Over one hundred giant worker bee sculptures, each decorated with a bespoke design, will make Manchester their home for nine weeks from today in what promises to be one of the city’s biggest and most spectacular public art events.
The Bee in the City trail covers various locations around the city and will bring free, family-friendly entertainment for Mancunians and visitors alike.
Iconic Mancunian designs include a Rock ’n’ Roll Bee designed in partnership with Liam Gallagher, a Hac’BEE’enda Bee celebrating the city’s legendary nightclub, a bee honouring one of Coronation Street’s most iconic characters, Hilda Bugden, plus football tributes to Manchester’s famous clubs Bee United and Mike Summer-Bee.
Showcasing Manchester’s love for music are Bee Live in MCR signed by A-listers the Rolling Stones, Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift, I Wanna Bee Adored signed by the Stone Roses’ bassist Gary ‘Mani’ Mounfield, plus Bee Here Now, a design with portraits ranging from Oasis and Joy Division to Herman’s Hermits.
The city’s creative community has of course contributed to the trail as well and art fans will be treated to a tribute to Pablo Picasso’s stylised work, Pablo Bee-Casso by Jenny Leonard, a hand-drawn Manchester Doodle Bee by Dave Draws, Harpurbee by illustrator Guy Mckinley, and Love by stand-out Manchester designer and illustrator, Caroline Dowsett.
Manchester’s historical identity is represented throughout the trail with Lock Keeper’s Bee by Adam Pryce, Industrious by Tim Sutcliffe, and Kim Hubball’s My Heart Belongs in this Place, which takes inspiration from Manchester’s dynamism, resilience and optimism.
The event has been organised by global public art producer Wild in Art in partnership with Manchester City Council and the bee sculptures will make their homes at some of the city’s most famous locations including Albert Square, St Peter’s Square, Piccadilly Gardens, Spinningfields, and the Northern Quarter, plus further afield in The Quays, Levenshulme, Harpurhey and more.
“Bee in the City is a celebration of Manchester’s diversity, creativity and culture,” said Sally-Ann Wilkinson, Director of Wild in Art.
“Each individual bee represents our fantastic city’s many achievements, from its legendary music scene to scientific discoveries and industrial heritage.
“Manchester is such a unique city in many ways, and one of those is its ability to bring people together. Different sectors have collaborated to create this fabulous event, including the public and private sectors, schools and community groups. As well as a celebration of creativity, the trail is also a celebration of unity,” she added.
The bee trail will also include 131 little sculptures, designed by children from 121 schools and youth groups, that can already be seen in city centre venues including Central Library, Manchester Cathedral, the National Football Museum and The Royal Exchange Theatre.
A Bee in the City app will be available for visitors to track and collect each bee on the trail, unlocking offers and rewards at many locations.
After 23rd September, the trail of big 3D bee sculptures will be auctioned to raise funds for The Lord Mayor of Manchester’s charity – We Love MCR Charity.