions…working on equipment…with highly specialized routines that help the client understand what the actual body mechanics are, and how they can use this information to meet their fitness goals. She is extremely knowledgeable in the techniques of Pilates, and is continually learning inventive new ways to teach or enlighten her clients to achieve the gracefulness of balance that this practice is so well known for.

AND…what about being in the village? “Local businesses support each other,” as Michele says. Being a business owner and resident Michele understands the importance of, as she calls it, “a business friendly enviorment.” And Safety Harbor works diligently to achieve that feeling.

Well…there you have it…a Pilates studio…AND…a City…REACHING.

How high? I guess the sky’s the limit.

Please visit Michele, and get the grace back in your movement.

Reach Pilates-470 2nd Steet North, Suite C
Safety Harbor, FL 34695

This is Safety Harbor, Fl and this is my village…