What honeybees, humans, and art have in common

Question of the day: How many honeybees are in a bee hive? Answer: 50,000 – but who’s counting?

Matt Willey, for one. A highly-regarded mural artist, he’s been commissioned during the past two decades to grace the walls of homes and businesses. And now he’s asking you and me to commission 20 new murals by him in various cities, with each wall-sized painting being different versions of a common theme: “The Good of the Hive.” In particular, these murals will include a total of 50,000 hand-painted honeybees!

Willey was motivated by a brief encounter with a single honeybee a few years ago. The tiny creature was crawling slowly across his rug. “She was dying,” he says, “and for some reason, I hung out with her until she died.” This wholly unexpected spiritual connection with a bee prompted him to do a bit of research, finding that when a honeybee realizes it’s sick and could infect the hive, it immediately departs, flying away to die to protect the health of the interconnected bee family.

Bees don’t just live in a hive, they are an integral, functioning part of it. The pulsing hive itself is alive, an organic body nurtured by – and, in turn nurturing – every bee in the community. It dawned on Matt that this natural truth applies to our human communities, as well. “When we connect, we thrive,” he realized, leading him to launch “The Good of the Hive” mural project. Using art, social media, film, music, and discussions, he and a happy band of travelers will swarm into communities for several weeks each to (1) raise awareness about the unique importance (as well as some special problems) of bees; and (2) connect people to our human hive and the essential need to work for the good of all.

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To connect with Matt, the project, honeybees, and the idea of our shared community, go to www.TheGoodOfTheHive.com.

“Battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.”

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