Melvin to create new work for Pea Island Preservation Society

By on December 20, 2017

Linda Molloy, dramatic historic interpreter (left) and Joan Collins, secretary of the Pea Island Preservation Society, Inc., meet with artist James Melvin to discuss the creation of a new image to help tell the story of the Pea Island Lifesaving Station. (submitted photo)

The Pea Island Preservation Society is getting a new image.

Like the Pea Island Lifesavers Series at the N.C. Aquarium in Manteo, the society’s new “branding image” will be created by James Melvin, a well-known Outer Banks artist and illustrator.

Melvin’s work for the society will be used for the “Freedmen, Surfmen, Heroes” presentation, which is an initiative of the nonprofit, Manteo-based Pea Island Preservation Society, Inc.


The brainchild of Joan Collins, “Freedmen, Surfmen, Heroes” is a live presentation with visual aids about how the all-black Pea Island U.S. Life-Saving Service Station worked daily with their all-white neighboring stations.

By working together, each group learned the reality of the other group and not the common pre-judgements of the time. From this came understanding, respect and cooperation — the beginning of positive race-relations — in the Deep South more than a century ago, shortly after the conclusion of the terrible and destructive Civil War.

The program is presented with Collins’ first cousin, Darrell Collins, who is a well-known Wright Brothers historian and the president of Pea Island Preservation Society, Inc.

The program includes historic interpreters Linda Molloy and James Charlet, experts on the United States Life-Saving Service on the North Carolina coast, who perform in period costumes.

Melvin was a natural choice to help promote the new program, because many of his images are already used in the presentation, according to a press release from Pea Island Preservation Society. He is also a proponent of the program’s message of peace and unity.


The new image will be initially used for a poster, followed by use in a variety of future projects. Melvin will donate the work, which will likely have a value of several thousand dollars. Once completed, the painting will be on display at the Pea Island Cookhouse Museum in Manteo.

Eleven “Freedmen, Surfmen, Heroes” programs have previously been presented at the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island. More are scheduled there in the near future, along with programs for all Dare County Schools fourth-grade classes.

To learn more, visit Pea Island Preservation Society .



  • Mlewis

    Preserve and promote this historical national treasure!

    Saturday, Dec 23 @ 10:32 am
  • Jackie Church

    Congratulations to a wonderful person and an amazing artist!

    Thursday, Dec 28 @ 2:43 pm
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