By Karen Mack
Hillsborough, NC – The Alliance for Historic Hillsborough and Mike’s Art Truck are proud to exhibit paintings by a living icon of the folk art world in this historic setting. “Farm Fresh Folk Art by Ruby C. Williams” is on display from August 17, 2018 through October 18, 2018 at the Alexander Dickson House, home of the Hillsborough Visitors Center.
At the end of The Civil War, about the same time that Confederate troops left the Dickson Farm in Orange County to surrender, the land of a former slaveholder in Florida was ceded to a handful of newly freed families, creating the small farming community of Bealsville.
Ruby C. Williams works the same farm in Bealsville that has been in her family since that time, and sells its produce from a roadside stand. Decades have passed since Williams began to paint signs to attract customers along Florida Highway 60, where there is plenty of produce to choose from. Her eye-catching images and misspelled messages soon became as popular has the strawberries and butterbeans they were advertising. When she isn’t working the soil or the cash box, Ruby C. Williams is spending her time painting. The images and messages have expanded to impart plain-spoken words of wisdom, offering encouragement, admonishing bad behavior, and asserting independence.
Though her age is “none of your business,” Ruby C. Williams is stronger today than most people half her age, still farming, selling, and painting. Her artwork has been featured in galleries and museums, including an exhibition at the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Museum.
The Alexander Dickson House and Hillsborough Visitors Center is located at 150 E. King St., in downtown Hillsborough. Admission to the exhibit is free and open to the public during regular visitor hours. Free parking is available. For more information about Historic Hillsborough, including the Visitors Center, please visit https://www.visithillsboroughnc.com.