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Folk artist will share her art with an attitude

Ruby Williams is the featured artist at the Tampa FolkArtFest, a celebration of unusual art.

By SUSAN THURSTON, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 13, 2002

HYDE PARK -- Hillsborough County folk artist Ruby Williams will share her paintings and her wisdom at the "Ruby and Friends" Tampa FolkArtFest today through Sunday at Matthew's Art Gallery.

Williams owns a produce stand and art gallery on State Road 60 in Bealsville, where she's known for preaching the gospel and speaking her mind. Her bright, primitive paintings of cows, fish and people are on display in folk art collections across the Southeast.

The festival will showcase the work of several famous folk artists, including 92-year-old Jimmie Lee Sudduth of Alabama, Ab the Flagman of Atlanta and Woody Long of Plant City.

The gallery event kicks off at 6 tonight with a party featuring Williams, bluegrass music by Jeff Black and hors d'oeuvres from Mise en Place. (Meanwhile, at the restaurant, chef Marty Blitz will prepare a Southern dish using fresh fruits and vegetables from Williams' store.)

Activities continue Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Jeanine Taylor, owner of Folk Art Gallery in Winter Park, will speak at 11 a.m. on the "Joy of Collecting Folk Art." University of Central Florida professor Kristin Congden will talk at 3 p.m. on "Southern Folk Artist Environments."

On Sunday, art lovers can browse through the gallery and meet with Williams from noon to 5 p.m.

The festival takes place at Matthew's Art Gallery, 119 Hyde Park Ave. near the University of Tampa.

Suggested donations are $2 per day or $5 for the weekend. Folk art will be raffled daily with proceeds benefitting Ruby's Bealsville Education Fund.

For information, call Katherine Gibson at 831-8858.

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