Georgia Williams has been painting since she retired 10 years ago, but she has had a lifetime of experience and travels to inspire her.
Born in Gainesville, Florida, Williams had danced and done art most of her life. She went to high school in Marietta, Georgia, and was a member of the Southern Ballet Company in Atlanta. Williams received her bachelor’s degree in dance at Butler University in Indianapolis.
Williams needed a job right after college; luckily, Delta Air Lines was hiring flight attendants.
“With my career at Delta I have been to every continent in the world except Antarctica and Australia,” Williams said.
From taking troops to Kuwait to hearing fireworks for the Nobel Peace Prize in Stockholm to grabbing bags full of the Berlin Wall, Williams has stories to tell for years to come.
One of Williams’ favorite stories is about a girl she flew with who received a ring from a woman at a Russian bar before the Berlin Wall came down. “[The woman’s] husband had just died the year before,” Williams said. “She took off her wedding band and gave it to this girl and said, ‘I want my love to be free.’”
Williams reflects a lot about how fortunate we are in America. The idea of showing kids how fortunate they are inspired her own children’s book, “Captain Candy Cane and the Heart of Christmas.”
The character of Captain Candy Cane and her dog, Snowball, had appeared in a Christmas parade downtown before the book was made.
“She [Captain Candy Cane] shows Santa that when people have compassion for those less fortunate, comfort those that are hurting, and have courage to do the right thing, that that’s the real heart of Christmas,” Williams said.
With her best friend, Ann Cone Vining, Williams started a Russian mission in 2000. They travel to Russia to visit orphanages and help supply them with essentials such as diapers.
Williams said: “We went to the baby orphanage in Tula, which is the second biggest city in that part of Russia. They didn’t have diapers. All the diapers they eventually had come from a church up in Minnesota.”
Locally, Williams enlisted others to help. She said, “I brought a bunch of people [from my church] over there, and we bought them a washer and a dryer because they were washing everything in a bathtub and hanging it on the pipes in the basement.”
Now enjoying retirement, Williams has displayed pieces in places such as Maxine’s and City Arts, and she does pieces for 1st Thursdays events at the Orlando Museum of Art.
“There’s a good group of artists in this town,” Williams said.
One of the things Williams appreciates about all the amazing talent in Orlando is that people are rarely discouraged here. They can get shot down, but they know it’s not the end.