You’ll ‘bee’ surprised

  • Apiarist Jodi Turner uses a pointer to show where the queen of the hive is moving among the worker bees. COURTESY TRISH CRAPO

  • Exploded View members, from left to right, Nina Rossi, Edite Cunhã, Candace Curran, Samantha Wood, Trish Crapo. COURTESY JULIAN PARKER-BURNS​​

  • These bees are among the sculptural forms in Exploded View’s “HIVE” installation. COURTESY SAMANTHA WOOD

  • The hands of Exploded View members Candace Curran and Nina Rossi show their effort while working on the HIVE installation. COURTESY SAMANTHA WOOD

  • Apiarist Jodi Turner and Exploded View member Trish Crapo secure veils to protect against bee stings. COURTESY SAMANTHA WOOD

Staff Writer
Published: 5/28/2019 5:16:11 PM

GREENFIELD — What happens when you combine five artists, the upcoming Langstroth Bee Festival in downtown Greenfield and a plethora of ideas? You get “HIVE,” a multimedia installation by Exploded View.

Trish Crapo, Samantha Wood, Edite Cunha, Nina Rossi and Candace Curran will present a show that includes video, audio, a hive demonstration, an exhibition, an artists’ talk and more on Friday, May 31, and Saturday, June 1, in the Pushkin Gallery on the corner of Main and Federal streets.

The five women who make up Exploded View have been preparing for the past several months, but this time they’re not performing.

“We’re like curators of this one,” Crapo said.

The group said they’ll use the entire Pushkin building and have a multimedia room, “queen” room, a “sting” room, an art exhibit of large-scale floral paintings by Alison Williams of Turners Falls and Susan Valentine of North Leverett — all centered around bees.

“There will be lots of stuff to look at, and it will be cool and interactive,” Cunha said. “It will be a real photo op for those who are interested.”

Cunha said people will walk through the building viewing different installations like they would in a museum or gallery. Except for the beehive demonstration, which is enclosed, there won’t be any live bees.

Crapo said the owners of the Pushkin, who also own Hawks and Reed Performing Arts Center, approached Exploded View several months ago and asked if its members wanted to do something to coincide with Bee Fest.

“It was a no-brainer,” Crapo said.

“We didn’t hesitate on this one,” Cunha said. “We got really excited about it and just jumped in.”

So, the five women met, brainstormed and set out to learn more about bees. They read, talked to beekeepers, talked with Bee Fest organizers and immersed themselves into beginner beekeeping. But that didn’t come without a couple of stings along the way, Crapo said.

“It was somewhat of a different process for us this time, though,” Crapo said. “Typically, we choose what we want to do and already each have an idea of how we’ll approach it. Then, we perform it. That’s not happening this time.”

Wood said Exploded View doesn’t want to reveal a lot about the installations, because they want people to come and be surprised.

“I think people are really going to enjoy this,” Wood said, who said it’s not an educational installation, rather an “artistic interpretation” of what they all learned about bees.

“We gathered a lot of material,” Wood said. “The more we learned, the weirder we realized bees are — we did do some scientific study, then ran it through our imaginations.”

Crapo photographed a lot of bees.

“I spent a ton of time with them, and now I’m completely fascinated,” she said.

Wood said she learned to temper her response around bees. She said you can’t be afraid of them.

The women said they don’t anthropomorphize bees any more. Instead of trying to bring bees into the human world, they tried to understand their world. They said they also learned just how important they are to the environment.

Crapo said on one of her rides home from New Hampshire after visiting an apiary there, she noticed a bee had hitched a ride on her leg as she was driving.

“I didn’t want to get stung, so I pulled over, got out of the car and let it fly,” Crapo said. “Then, I started to feel bad and worry that it had lost its hive, its colony. But, later I learned bees can find their way back from up to 50 miles. It’s amazing what they can do.”

Exploded View will hold a reception with cash bar on Friday, May 31, 6 to 8 p.m. On Saturday, June 1, the five women will hold an artists’ talk with a question and answer period at 1 p.m. The group will ask for donations to cover the cost of the event.

The 10th annual Langstroth Bee Festival will be held Friday, May 31, and Saturday, June 1 in downtown Greenfield, mostly on the Town Common and in front of the Second Congregational Church, though businesses throughout town will also participate.

You can reach Anita Fritz at: afritz@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 269.


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