Hive comes alive

  • The Good of the Hive mural commissioned by the Peterborough-based NH Honey Bee Initiative is well underway at the Peterborough Community Center.  Staff photo by Meghan Pierce

  • Artist and The Good of the Hive founder Matthew Willey, at his Peterborough mural currently underway, is on a mission to paint 50,000 honey bees in murals around the globe to raise awareness of the plight of the honey bee. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • Artist and the Good of the Hive founder Matthew Willey works on a mural in Peterborough last week.  Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 8/16/2018 9:30:45 AM

The Boston-based band Winona and the Riders are performing “A World Bees Concert” for free at the Peterborough Community Center Saturday at the site of a bee mural currently being painted by artist and The Good of the Hive founder Matthew Willey.

“These guys are great. They’re really, really fun,” Willey said about the band while taking a break from painting the mural in Peterborough last week.

“The point of the concert is not only to make a video for Winona and the Riders, but also to raise awareness of the Peterborough mural,” said Melissa Stephenson, founder of the New Hampshire Honey Bee Initiative, which commissioned Willey to come to Peterborough and create the mural.

Willey is a man on a mission. Through his organization The Good of the Hive he has set out to paint 50,000 honeybees – the equivalent of a honeybee hive – in murals around the world.

“I fell in love with bees and I’m flowing with my artwork around it to create a connection because I think that’s what’s going to solve it,” Willey said.

He only plans to paint a couple hundred honeybees in the mural on the side of the Peterborough Community Center this month, he said.

“The idea is it takes 15 to 20 years,” Willey said, a timeline that follows “the arch of healing this issue of pollination, which is deeply linked to our food system. The way I look at it is there’s this opportunity we are being given to heal this issue of pollination. And by healing that issue of pollination I think we can heal the disconnection between the human species. Because pollination, water system issues, these bigger conservation issues do not give a rat’s ass about a border we put in the sand because we decided you are different than me. All of these things transcend.”

Willey said his work ranges from painting murals to creating community building events to encouraging people to landscape for bees.

“Let the dandelions grow,” Willey said. “What’s wrong with a little burst of yellow in your yard? And you can actually manage it and have groupings of dandelions in your yard.”

The concert starts on Saturday at 7 p.m. and will be filmed.

“We’re doing a concert-style music video for four songs,” Willey said. “We’re going to do a full concert, but we’re going to run through four songs twice. … Because we’re filming, and getting a drone shot is not easy in one take. We’re tying to make an interesting 16-minute video about the bees and bringing music and community together.”

Stephenson recently founded the NH Honey Bee Initiative with Kin Schilling of Hancock. Like The Good of the Hive, the NH Honey Bee Initiative is aimed at raising awareness around the plight of the honeybee.

Honeybee colonies are facing extinction from a host of threats including pesticides, loss of habitat, climate change, invasive plants and parasites.

Stephenson said Wednesday the initiative is close to raising the $20,000 for the mural. An online campaign with Local Crowd Monadnock in July raised more than $16,000 of the $20,000.

The online campaign has closed, Stephenson said, but people can still give to the mural by mailing a check made out to The New Hampshire Honey Bee Initiative to PO Box 3, Peterborough, NH 03458. You can also make a pledge by emailing nhbeemural@gmail.com.

Editor’s note: the print edition of this story published in th e Monadnock Ledger-Transcript on Aug. 16  said beer would be served at  the event, but due to licensing iss ues no beer will be served. 


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