BY TERI R. WILLIAMS
PHOTOS PROVIDED BY MEREDITH RAIFORD
On a mission trip to
Jamaica, former Vidalia
resident Meredith Raiford
discovered art’s true
purpose–to inspire and
u p l i f t.
School was where she was supposed to
find and perfect her path, not lose it.
But in the competitive atmosphere of
college art classes, Meredith’s desire
for perfection had turned her passion
into a performance. It was as if the natural river
of creativity inside of her had been dammed up to
harness her creativity energy only for a grade. It
was 2014, and Meredith Raiford was in Italy for a
“I didn’t know if I wanted to paint anymore,”
said Meredith. “I was so caught up in being the
best in my class, getting good grades, and making
great things every two weeks, I just had lost focus
on why I loved art.”
Instead of joining the many artists deep in
creative inspiration along the Tiber River or
Piazza in front of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome or at
the Ponto Vecchio in Florence, she put down her
paint brush and became fully present. “I didn’t
paint the entire time I was there. I just took it in.
I sketched and studied and enjoyed art again.”
By the time she returned home, she was ready
to paint again.
Meredith Raiford had not planned on doing
art as a career. It wasn’t that she didn’t love art.
“I just had this idea that you had to be Picasso
or you couldn’t make it,” she said. “I was going
to go into law with the hope that I could still be
involved in art in some way.”
Because there was no certain major required
to enter law school, Meredith figured she would
do something she enjoyed for her undergrad
degree before moving on to the important stuff.
She started off with a double major in Art and
International Studies her freshman year at the
University of Georgia. By the end of the year, she
had dropped International Studies to focus on art.
“Until my senior year, law school was always the
As a young child, Meredith’s mother Melanie
noticed her daughter was drawing illustrations
of the sermon each Sunday at First Baptist
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