Outdoor art enhances beauty of Hobe Sound

Posted at 5:59 AM, Dec 28, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-28 08:02:43-05

You don't have to go to a gallery to admire works of art in Hobe Sound. You just have to get in your car.

A group of dedicated artists are painting the town to make it a more beautiful place to live and visit.

Drive north on U.S. 1 in Hobe Sound, and you're likely to do a double take.

GALLERY OF PHOTOS:  Hobe Sound murals depict Florida beauty

"We're actually worried about causing an accident,” says Harold Jenkins, owner of Jenkins Landscape Company. “We have people jam on their brakes and back up to see it."

One mural depicting an iconic Florida landscape covers one side of Jenkin's Landscape Company, a family run business that has been a fixture in Hobe Sound for 51 years.

Harold Jenkins says, "It couldn't have turned out better. It far exceeded our expectations. It's amazing."

Nadia Utto is the creative force behind the Hobe Sound Mural project. She loves this community and was looking for a way to give back.

"Because I trained in the arts, I knew I could start the mural project. I researched it for seven years," says Utto.

The first mural was painted in 2009. More than 40 guest artists have participated to help, including one who spent a lot of time along this exact road.

Jimmy Scovall is one of the famed Florida Highwaymen.

"To paint on a building, on the road that I sold paintings on, is fascinating," says Scovall.

The Highwaymen earned their name in the 1950s. They were a group of African-American artists who were self-taught.

Shunned by traditional galleries, they sold their art out of their cars up and down Florida’s highways.

"We were just out to make a living.  We had no idea it would come this far or get this popular," said Scovall.

Highwayman art continues to be in high demand.  Nadia was thrilled when Scovall agreed to help paint one of the murals.

Three of his original works of art were the inspiration for one of the artworks.

An expert in oil painting, Scovall says this was his first experience with acrylics, but he mastered it.

"When you get to the end or tip of it and mix red with orange, it gives you the light shining in. That's what we captured was controlling the light," said Scovall.

Down the road from the Jenkins mural and a step back in time is a mural of the Hobe Sound train station of the 1930s brought back to life.

Guest artist Ziggy Blaze, 21, assisted with this work of art and enjoyed being mentored by a Florida Highwayman.

"He taught me once you start a piece, never have doubt. Have confidence that you can do it," said Blaze.

As for Scovall, he says, "I'll never stop painting. If I lose both hands, I'll learn to paint with my feet."

Guided mural tours of the murals are available. The next tour, with reservations through the Chamber of Commerce, is scheduled for Friday, March 11 from 10 a.m. to noon.

Philadelphia is the city with the most murals, with 4,000 in total.  Utto says they won't reach that number, but they'll do their best.

GALLERY OF PHOTOS:  Hobe Sound murals depict Florida beauty