Busy bees: Artists to create sculptures for public art project

  • Rachael Katz stands with Beatrice, the original bee sculpture of the public art project. Contributed photo/ANJA SCHUTZ  

Staff Writer
Published: 9/23/2019 11:10:06 PM

GREENFIELD — It won’t be long before six fiberglass bee sculptures find new homes in Greenfield.

Linda McInerney, who has been coordinating the project with lead artist Rachael Katz, owner of The Greenfield Gallery and Studio Seven, said the city is about to engage in the largest public art project in its history. It will be carried out by the Crossroads Cultural District, Progress Partnership and a grant from Greenfield Savings Bank.

McInerney said Katz has worked for more than a year to create a giant bee sculpture named Beatrice. Her sculpture, the lead sculpture, was first revealed during Bee Fest this past spring.

Greenfield Savings Bank President John Howland will transport Katz’s original sculpture to CowPainters in Chicago, which specializes in creating fiberglass reproductions for town and city projects like this one. When the six other bees arrive back in Greenfield, the fiberglass forms will be painted by commissioned local artists, who were chosen during a recent competition.

Sarah Adam will create Honey Glow; Lauri Bond will create Celtic Bee; Mary Chicoine will create Poem Bee; Andrew Easton will create Steampunk Bee; Robert Markey will create Butterfly Bee; and Colleen Seamon will create Bee Assured. When the artists finish their work, the bees will be attached to bases and the city’s Department of Public Works will place them in “strategic” spots throughout the downtown, McInerney said.

Katz said she came up with the idea because she wanted to create something that everyone in Greenfield could enjoy, so she built a three-dimensional computer model bee and painted it.

“I wanted to do something to coordinate with the Bee Fest,” she said.

Katz said she envisioned it going beyond that, and now it will. “We’ve got a bee crosswalk, a bee pocket park at the parking garage entrance and a Bee Fest,” Katz said. “This just adds to that, and I think many of us would love to see Greenfield be known as ‘Bee Town’ someday.”

Katz said bees are such an important part of agriculture, and agriculture is much of the area’s identity.

“I hope these bees bring us all together, just like they do with each other,” she said.

The project was helped by a Cultural District Committee grant of $5,000, which started the process. That was followed by a matching grant of $10,000 from Greenfield Savings Bank. The remaining costs will be covered by sponsorships and crowdfunding, McInerney said.

She said businesses interested in sponsoring a bee sculpture will have their names installed on a plaque at the base of the sculpture they sponsor.

The sculptures will be revealed during next spring’s Bee Fest, the annual tribute to the Rev. Lorenzo Langstroth (the father of American beekeeping), on May 23. They will remain on display permanently.

McInerney said it will be the first citywide attempt to promote and brand downtown Greenfield with the iconic bee image, which reflects the unique heritage and distinct city personality. The goal will be to draw tourists, to educate the community about local history, and to generate community pride.

The crowdfunding site can be found at: bit.ly/2lI9vIT. As of Monday at 6 p.m., $930 had been raised toward the $10,000 goal. For more information, email McInerney at: lmciner@gmail.com.

Reach Anita Fritz at
413-772-0261, ext. 269 or afritz@recorder.com.

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