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Bee Mural to go up later this year

Shown are Tree Board member Mia Freeman; Joseph Knight, executive director of Hands On!; Community Foundation President McCray V. Benson; and Kim Bailey, of the city Environmental Sustainability Board and Bee City USA-Hendersonville coordinator. Shown are Tree Board member Mia Freeman; Joseph Knight, executive director of Hands On!; Community Foundation President McCray V. Benson; and Kim Bailey, of the city Environmental Sustainability Board and Bee City USA-Hendersonville coordinator.

To bee or not to bee. To bee, for sure, a local group says.

 

A larger-than-life mural on the exterior wall of Hands On! Children’s Museum facing the Azalea parking lot on Third Avenue East will become a reality thanks to the work of the Hendersonville Tree Board, the Bee City USA group and a donation from the Community Foundation.

The mural will celebrate bees and their importance especially in this agricultural county with a reliance on apples, small fruits, vegetables and beautiful landscape – all of which rely on the work of pollinators. A contract was signed with artist Matthew Willey, who has a 25-year career of painting large, realistic murals. He founded his company, 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.

Willey will paint the mural later this year. Fundraising is ongoing with a goal of $35,000 to cover the cost of the mural, surface preparation and support.
Organizers kicked off the “Bring the Hive Alive” mural project last June during Pollinator Month, which is part of Hendersonville’s Bee City USA program. Coordinator Kim Bailey has been instrumental in the fundraising/educational portion of the project.

Willey will likely paint the mural in June or October. During the weeks it will take to paint the mural, Matt purposefully involves viewers, thus becoming a pollinator educator as well as a painter.

The Community Foundation of Henderson County boosted the project with a $5,000 gift.

“Community Foundation of Henderson County is proud to play a part in helping bring awareness to this community project that will have a lasting impact,” said President/CEO McCray Benson. “The honey bee mural on Hands On! Children’s Museum is playing a huge role of educating our community on the importance of pollinators, especially in our agriculturally centered county, and it is enhancing awareness for every age group.”

“I am filled with gratitude for each and every contribution made to this project whether it was an idea shared, time and talent given, an encouraging word, in-kind donation, or a financial gift,” says Bee City USA Hendersonville Coordinator Kim Bailey. “It all adds up and demonstrates how everyone has an important role in building heathy communities for both people and pollinators.”


Steve Pettis, a Henderson County Extension agent, believes the educational aspect of this project is significant.

"It is important to keep pollinators in people's consciousness," he said. "If you see a mural such as this, it will remind you that bees are important and it might be the thing that causes you to pick that pesky tomato hornworm off of your plant rather than using a pesticide."
“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,” said Joseph Knight, director of the downtown museum.

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, a coupon for $20 off a $40+ purchase from B.B. Barns Garden Center, and enrollment in the “How to Grow a Pollinator Café” online course from Gardens That Matter. Donate online at www.handsonwnc.org/hive .
Mural sponsorship opportunities are also available. Sponsors will be recognized on a permanent plaque alongside the bee mural. Levels are:
· Honey Makers ($5,000+)
· Comb Builders ($2,500)
· Pollen Foragers ($1,000)
· 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 in person at Hands On during business hours.