The folks at Bold Rock Mills River Cidery agree — without bees, no apples would be available to make hard cider. So their festival on Saturday, October 17, celebrates this harvest season and their popular hard cider, appreciates the role of pollinators, and kicks off the bee mural being painted in downtown Hendersonville. “The Good the Hive” 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 arrive in Hendersonville soon to begin the Bee Mural Project.
From noon to 6 p.m., festivities at Bold Rock Cidery will include live music from Hendersonville’s own Apple Country String Band, tastings of 30 different honeys, butterfly yoga for the kids, short-film showings about The Good of the Hive, an observation bee hive (weather permitting), a special Bold Rock cocktail with a portion of sales donated to the mural project, the return of the popular “bee bingo,” and more. Vendors and organizations will be on hand, including The Good of the Hive, Bee City USA – Hendersonville, Carolina Bee Farm, BeeHaven Gardens, Henderson County Beekeepers Association, and others. At 3 p.m., entomologist Dr. Gretchen Pettis will share her appreciation for some other pollinators (fabulous flies, beneficial beetles, and wonderful wasps) that grace our gardens and enrich our environment. Visit https://www.facebook.com/events/1541598709366283/ and www.hendersonvillenc.gov/pollinator-events for a complete schedule of events.
Willey will arrive in Hendersonville later in October, just arriving from painting a bee mural in the U.K. For four to five weeks, from late October into November, a larger-than-life bee mural will be meticulously hand-painted by Willey on the exterior walls at Hands On! Children’s Museum building, facing Azalea parking lot, in downtown Hendersonville (along Third Ave. between Main St. and King St.) Through community donations and generous in-kind support from Burlett Painting, the expansive “canvas” wall of this historic building was recently professionally washed and prepared for the artwork to begin.
With a 25-year career of painting murals, Willey puts his paintbrush where his heart is. 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 – 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.
“We’re pleased that Bold Rock is hosting this exciting kick-off event while we anticipate Matt’s arrival in town,” said Kim Bailey, coordinator of the “Bring the Hive Alive” Bee Mural Project. “Attendees can learn more about the mural project and about pollinators through demonstrations, children’s activities, honey tastings, and more. The community has supported this project during the year as we have raised 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.”
Why Is The Mural Important?
First, 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, it expands the growing art appeal of downtown Hendersonville’s ArtScape banners, colorful hand-painted bears, and the large handsome mosaic nature scene created by Russian mosaic artists in the 1990s … all of which make downtown Hendersonville a family-friendly arts destination. The Bee Mural will be listed on the Appalachian Mural Trail along with five other murals on or around Main Street, as well. It is expected that the mural will inspire more pollinator-friendly plantings by homeowners in their backyards, window boxes, and plots of land, such as the recently installed 5-acre wildflower meadow along Hendersonville’s Oklawaha Greenway. 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.
Community Participation Encouraged
Families, young people and budding young artists, and folks who are curious are welcome to stop by to watch Willey bring the mural to life brushstroke by brushstroke. His is an interactive process and he is enthusiastic about discussing his passion for pollinators and all things “for the good of the hive.” Willey will be painting at the mural site most days except when weather prohibits. In addition, a series of online videos documenting the project will be released so the experience and message can be shared with as many people as possible during the mural painting period and beyond.
In addition to the festival at Bold Rock Mills River Cidery, a number of fundraising events are planned during Willey’s visit to help the project accomplish the following long-terms goals:
- establish a fund for ongoing care and maintenance of the bee mural.
- install and enhance a pollinator garden along the wall at the base of the bee mural which will serve as a demonstration plot for attracting pollinators to home and business landscapes.
- expand pollinator-related STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) education programs for students, and support community presentations by the artist (online or in-person as may be most appropriate).
- join the Appalachian Mural Trail and develop/promote a downtown Hendersonville mural trail.
- support future museum exhibits related to pollinators, agriculture, food systems, and ecosystems.
Fun Events and Ways To Learn More
Hive Alive Art Show at Art MoB
Saturday, October 3 – Sunday, November 1, during gallery hours
Presented by Art MoB Studios & Marketplace, 124 4th Avenue East, Hendersonville.
Just around the corner from where Matt Willey will be painting the bee mural is Art MoB Studios and Marketplace, where the work of over 80 local and regional fine artists and fine crafters is on display. Art MoB artists have donated selected artwork for sale, with 100% of proceeds going to the “Bring the Hive Alive” bee mural project. Most artwork, including paintings, pottery, photography, jewelry, glasswork, woodwork, and more, will be priced from $25 to $100. One piece will be raffled off at an upcoming artist reception.
“Art MoB and our artists believe in giving back to the community, to show our support to those that support us, and for the benefit of the bees and their hives. So much depends on this. We want to support the mural project through the sale of our artwork.”
All CDC guidelines are in place at Art MoB Gallery.
https://www.artmobstudios.com and https://www.facebook.com/events/695279957690426
Hands On! Children’s Museum is hosting an online crowd-funding campaign for the Bee Mural Project with “Bring the Hive Alive” rewards donated by local organizations and businesses. Rewards (to be sent by mail or picked up at the museum) for contributions of $25 and up include honey bee window cling, The Good of the Hive sticker, BeeKind sticker, jar of local honey, packet of pollinator-friendly seeds, and coupons from B.B. Barns The Garden Company, Raymond’s Garden Center, and Spriggly’s Beescaping. Mural sponsorships are also available. View the complete list of donor gifts and various donation levels at https://handsonwnc.org/hive or text “buzz” to 44321.
Bullington Gardens Fall Plant Sale
Presented by Bullington Gardens, 95 Upper Red Oak Trail, Hendersonville
Bullington Gardens offers an online ordering system designed to make garden shopping easy and fast, with zero contact. Many pollinator-friendly plants are available. Fall is the ideal time to plant perennials, trees and shrubs. The weather is cool but the soil is still warm which encourages excellent root growth. In support of the bee mural, Bullington is also offering Honey Bee and Monarch window clings for a donation of $5 each. Clings are easily removed or repositioned on windows as they stick with static instead of adhesive. Once an online order is received, Bullington staff or volunteers will schedule a pick-up day and time. Place orders at https://bullingtongardens.org/store/. Pick-up is outdoors/curbside at Bullington Gardens.
Pollinator Note Cards
The colorful note cards feature artwork by 5 and 6 year-olds in the Honey Bees Kindergarten class at FernLeaf Community Charter School. Six different designs are printed on 4.25 x 5.5 cards. Includes six 100% recycled-content brown kraft paper envelopes (made in the USA).
$10 per set of 6 available at the following Hendersonville locations: Hands-On! Children’s Museum Gift Shop (https://handsonwnc.org), Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop, https://hendersonville.wbu.com, Moonshine & Magnolias, https://www.moonshineandmagnolia.com, and Art MoB Studios & Marketplace https://www.artmobstudios.com.
Long-lasting Effect of The Mural
Willey has painted a bee mural in Gastonia, N.C., and Merryman Cassels, owner of the building on which it was painted, said, “The Good of the Hive mural on the facade of our Main Avenue shop has become a downtown icon. It is not only beloved, but brings a sense of pride and ownership that extends beyond our center city. It has sparked meaningful conversation and awareness around not only bees, but what it means to live in community. Matt Willey’s mission is a powerful one, and we are proud to be a part of the larger hive he is creating.”
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, The Good of the Hive, nonprofit organizations, 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. For more information contact email@example.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.