‘The Good of the Hive’ artist master class, lecture and mural unveiling dates set
As members of Scranton Tomorrow’s Mural Arts Committee and their partners prepare to unveil the latest in a series of public art works in downtown Scranton, two upcoming events will showcase the message behind Matthew Willey’s “The Good of the Hive” mural: A master class and lecture with the artist on Oct. 14 and a mural dedication at First Friday on Nov. 4.
Willey is installing “The Good of the Hive” mural on the Scranton City Ballet Company building, Rear 234 Mifflin Ave., Scranton. A project of Scranton Tomorrow, presented by The Wright Center for Patient & Community Engagement, “The Good of the Hive” is made possible with support from community sponsors, including the Lackawanna County Commissioners, Lackawanna Heritage Valley, The University of Scranton, Space Time Mead and Cider Works, Terrana Law Firm, and Lackawanna College.
‘The Good of the Hive’ artist Matt Willey will deliver a master class and lecture at Lackawanna College, in collaboration with The Wright Center for Patient & Community Engagement, on Friday, Oct. 14 at 6 p.m. He will also unveil his trademark bee-themed mural on the Scranton Civic Ballet Company building, 234 Mifflin Ave., in downtown Scranton on Friday, Nov. 4 at 5:30 p.m
Willey is a world-renowned muralist who is raising awareness about the importance of pollinators through his art. He’s been painting the bee-themed mural in Scranton since late August, and the piece will be complete at the end of October. The project brings him closer to achieving his personal commitment to hand-paint 50,000 honeybees — the number of bees in a healthy, thriving hive — in murals around the world.
“Matthew’s work is much more than an inspiring mural,” said Rose Randazzo, chairperson of Scranton Tomorrow’s Mural Arts program. “It’s a movement. Scranton is now connected to a global initiative to save the bees through public mural art.”
As a gift to the community, Willey will present a master class and lecture, “The Good of the Hive” on Friday, Oct. 14, at 6 p.m., at Lackawanna College, 501 Vine Street, Scranton. The event is free and open to the public. Seating is first-come, first-served. Lackawanna College is the academic sponsor of this event.
“We are honored to be the premier sponsor of this unique mural project that will be on display in our city for years to come,” said Kara Seitzinger, director of public affairs and advisor liaison to the president and CEO of The Wright Centers for Community Health and Graduate Medical Education. “Matt’s work is inspiring communities around the world to think collectively, in the same way that honeybees do. The health of a honeybee hive is the perfect metaphor for the health of a community.
“We encourage the community to attend his lecture to hear his fascinating story and insights,” she added.
The completed mural will be unveiled at a dedication ceremony at the Scranton Civic Ballet Company building, Rear 234 Mifflin Ave., on Friday, Nov. 4, at 5:00 p.m. Everyone in the community is invited to the celebration.
Willey has shared the stories of “The Good of the Hive” through speaking engagements around the world, at the United Nations, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the German and French Embassies in Washington, D.C., Smithsonian’s National Zoo, Duke University, Georgetown University, the Planetary Health Alliance 2018 annual meeting in Scotland, many podcasts, including the National Education Association, and educational institutions throughout the U.S.
His work has been featured in The New York Times, Reuters London, The Today Show, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, and countless other publications and media channels.
Willey’s mission is to ignite radical curiosity and active engagement around planetary health issues through art, bees and storytelling. His vision is a world filled with people that see and experience the beauty and connectedness of all things.
“The hive I’m creating is a metaphor for us all: no matter your color, nationality, religion, gender, age or economic status. This piece of art is an idealized picture of health to focus on as we work toward solutions,” Willey said.
The worldwide mural project demonstrates perseverance in the face of adversity. Six years into an estimated 20-year project, Willey has created 35 murals and installations with over 8,600 hand-painted bees. He has reached hundreds of thousands of people and created large-scale works at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington D.C., Dag Hammarskjold Plaza in New York City and Burt’s Bees Global Headquarters in Durham, North Carolina.
In 2021, Scranton Tomorrow launched its Mural Arts Program. Designed to transform the downtown landscape, and connect communities, murals reflect the city’s history and qualities that make Scranton unique. Featuring QR codes at each site, visitors are encouraged to use their smartphones to embark on brief, self-guided video tours to learn more about the history and theme of each piece. Through partnerships with professional artists specializing in mural art and conservation, a set of guidelines for public art projects has been developed as part of the program. To learn more, visit https://www.scrantontomorrow.org/muralart.