Waties Island Victory!

Cherry Grove Inlet 18″x24″ Oil on Linen Mary Edna Fraser 2022

A Waties Island victory is here at last!
Waties Island, one of the last undeveloped barrier
islands on South Carolina’s coast and the only one
located in Horry County, has been owned by various
members of the Horace Tilghman family since the
the 1920s. Following the division of land among family
members in the late 1980s, one-third of the island
was sold to an outside development group and
the southern tip of the island was gifted to the Coastal
Education Foundation.
For most of her life, family member Olivia Boyce-Abel
has worked tirelessly towards a conservation
outcome for Waties Island and most recently for her
parcel of land – one that suits the island’s sensitive
habitats, which are home to endangered and
threatened species such as loggerhead turtles and
least terns. Her search ended when the Open Space
Institute agreed to protect her part of the island’s
unique needs, offering to purchase and hold the land
until SCDNR could acquire it.
The opportunity was almost jeopardized in December
2020, when a lawsuit was filed by Coastal Education
Foundation claimed partial property ownership. This
temporarily blocked the OS contract for 18 months,
until last week when SCELP was able to successfully
settle the dispute. We are proud to have ensured the
transfer of the land to OSI and to have aided in the
protection of this portion of Waites Island for the
education and enjoyment of generations to come.
Big thanks to Pilot Chris Carmel from @southwings
for making these impactful images possible!

scelp #forthewildside #southcarolina #discoversc

protectourcoast #protectourplanet #scdnr

environmentaliustice #scenvironment

scstateparks #scwildlife #MyrtleBeachGov

ExploreNMB #NorthMyrtleBeach #JustCoast

Waties Island Flight, December 28, 2021
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Nix 526

“Self Portrait” Batik on silk, Mary Edna Fraser

On Tuesday night Mary Edna will speak to the County Council on behalf of the Coastal Conservation League and concerned citizens to oppose the continuation of 8 miles of 526 for $2.35 billion! The prosed highway starts at Folly and runs to the edge of  James Island Creek, then through the heart of James Island County Park, then John’s Island to connect to West Ashley. This is a political boondoggle that would disturb valuable wetlands, forested areas, and the rural nature of our already overdeveloped islands. 

My home is located on James Island Creek, right where the 526 connector would begin. If completed, it would contaminate further the waterways and destroy the rural nature of James Island and John’s Island.

  • Charleston County and SCDOT could sell some of the most valuable right-of-way purchased to recoup some of the money spent to date and keep some of it for affordable housing or public greenspace. 
  • By continuing to explore ways to move forward with this > $2 billion project, the County is putting itself at risk of losing state allocated funds for important social services from struggling to pay bills and debts owed

I even wrote and performed a protest song for Dana Beach when the Coastal Conservation League began fighting the ill-proposed plan. The price is much too high at triple the original cost, and overdevelopment is what would follow. There are so many needs in our midst that require pertinent attention. Please listen to the pleas of the people who oppose overspending with terrible outcomes for folks who live near the extension plans. The homes you have already purchased on James Island Creek could be sold, and you could make a difference to our community and keep it out of harmful man-made destruction. Thank you for your time and attention.

Mary Edna Fraser

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Creek by Creek at City Gallery

Creek by Creek is a collaborative effort by artists Mary Edna Fraser and Jeff Kopish, underscoring the perils of plastic pollution and the importance of protecting the Lowcountry’s unique waterways. Featuring an array of Fraser’s batiks on silk and oil paintings and Kopish’s ceramic and found object sculptures incorporating everything from recycled plastic to actual trash, this exhibition aims to further educate the public on environmental issues through the lens of art, and to remind viewers of the consequences of their own actions within the larger ecological systems of which they are a part.

The artists’ new work, and their ecological concerns, is being presented in concert with three indispensable area groups: Charleston Waterkeeper, the Coastal Conservation League, and the South Carolina Environmental Law Project. Specifically, the exhibition will focus on eight areas of concern: the endangered African American communities of Cainhoy and Phillips, the Beidler Forest Audubon Center and Sanctuary, Captain Sams Spit, Crab Bank, the Great Pee Dee River, Hobcaw Barony, Shem Creek, and James Island Creek.

“My work is not what is important,” says Fraser. “It is the collective work done by all three groups. How they protect what we hold dear… passing the baton to win new battles. This is an environmental activist show to encourage action and counter apathy.”

The installation will be on view Wednesdays through Sundays from noon to 5pm starting March 18 and closing May 8, 2022 at City Gallery.

[Image & Text Credit: City Gallery]


There are currently four new videos on view at City Gallery (approximately 25 minutes total). You can watch them individually below:

Charleston Waterkeeper at James Island Creek –

Coastal Conservation League at Shem Creek –

SC Environmental Law Project at Captain Sams Spit –

Waties –

Other relevant videos are available to view through Mary Edna’s website HERE.

Listen to an interview with Mary Edna and Orrin Pilkey on Creative Process podcast HERE.

Listen to an interview with Mary Edna on Ohm Radio 96.3 HERE.

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