Bee City USA Hendersonville hosts fundraisers for downtown “bee mural”

Press release from Bee City USA Hendersonville:

On Friday, Nov. 1, from 3:59-7 p.m., the Wine Cellar at Wine Sage and Gourmet, 416 N. Main Street, Hendersonville, will donate 10 percent of sales during the 359 Club (a social gathering open to the public with beer and wine sold by the glass) to help fund the creation of a “bee mural” downtown. In addition, 10 percent of the entire day’s sales from the cellar, as well as the kitchen and gourmet shop upstairs, will be donated to help fund the mural.

At Sideways Farm & Brewery, 62 Eade Rd. (off Old Hwy. 64) in Etowah, during the entire month of November, all tips received will be donated to the mural project. Sideways will be featuring their Small Batch #54 Light Honey Ale, a light ale fermented with local wildflower honey. The brewery is one of the few breweries in the nation using honey instead of corn sugar to add carbonation to their bottles of small batch artisan brews.

This fundraising project for the “Bring the Hive Alive” mural was kicked off in June during Hendersonville’s Pollinator Month, which is part of its Bee City USA program. Community supporters have raised over $9,000 through events like Bold Rock Hard Cider’s Bee Bold Pollinator Festival in Mills River and informational exhibits at Garden Jubilee, Monarch Day, and Farm City Day. The goal is $25,000.

Where Will The Bee Mural Be?
The larger-than-life bee mural will be painted on the exterior walls at Hands On! Children’s Museum building, facing Azalea parking lot in downtown Hendersonville (along King Street between Third and Fourth Avenues.) This project helps extend the children’s museum’s mission of inspiring creativity and wonder through STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) to the entire community, and adds to the art appeal of downtown’s ArtScape banners, colorful bears, and the large handsome mosaic nature scene — all of which make downtown Hendersonville a family-friendly arts destination. It also gives a significant nod to our community’s agricultural businesses, acknowledging that honey bees and other pollinators are important to our economy and heritage.

Who Will Paint The Mural?
Artist Matthew Willey, with a 25-year career of painting murals, will be hired to paint the mural. He founded The Good of the Hive as a personal commitment to hand-paint 50,000 honey bees in murals around the world. Through art and imagination, his work inspires curiosity and awareness about the importance of honey bees and other pollinators while celebrating the power in human connection. During the weeks it will take to paint the mural, Matt purposefully involves viewers, thus becoming a pollinator educator as well as a painter.

“I believe the bee mural will bring excitement and beauty to downtown. But, more than that, the bee mural represents something that is vital to our community. It not only represents the bees which are crucial to our farms and gardens, but it represents the way our community works together to thrive and grow and support one another,” said Merit Wolff, co-owner of Wine Sage and Gourmet and a volunteer on the mural planning team.

Community Support Encouraged
When asked when the mural will be painted, Hendersonville’s Bee City USA coordinator Kim Bailey had a straightforward answer, “As soon as we raise the funds, a total of $25,000! Our goal is to have raised at least $12,500 by the end of the year in order to pay the 50 percent deposit, sign the contract with The Good of the Hive artist, and, hopefully, get on the artist’s mural painting schedule for 2020.”

Hands On! Children’s Museum is hosting an online crowd-funding campaign with rewards donated by local organizations and businesses. Supporter levels range from $25 to $100 and include thank-you gifts such as jars of local honey from the Henderson County Beekeepers Association, stickers from The Good of the Hive, honey bee window clings from Hendersonville’s Bee City USA affiliate, and enrollment in the “How to Grow a Pollinator Café” online course from Gardens That Matter. All donations of $25 or more received through November will receive a coupon for $20 off a $40+ purchase from B.B. Barns The Garden Company. Donate online at

Mural sponsorship opportunities are also available. Sponsors will be recognized on a permanent plaque alongside the bee mural.

  • Honey Makers ($5,000+)
  • Comb Builders ($2,500)
  • Pollen Foragers ($1000)
  • Nectar Gatherers ($500)
  • Buzz Makers ($250)

Donations small and large, as well as in-kind donations, are being accepted, according to Bailey. Checks can be written to Hands On! (write “bee mural” in the info line) and mailed to Hands On Children’s Museum, 318 North Main St., Hendersonville, NC 28792, or contributed in person at Hands On during business hours.

More Events In The Works
“The apples, pumpkins, cucumbers, and numerous other fruits and vegetables that we grow locally would not be possible without honey bees. They are fascinating and valuable insects and raising awareness of their importance and appreciation for how much they support our lives is a noble and worthy endeavor,” said Dr. Terry Kelley, Henderson County Extension Director. “I think having The Good of the Hive mural in Henderson County is a benefit to our whole community.”

Such encouragement has inspired other organizations and businesses to organize upcoming events. For example, Chef Michael Gilligan of Harvey’s at The Henderson Inn is planning a special dinner featuring honey and locally grown products. Various farm, garden, and restaurant businesses have future events in the works. Details will be announced.

For more information, contact Kim Bailey at or follow the initiative’s progress at Learn more about the artist and The Good of the Hive at

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