Bee Central: A Community Art Project in Kelowna, BC
Brent’s Grist Mill Heritage Site – June – September 2015
Bee Central is part of a larger plan to introduce and stimulate a ‘buzz’ about bees and the Brent’s Mill Heritage Park, particularly to attract a diverse community to help with the planting, building and maintaining of a Public Art Pollinator Pasture in Kelowna. Bee Central was partly made possible by a Community Public Art Grant from The City of Kelowna.
In response to rising global concerns around bees, pollinators, biodiversity and sustainable food practices, UBC Okanagan’s Eco Art Incubator produced its latest project: Bee Central: A Community Art Pollinator Project.
From June through September 2015, Bee Central hosted four bee-centered art events. Each was held on Brent’s Grist Mill Heritage site at the bottom of Dilworth Mountain along Mill Creek Linear Park in Kelowna, BC. They were free of charge, family-friendly, and open to the public.
Each of these family-focused art events, hosted by individual artists, were meant to engage the public in community discussions regarding pollination and the plight of bees. Rhonda Neufeld created a swarm of active paper bees, UBC Okanagan professor Samuel Roy-Bois built a community sculpture, UBC Okanagan student S. Megan Hunter presented a performance Murmurations, and local eco artist Lori Mairs led community mason bee home building. To see pictures from the events look below.
A Swarm in June, Rhonda Neufeld
Armstrong artist Rhonda Neufeld, with her creative passion for bee swarming, helped community members build take-home bees out of recyclable materials: paper, sticks, and a straw. Dance the bee dances!
Small World, Samuel Roy-Bois
This afternoon was about building a family-friendly community sculpture, focusing on the metaphor of nodes, connections, and networks. Inspired by the beauty and complexity of the beehive, Samuel helped to guide the participants in building a beautiful three dimensional structure.
Murmurations, Sarah Megan Hunter
This live, interactive community performance piece was inspired by the special movements bees make, early movements people make, and the philosophy of Psychomagic– that through specific movements we can heal trauma, even intergenerational trauma. Participants came prepared to hum, sing, improv-dance, body talk, shake and wiggle, laugh and giggle.
Mason Bee Homes, Lori Mairs
Ecological artist Lori Mairs guided our community in building on-site mini homes for native bees, some of the future pollinators for the Pollinator Pasture Project. Participants were invited to make their own take-away mason bee homes and the event also featured a large scale model of a mason bee tube. This project was presented alongside on-site talks with the Central Okanagan Heritage Society that linked pioneer culture and agriculture related to Brent’s Grist Mill.
For more information check out the Pollinator Pasture page and the Border Free Bees website.
For more information abut UBC Okanagan Eco-Art Incubator projects or to become a volunteer, please contact Nancy Holmes here.
Gallery photos are by Rhonda Neufeld, Victoria Moore, and Linh Le.