From van Gogh to Monet to O’Keeffe, nature and our natural environment have been an ongoing inspiration for artists throughout time. In collaboration with Southwest Honey Co., six Fort Wayne artists felt inspired to utilize their creative talents to paint beehives to benefit pollinators and pollinator education to be showcased during National Pollinator Week (June 18 – 24). As awareness of pollinators is a key element to assist pollinator populations, the hives will be used to help educate the community about declining pollinator populations, why pollinators are important, as well as what the average person can do to help.
Recently known for large public murals, live painting during Philharmonic performances, environmentalism, feminism and other notable accomplishments, each artist is actively involved in the Fort Wayne community in a large capacity, and so it is fitting that they would volunteer their talents to highlight such a worthy cause. These well-known local artists include Jerrod Tobias (Tobias Studios), Theoplis Smith (Phresh Laundry), Frank Louis Allen, Alexandra Hall, Alyssa Deck, and Lissa Brown (Tiny Clementine).
“Pollinators play such a large part in our agriculture and natural environment. We are thrilled to work with these distinguished artists to bridge the connection between local art, culture and pollinators.” Megan Ryan, Education Director of Southwest Honey Co.
Beginning Saturday, June 16, the six hives will be exhibited at the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory (1100 S Calhoun St, Fort Wayne, IN 46802). The public is invited to view the hives during their hours of operation (Tues-Sat. 10am-5pm, Sun. Noon-4pm). Each hive will be adorned with the artist’s biography, contact information and information about the project.
As a fundraiser, the hives are also available to be ‘adopted’ by the public on Southwest Honey Co.’s website ( https://southwesthoney.com/adopt ). Eventually, each hive will be a home for honey bees in one of Southwest Honey Co.’s sustainable apiaries located on organic farms or naturally preserved lands. The adopter will receive sweet perks from Southwest Honey Co. including a personal beekeeping experience, seasonal updates of what the bees are up to and of course, honey.
“Each adopted hive supports pollinator education in Northeast Indiana. Over the past two years, we have had the opportunity to teach over 1,600 children & adults about pollinators in our community through our fun, hands-on, exploratory programs. With the support of our volunteers, we host educational events at local libraries, schools and community centers; as well as under our ‘science tent’ at The Southwest Conservation Club, which is perfect for home-school groups, scouts, 4-H clubs and more,” Ryan commented about the Adopt A Hive program.
For those looking for a more personal experience relating to pollinators and a Meet & Greet with the artists who painted the hives, the public is invited to purchase a ticket to ‘Bees & Brew At The Botanical Conservatory,’ which will be held on June 22 ( https://southwesthoney.com/product/fri-june-22-bees-brew-21/ ). This social event is a tribute to National Pollinator Week, which showcases honey-based drinks and appetizers, DIY beeswax candle making, butterfly tent tour, a beekeeping experience and more fun activities and presentations relating to pollinators.
Southwest Honey Co.
Through the support of volunteers, Southwest Honey Co. cares for over 50 hives in sustainable areas including organic farms and naturally preserved properties around Fort Wayne, Indiana. More than just beekeepers, the conservation organization is dedicated to creating sustainable habitats for pollinators, promoting awareness of their population decline and educating the public on ways they can help through pollinator education programs in the community. Renowned for their unique pollinator educational programs for children and adults, the organization has been featured in over 45 local and national media outlets over the past 2 years. Southwest Honey Co.’s efforts are funded through the support of corporate sponsorships, private donations and customer purchases of their locally made products. More: https://southwesthoney.com/