The Wright Center for Patient & Community Engagement brings ‘The Good of the Hive’ mural project to Scranton
Artist Matt Willey of The Good of the Hive painted the mural, ‘The Bees’ Struggle to Survive,’ at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Wright Center for Community Health is sponsoring one of his trademark murals in downtown Scranton.
The Wright Center for Patient & Community Engagement is bringing “The Good of the Hive,” a global mural project by artist Matt Willey that raises awareness about the importance of pollinators, to downtown Scranton as part of Scranton Tomorrow’s Mural Arts Program. The month-long project is scheduled to begin the week of Sunday, Aug. 14.
Academic sponsor, Lackawanna College, will also host a lecture by the artist on Friday, Sept. 2 at 6 p.m. at the institution’s theater, 501 Vine St., Scranton. Seating for the free event is on a first-come, first-served basis.
The mural, on the side of the Civic Ballet Theater Building, 234 Mifflin Ave., will bring the artist closer to his personal commitment of hand-painting 50,000 honeybees — the number of bees in a healthy, thriving hive — in murals around the world.
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“We are both excited and honored to be the premier sponsor of this unique mural project in Scranton,” 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. “We hope it will inspire the community to think collectively, in the same way honeybees do. The health of the honeybees is predicated on the health of the hive, not an individual bee.
“It’s the perfect metaphor for the COVID-19 pandemic: The health of the community is based on the behaviors and health of us all, not just one individual,” she added.
Willey’s mission is to ignite 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,” he 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 more than 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.
The artist has collaborated with the World Council of Peoples for the United Nations (WCPUN) and New York City’s Art in the Parks Public Art Program. He has painted his murals at schools across the country and in the United Kingdom. In October of 2021, his art was displayed at the American Embassy in Beijing, China.
Willey has shared the stories of “The Good of the Hive” through speaking engagements at the United Nations, the Food and Agriculture Organization, and 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 United States.
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.
Good of the Hive artist Matt Willey will deliver a lecture at Lackawanna College, in collaboration with The Wright Center for Community, on Friday, Sept. 2 at 6 p.m. He will also paint his trademark bee-themed mural on the side of the Civic Theater Building, 234 Mifflin Ave., in downtown Scranton. The mural will take about one month to paint.
The Wright Center for Patient & Community Engagement’s mission is to improve the health and welfare of the community through education, advocacy and patient-centered services and efforts directed toward the social and economic determinants of health. Its 18-member board, comprised of Wright Center for Community Health patients and area professionals, helps the region’s less fortunate, including those experiencing homelessness, poverty, food insecurity, social isolation and other hardships.
For more information about The Wright Centers for Patient & Community Engagement, go to TheWrightCenter.org.