I didn't pay much attention to history when I was in school. The words in the books that described events that happened before I was born didn't seem that important to me.
As I grew older, I realized that history is actually a fluid thing that takes place all around us every day. With the capabilities of the Internet, world-wide events are now brought to me in real time, and I can watch history unfolding in front of me.
But I never fully understood the importance of local history.
Not until a few weeks ago, when I had the opportunity to sit next to and across from three artists who have signed their names to Highwaymen paintings.
I have seen these paintings all over the state, in specialty stores and even being sold on the side of the road on U.S. 1 in Fort Pierce.
But it wasn't until I met Al Black, Mary Ann Carroll and Kelvin Hair that I finally understood how their work, their contributions, created a brand new chapter in art history.
Highwaymen art has been around since the 1950s, when African-American artists who couldn't get their artwork seen in galleries would take to the road and sell the pieces from their cars, door-to-door.
The phrase "Highwaymen art" was actually coined in the early 2000s by a writer who was studying the history of the artists who painted landscape scenes of this area.
Sunsets and sunrises over the water, Palm trees and more, these 26 artists blazed a trail with brushes and paint, kicking down the door to the art world without ever realizing it at the time.
After the original 26 artists became known as the Highwaymen Legends, the second generation of artists, the children of the Legends and others, are now known as the Legacies.
This small group, who started out with a love to paint and just wanted the chance to sell their artwork, now has become a part of Florida culture and history.
The Florida Highwayman Art Show and Sale will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on June 1 at the Vienna Trading Antique Mall, located on 3401 S. U.S. 1 in Fort Pierce.
This is the community's rare chance to meet the Legends and Legacies in person and see the variety of the artwork they painted themselves. This art and these artists are a vital part of not only art history, but the history of Fort Pierce. If you have a few hours, you should go and experience this for yourselves.
It's that important.
Dawn Krebs is an associate managing editor of Hometown News and can be reached at email@example.com.