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Artist to begin bee mural next week

Matt Willey will begin painting a bee mural on Monday, Oct. 26. Matt Willey will begin painting a bee mural on Monday, Oct. 26.

Muralist Matt Willey, who is on a mission to paint 50,000 honey bees (the number in a healthy hive) in murals around the world, will begin the Bee Mural Project in downtown Hendersonville on Monday.

For the next four to five weeks, from late October into November, Willey will hand paint the larger-than-life bee mural on the exterior wall of Hands On! Children’s Museum building, facing Azalea parking lot in downtown Hendersonville. The expansive “canvas” wall of the historic building was recently professionally washed and prepared for the artwork to begin, thanks to community donations and generous in-kind support from Burlett Painting.
Organizers have been working toward Willey’s arrival to paint the mural for about two years. Fundraising events and in-kind support have involved numerous businesses, individuals, and organizations, with over 50 sponsors and countless other contributors so far. The community has supported the project by helping raise money to pay the artist, prepare the wall where the mural will be painted, and design a pollinator demonstration garden which will soon be installed below the mural. A festival on Oct. 17 at Bold Rock Mills River Cidery was held to celebrate the harvest season and Bold Rock’s popular hard cider, to appreciate the role of pollinators, and to kick off the Bee Mural Project in downtown Hendersonville.
The Bee Mural Project is a joint effort between Hendersonville’s Bee City USA program, Hands On! Children’s Museum, and The Good of the Hive.


During the weeks it will take to paint the mural – brush-stroke by brush-stroke, starting high on a boom lift and working down to ground level -- Willey purposefully involves viewers, thus becoming a pollinator educator as well as a painter. 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. Weather permitting, Willey will be on-site almost daily. The community is invited to stop by to meet the artist and watch him bring the mural to life or follow the progress virtually through a series of video updates to be posted regularly at www.facebook.com/beecityhendersonville.

Special events



Saturday, Oct. 31 & Sunday, Nov. 1, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.: Weather permitting, stop by to meet artist Matt Willey as he works to bring the bee mural to life. Costumes for Halloween or Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) or to celebrate pollinators are encouraged. While supplies last, sweet treats will be available for children -- pure honey sticks, honey candies, colorful sugar skull stickers, and I Love Pollinators stickers. Plan to give Matt some tricks to go with his treats – tell him your best bee joke or pollinator pun to see if you can make Matt giggle and smile.

Lunch & Learn with Matt Willey, Artist and Founder of The Good of the Hive. Thursday, Nov. 5, 12:30-1:30 p.m. Presented by: Blue Ridge Community College, A Certified Bee Campus; Bee City USA – Hendersonville; Hands On! Children’s Museum; The Good of the Hive. This virtual Lunch and Learn provides a chance to meet the artist, Matt Willey. Matt will explain how and why he began painting bees and describe the purpose of The Good of the Hive. Participants can ask questions of Matt and local organizers of the Bee Mural project. The free Zoom event is limited to the first 250 registrants. Register at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BEEMURAL to receive the link to the Lunch and Learn.

Interact During Love Hendo – Shop Local Saturday. Saturday, November 7, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Presented by: Historic Downtown Hendersonville, Bee City USA – Hendersonville, Hands On! Children’s Museum. On the first Saturday of November, Main Street will be closed to traffic, allowing room for pedestrians, restaurant outdoor dining, and retail shopping. Fun events at the Bee Mural project will be happening in the Azalea parking lot along Third Ave. E. Watch muralist Matt Willey paint pollinators on the exterior wall of Hands On! Children’s Museum; check out a colony of live bees in the glass observation hive; purchase local honey, jun (a tasty honey-based beverage), and bakery items; view local artwork; purchase a souvenir T-shirt; and more. Vendors/exhibitors include Honey Bee Bliss, Bee City USA - Hendersonville, The Good of the Hive, Hands On! Children’s Museum, Shanti Elixirs, and more.

Hive Alive Art Show. Through Sunday, November 1 at ArtMoB Studios and Marketplace, 124 Fourth Ave. E.
Gallery hours: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday, Wednesday to Saturday. 1- 4:30 p.m., Sunday. (Closed on Tuesday.)
Presented by Art MoB Studios & Marketplace. Just around the corner from where Matt Willey will be painting a larger-than-life bee mural is Art MoB Studios and Marketplace, where the work of over 80 local and regional artists and crafters is on display. Art MoB artists have donated selected artwork for sale, with 100% of proceeds going to support the Bee Mural Project. Most artwork including paintings, pottery, photography, jewelry, glasswork, woodwork, and more is priced from $25-100. One piece will be raffled off at an upcoming artist reception. All CDC guidelines are in place.

The Bee Mural Project is a partnership of Bee City USA Hendersonville (a program of the Hendersonville Tree Board and Environmental Sustainability Board), Hands On! Children’s Museum and The Good of the Hive in partnership with nonprofit organizations, local businesses and community members. The goal of the initiative is 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. For more information contact beecityhendersonville@gmail.com or follow the initiative’s progress at www.facebook.com/BringtheHiveAlive. Learn more about the Bee Mural Project and upcoming pollinator events at https://www.hendersonvillenc.gov/pollinator-events.