Mason Foster

(Rock Hill, S.C.) — There are nearly 50 endangered or threatened animals and plants in South Carolina and to bring awareness, the Museum of York County in Rock Hill has teamed up with the Winthrop University fine arts program to create prints that will be displayed in the museum.

“I have a contact at the York County Museum, John Prichard, (and) he reached out to me with the idea of putting together a show of endangered species in South Carolina,” said Seth Rouser, an associate professor of fine arts.

Students are currently researching, designing and creating artworks utilizing the intaglio printmaking process in Winthrop’s printmaking studio.

“We’re going to be introducing this as a project in our classes and having our students do creative works. Choosing a species, either animal or plant to create original pieces,” Rouser said.

Kenny Ray, a junior arts education major, said he is excited to have his work put on display.

“It’s an eastern black rail,” said Ray, about his print of the small, mouse-sized bird that is native to both North and South Carolina. “I’m extremely excited for it to go in a museum.”

Alongside the eastern black rail, Ray depicts an endangered flower known as the harperella.

The South Carolina Wildlife federation says that if action isn’t taken to preserve these species they could easily disappear, which is exactly what the project aims to prevent.

Louisa-Jean Smith has piece on the world’s most endangered sea turtle, the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle. “I don’t want them to be endangered,” Smith said.

This isn’t the first time Winthrop has worked with the museum, as it has donated many animals to the university for life drawing courses.

“They’ve been there for quite a long time, they have natural history, lots of different specimens. In fact, we have some specimens donated from them to Winthrop University, which we actually use for our drawing class,” said Rouser.

It’s not yet known when the pieces will go up in the museum, but Rouser predicts it will be within the next year.