Madeleine Ingleton from Pipers Corner School, Buckinghamshire in the UK contacted American mural artist Matthew Willey while researching an art project, leading to a visit and original piece of art being created on the school grounds.
Matthew Willey founded ‘The Good of the Hive’ project, a commitment to paint bees around the world in order to raise awareness about the declining number of honeybees. He has previously discussed this project at the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations in Washington DC, Smithsonian’s National Zoo, Burt’s Bees Global Headquarters and at the Planetary Health Alliance Annual Meeting. His work has been featured in the likes of The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Veranda Magazine.
This project inspired Madeleine, who keeps bees at home, and contacted Matthew directly to find out more about his work and activism for her GCSE in Art. This conversation led to Matthew visiting Pipers Corner School this month and painting a permanent outdoor bee mural, his first project in the UK. Madeline said,
“I sent Matt an email about his amazing art but did not realise this would lead to him spending five weeks here, creating the most incredible project I've ever been a part of. He has started conversations, inspired others, and spread awareness, all by the power of art activism."
The mission of Matthew’s global project is to ignite radical curiosity for planetary health issues through art and storytelling. The bee and hive are the artist’s symbols, but its message is about activating and celebrating the power in human connection. As well as inspiring change, Matthew leaves the school and its community with a lasting showcase of his amazing talent and ongoing dedication to the environment.
Helen Ness-Gifford, Pipers Corner School Headmistress, said,
“It has been fantastic for the students to get to know Matt and to learn all about his project which links Pipers to his other murals across the US; and of course to understand why bees, and being connected, both matter so much. It has been wonderful to watch the creation of a work of art develop in front of us, from the first strokes on a bare wall to the beauty and magnificence of the final complete mural. We have watched the project grow and in doing so it has become a part of us and the school. We could not feel prouder or more privileged to display this work of art and what it stands for at the centre of our school.”
Beyond this latest mural project, Pipers Corner School is also in the process of creating a large British wildflower meadow in its grounds, to further encourage the bee population. It is also the first school in England to have an Environmentalist-in-Residence, as it strives to become a Centre of Excellence for Sustainability.
Further information please visit www.piperscorner.co.uk.