Special to South Florida Times

With the annual Art Basel festival again transforming Miami Beach into a global spot for visual art early in December, lovers of art from the African Diaspora will again be able to view works by black artists to be exhibited at four locations on Dec. 2-5.


The newly opened two-level art gallery in the restored historic Ward Rooming House at 291 NW Ninth St. in Overtown will host a showing of pieces by the Florida Highwaymen, a group of artists who earned fame and later, fortune,  by selling their richly colored landscape paintings of the Everglades and other Florida wild lands from their cars.

The 26 original Highwaymen, several of whom have since died, became known throughout the state as art lovers vied to own their works at then-bargain prices, some going for $35; they soared in price to between $5,000 and $7,500.

This exhibition is among those sponsored in part by the City of Miami Community Redevelopment Agency, with in-kind support from the Virginia Key Beach Park Trust.

New and recent works by several local artists will be displayed in African Roots/American Fruits, described as a “visual jazz concert” of paintings, drawings, sculpture and other works. It will take at Artlab33/Art Space, 2085B NW Second Ave. in Wynwood, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. during Art Basel and continue throughout December, during gallery walks and by appointment.

A third special attraction, the Kinad Mobile Museum, featuring an educational/
historical exhibition, The Old Masters of African American Art, will be at the Overtown and Wynwood locations on Dec 3-4.  Kinad Inc., a family-based nonprofit organization, which is also a co-sponsor of the Highwaymen exhibition, has become known around the state for its displays of black history and heritage aboard the mobile museum which visits schools and cultural institutions.

The Old Masters is being unveiled for the first time during Art Basel and is also being sponsored in part by the Miami CRA.

The fourth exhibition will take place at 4020 Virginia Beach Drive off the Rickenbacker Causeway on Virginia Key.  Ebony Beach is a showing of acrylic paintings by minister and artist Alan Laird, enhanced by a display of rare artifacts of the segregation era from his personal collection. It celebrates the history and heritage of historic black beaches throughout the country.

Admission to the four exhibitions is free and open to the public.  For more information, call 305-904-7620, or 786-260-2973.