The Good of the Hive

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

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Artist Matt Willey’s final day in Laguna working on his mural “The Good of the Hive” on the Laguna Beach Water District Building. According to Willey, “it’s a global art project generating radical curiosity, connection and change…one pollinator at a time.”

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Before becoming obsessed with bees, Willey had a successful career painting murals in sports arenas and for private clients. He now has murals from California to New York, on the American Embassy in Beijing and on Burt’s Bees corporate headquarters.

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Finished mural – Willey’s vision is to paint murals worldwide featuring 50,000 honeybees – the number of bees often found in a healthy, living hive. His art graces the entrance to the Smithsonian Zoo’s Great Ape House and is found on the walls of schools, libraries and even a post office.

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The goal of “The Good of the Hive” extends beyond bringing awareness about the plight of bees, which are suffering from colony collapse disorder, but also to encourage people to learn from the bees

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Paver stones with messages for visitors to ponder

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Thanks to a random encounter between Willey and a honeybee in 2008, anyone passing along the Water District Building on Third Street will be reminded of the connectiveness of bees

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In 2008, Willey discovered that a sick bee would fly off and die alone rather than bring disease into the hive, and how collective thinking overshadows all their actions

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Willey is now off to add to his goal of hand painting 50,000 bees. He has stated that his work is an echo of an experience he had with a bee that changed the paradigm of how he sees the world around him.

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Stop by the Laguna Beach Water District Building at 306 Third St. to visit Willey’s incredible mural. For more information on “The Good of the Hive,” go to www.thegoodofthehive.com.


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