Press release from the City of Hendersonville’s Tree Board:
After all the hullabaloo and excitement generated by the creation of the Bee and Pollinator Mural downtown, the moment has come to hold an official dedication of the finished product. On Thursday, May 13, 10:30 to 11 a.m., a short but sweet ceremony will wrap up the months-long painting of the mural. Mayor Barbara Volk and City Council members, City staff members, Muralist Matt Willey, Joseph Knight, director of Hands On! Children’s Museum, Bee City USA volunteers, and others who have supported the project will be in attendance. The public is invited. The ceremony will be held at the site in the Azalea Parking lot, on Third Avenue East between Main Street and King Street. The mural has been painted on the exterior wall of Hands On! Children’s Museum, which is visible at this location.
“We are grateful to all of those who have been involved, whether from the very start of the project in 2019, throughout the challenges of 2020, or during the final phase this spring, “said Kim Bailey, coordinator of the City’s Bee City USA program, which is a partner for the mural project. “We look forward to celebrating the completion of the mural with our community who made it all possible — through financial donations, in-kind contributions, and countless hours of volunteer time. We appreciated the many cheers, horn honks, questions, and conversations that look place while Matt was onsite painting. We know the completed mural will continue to spark curiosity and inspire conversations for years to come!”
The Nearby Garden
The demonstration pollinator garden, planted last fall in the nearby areas of Azalea parking lot, where the work on the mural is most visible, will also be included in the dedication. Landscape architect Tricia King of TTK Design transformed traffic islands at the site into a diverse habitat to serve as a working pollinator garden and demonstration plot for the community. The garden bed directly below the mural will be planted soon and will include informative signage about pollinator-friendly plants and habitats.
Willey, who established his organization, The Good of the Hive, with a mission to paint 50,000 honey bees on walls around the world — a symbolic number related to the number of honey bees in a healthy hive — said he is excited that Hendersonville has participated in the project. “The community has really supported me and The Good of the Hive in a wonderful way” he said. “This piece is connected to a growing number of murals I’ve created across the United States, in the UK, and beyond. The mural raises awareness about the critical importance of pollinators, but it is also about us. We are all more connected to each other than we realize. This piece of art is about the beauty of healthy pollinators, but it is also about what the pollinators can teach us about ourselves.”
Why Are The Mural and Pollinator Garden Important?
In addition to its classroom aspects, 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, according to Joseph Knight, executive director. Additionally, the mural expands the growing art appeal of downtown Hendersonville’s ArtScape banners, colorful hand-painted bears, and the large handsome mosaic nature scene created by Ukrainian mosaic artists in the 1990s … all of which make downtown Hendersonville a family-friendly arts destination. The Bee Mural is included on the Appalachian Mural Trail along with five other murals on or around Main Street (www.muraltrail.com). Most significantly, according to many bee-mural enthusiasts, it points to the important agricultural businesses and farm-to-table movement in Henderson County, acknowledging that honey bees and other pollinators are important to the community’s economy and heritage.
To encourage and assist homeowners and residents in selecting plants to support pollinators, Hendersonville Tree Board has updated its List of Recommended Tree Species and expanded the section devoted to wildlife and pollinator habitats. In addition to locally adapted native flowers, grasses, vines, shrubs, and trees the list includes locations of demonstration pollinator gardens open to the public. Find it at www.hendersonvillenc.gov/tree-species-list.
How the Bee Mural Project is Funded
“The Bee and Pollinator Mural project is wholly funded by donations from the community which includes an array of different interests. It is heartening to know that whether you have an agricultural interest, a gardening interest, an educational aspect, a child’s eye, or even an artistic leaning, neighbors and friends across the area want to reflect their appreciation for pollinators and their importance to our lives and the ecosystem.”
Fundraising events and in-kind support during the past two years have involved numerous businesses, individuals, and organizations, with 65 sponsors and countless other contributors so far (see www.handsonwnc.org/hivesponsors). From apple growers, to nurseries, to artists, schoolchildren, nonprofit organizations, beekeepers, food and beverage-related businesses, many individuals, garden clubs, and more, a diverse group has come together to support the Bee Mural Project. The community raised money or provided in-kind donations to pay the artist, prepare the wall where the mural is painted, and install the pollinator demonstration garden … no tax-related funds were used.
Mural sponsorship opportunities are available through the end of June. Visit https://handsonwnc.org/hive to participate. Funds will be used to enhance the pollinator gardens, add educational signage, and expand learning experiences and/or exhibits related to pollinators.
The landscaping project is funded by a Deer Park Brand sustainability grant in partnership with Blue Ridge Parkway Association. The grant is designated for projects that inspire individuals to preserve the ecosystems within our communities. Henderson County Tourism Development Association applied for the grant on behalf of the Bee Mural initiative. In addition, Botanical Treasures, a local wholesaler, donated the majority of the nursery-propagated native perennials for the project.
The Bee Mural Project is a partnership of Bee City USA Hendersonville (a program of The City of Hendersonville Tree Board and Environmental Sustainability Board), Hands On! Children’s Museum, and The Good of the Hive, in partnership with nonprofit organizations, schools, local businesses, and community members. The goals of this initiative are to raise awareness of the importance of pollinators; bring beauty and character to downtown Hendersonville; celebrate the power in human connection; and inspire actions to help sustain healthy ecosystems. Follow the bee mural initiative’s progress at www.facebook.com/beecityhendersonville .
Learn more about Willey’s mission and mural projects at www.thegoodofthehive.com.
A dedication ceremony will be held May 13 at 10:30 a.m. at the Bee and Pollinator Mural, which is on the exterior wall of Hands On! Children’s Museum in the Azalea parking lot, downtown Hendersonville, on Third Ave. E. between Main St. and King St. The public is invited. This photo shows participants during Community Painting Day earlier in May.