For some reason, the other day I was thinking about country singer Mel Tillis. I met him once and somewhere along the way I had learned he was from the off-the-beaten-path town of Pahokee. We chatted about that.
And then I thought about Ray Charles, who was raised off the beaten path in Greenville. And Clyde Butcher, I heard, was from Ochopee.
It impressed me, and apparently it also impresses the state of Florida, which created the Florida Artists Hall of Fame in 1986 to “recognize persons, living or deceased, who have made significant contributions to the arts in Florida either as performing or practicing artists in individual disciplines.”
When you visit Tallahassee, you’ll find the Florida Artists Hall of Fame Wall on the Plaza Level in the rotunda of the Capitol building.
Who’s on the list? Names that are known across Florida, often across America, and sometimes around the world.
Here are just a few "off the beaten path" Floridians who make us all proud.
• George Abbott
• Jimmy Buffett (Key West)
• Bo Diddley (Archer)
• Ray Charles (Greenville)
• Marjory Stoneman Douglas (Coconut Grove)
• Ernest Hemingway (Key West)
• Zora Neale Hurston (Eatonville)
• Robert Rauschenberg (Captiva)
• Majorie Kinnan Rawlings (Cross Creek)
• Burt Reynolds (Jupiter)
• Augusta Savage (Green Cove Springs)
• Mel Tillis (Pahokee)
• Tennessee Williams (Key West)
For more information on the Artists HOF – and ways to nominate someone you think is worthy – visit www.florida-arts.org/programs/ahf/