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Bees and honeycombs chosen for downtown Greenfield crosswalk

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The bees and honeycomb design by Rebecca Rasbury has been chosen to grace the crosswalk between the Arts Block and the Town Common in Greenfield.

submitted image The bees and honeycomb design by Rebecca Rasbury has been chosen to grace the crosswalk between the Arts Block and the Town Common in Greenfield.

GREENFIELD — When the Paint the Town Green Committee began looking for an artist to create a crosswalk between the Arts Block and the Town Common, it was hoping the artist would capture the spirit of Greenfield, but wasn’t sure itself what that meant.

“We knew as soon as we saw it, though,” said Sandra Boston, a member of the committee that chose 43-year-old Rebecca “Reba” Rasbury’s design of bees swarming around honeycombs.

“It was unanimous,” said Boston, who chose the design with Becca King, Elise Schleidjker, Karen Shapiro Miller and Marcy Gregory. “It reminded us of the Yellow Brick Road.”

Boston said the committee’s choice is fitting, because the crosswalk is just feet from Greenfield Farmers Market, and because the Second Congregational Church, which sits just yards from the crosswalk, has a plaque in front recognizing the man who invented beehives.

“The church puts on a ‘bee day’ every year,” she said. “It just all fit so nicely.”

Boston said Rasbury’s design showed “the true hand of an artist.” She said there were six submissions, which all were lovely, but the bees and honeycombs spoke the loudest to committee members.

“For instance, one submission was of tools and products made in Greenfield throughout the years, which were then mounted on top of railroad tracks,” said Boston. “It was beautifully done, but there was too much detail for a crosswalk painting.”

Boston said the committee is looking at other crosswalks that might be fit for painting, but said it is also looking for spaces where people might be able to paint murals.

“The tool painting would make a great mural,” she said.

Boston said Rasbury, a Greenfield resident and tattoo artist, will receive a $750 award and will oversee the painting of the crosswalk. She said volunteers, including local children, will do a lot of the painting.

“Rebecca will be the art director,” she said.

Boston said because it is the first artistic crosswalk in Greenfield, it will be a “learning curve for everyone.”

“The design is simple enough, so we should be able to get it done easily,” said Boston.

She said Sherwin Williams has donated the paint and a grant from Greenfield Local Cultural Council will pay for the monetary award to Rasbury.

Boston said she and the committee were inspired by the crosswalk painted in Turners Falls, which spans Avenue A at Third Street.

“It will eventually disappear like the one in Turners is doing,” she said. “We will probably touch it up for a few years, but we won’t be able to stop it completely. We’ll just have to take delight in it while it lasts.”

“Public art makes a community more attractive and lively,” said Shapiro Miller. The crosswalk is 36 feet across and 6 to 8 feet wide and spans Court Square along Main Street.

Rasbury said Friday that she is honored to have been chosen as the artist who will design the crosswalk.

“I’m very concerned about colony collapse disorder,” said Rasbury. “Bees are disappearing and that’s a tragedy.”

Rasbury said she hopes the crosswalk, when finished, will remind people that they have to take care of the earth and all of the creatures on it.

For information about the project or to volunteer, call Boston at 413-774-5952 or visit: www.publicartgreenfield.wordpress.com.

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