Internationally acclaimed figurative artist Mary Whyte, is well-known for her expressive large-scale watercolors of people in the surroundings which define their essence. Whether she’s telling the story of 50 Veterans from 50 states or that of the Gullah women of Johns Island, South Carolina, she depicts the human form in a way that preserves and elevates the human spirit, a moment in time, a moment in history.
Now, Mary is loving not only people through her art, but a place – St. Christopher Camp and Conference Center on Seabrook Island.
Mary first discovered St. Christopher more than 30 years ago while on a bike ride through Seabrook Island. “I’ve traveled to many places around the world,” says Mary, “but there’s something very unique and special about St. Christopher. There’s a real spirit about the place that permeates everything here. This is a place we need to make sure is here forever.”
St. Christopher, a Christian ministry of The Anglican Diocese of South Carolina, consists of 314 acres of pristine beachfront, maritime forest and salt marsh. It serves as a place for outdoor environmental education for nearly 14,000 children during the school year. It hosts nearly 1,550 children during its summer camp program and operates as a retreat and conference center for hundreds of individuals and groups throughout the year.
Nearly devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, St. Christopher, has seen its income plummet with a loss of more than $2M (more than half its budgeted income) in anticipated revenue. It’s staff has been slashed to a minimum with those remaining experiencing a reduction in benefits, as well.
“All 50 states have areas of extraordinary beauty,” says Whyte, “but I don’t think there’s any place better than this. It’s imperative that all of us do everything we can to save it. As a board member I’ve often asked, ‘What can I do to contribute?’ and it occurred to me that perhaps I could do one or two pieces that could be turned into prints and given as gifts to those who donate to the camp.”
Whyte, has painted two watercolors, Veil and Path to the Beach whose prints will be given as thank you gifts to those donating to St. Christopher.
The first 25 donors supporting St. Christopher with a gift of $5000 or more will receive, as a thank you gift, one of the signed and framed (30X24), limited edition (25) giclee prints of Veil, (pictured left).
The Inspiration The Inspiration for Veil: “The model for Veil, Georgeanna, is one of my favorite models,” says Whyte. “I’ve painted her many, many times over the last 20 years. She was a long-time resident of Johns Island and one of the women from the Hebron Saint Francis Senior Center who welcomed me and took me under their wing. She passed away two years ago. The church behind her is the old Hebron Church on Bohicket Road.”
Donors supporting St. Christopher with a gift of $1,000 or more will receive, as a thank you gift, one of the signed, 8X10 giclee prints of Path to the Beach.
The Inspiration for Path to the Beach: “The first time I came to the beach at St. Christopher I remember saying to my friend, ‘I didn’t know a place of such beauty like this existed.’ What I especially love are the walkways that go between the maritime forest and the beach. I think there’s a certain magical transition when you see that keyhole of light through the trees in the distance and can just barely hear the water as you move towards it.”
Donors supporting St. Christopher with a gift of $10,000 or more will, in addition to the prints above, receive as a thank you gift, an invitation to Tea with Mary Whyte and Margaret, one of the women from the Hebron Saint Francis Senior Center who has served as Mary’s model many times.
Note: If circumstances beyond St. Christopher’s control prohibit such a gathering a meet and greet with Margaret and the artist will be held with the donors online.
Donate to St. Christopher online. Note: Using your checking account rather than a credit card will lessen the fees associated with your gift or you may mail a check, made out to “ADOSC” (The Anglican Diocese of South Carolina) to St. Christopher Camp & Conference Center, 2810 Seabrook Island Road, Johns Island, SC 29455