She was born and grew up in Bealsville, Florida - a community formed by freed slaves in 1865. She then became a minister in New Jersey. Since returning to Florida she has run a produce stand and "walk in" gallery on State Road 60 since the early 1980s.
Williams is a self-taught artist. Her career in folk art got going in 1991 when passer-by Rodney Hardee noticed her brightly painted signs advertising her fruits and vegetables. With the coaxing from him and others, Ruby, a spiritual businesswoman, minister and grandmother embarked on the journey that has led her into classrooms, galleries and museums in Florida, as well as nationally. Recently Ruby illustrated a children's book titled, I Am Ruby. Her art and produce stand are covered by Jeff Klinkenberg in a section of his book Seasons of Florida.
Ruby Williams was honored with the 2005 Florida Folk Heritage Award and was included in the show, "On Their Own - Selected Self-taught Artists" at the Smithsonian Anacostia Museum in Washington D.C.
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