Manchester has been abuzz with excitement this month with art, charity and community colliding as part of this summer’s Bee in the City project.
Over 180 giant bee sculptures have descended on the city centre as part of this summer’s #Beeinthecity trail, with Mancs from all over the county (and further afield) making the pilgrimage in to see them and tick each unique design off their lists.
If you’re on a mission to catch them all, a great place to start is First Street. A short walk from the Deansgate Castlefield tram stop, the First Street neighbourhood is packed with a mixture of giant bees designed by local artists and smaller community bees created by local youngsters from St Mary’s R C Primary School and Wellacre Academy.
What’s more, several of the First Street venues are offering generous extra discounts throughout the duration of Bee in the City – and they’re well worth taking advantage of.
Head over to Masterchef winner Simon Wood’s restaurant to sip on limited edition bee cocktails whilst the sun’s still shining and enjoy some al fresco dining, with 25% off his AA Rosette-winning food available all day from Tuesday to Thursday.
There’s 10% off everything in store at Starbucks and 20% off food and drink at Innside, including items from their street food pop-up Street on First.
Last but certainly not least, you can bag yourself a 15% saving on parking at Q-Park when you book online quoting “BEE15”.
Now, let’s talk about the bees.
“Sting” – by Wellacre Academy
Find it at: HOME
Wellacre Academy’s students wanted their bee to encapsulate the spirit of Manchester and the values of their school. They were inspired by the city’s rich culture from music and lifestyle to football. Located inside HOME, the bee is colourful and vibrant to represent the diversity of the school, and also references the school’s Eco Centre.
Eye of the Beeholder – by Cundall Light4
Find it: James Grigor Square, First Street
Designed collaboratively by award-winning Manchester lighting design company Cundall Light4, Eye of the Beeholder is a somewhat ominous design: intended to make you think about the declining quality of our world and the missing link in our chain of existence.
A view of the world from the bee’s perspective comes in the form of blue-hues and ultra-violet. Processing colours and light into the blue spectrum gives us an insight into the world through their eyes.
Within the eyes of this bee you can also see a reflection of yourself, because you are Manchester. Sponsored by Manchester-based Lighting company Whitecroft Lighting, it is a striking installation. There’s even an Instagram account for Mancs to follow the Beeholder’s journey on Instagram, so get following to stay in the loop.
Bee-Bop-A-Raver – by Caroline Daly
Find it in: Tony Wilson Place
Created by artist Caroline Daly, this bee gives a nod to First Street’s close proximity to the original Hacienda nightclub as well as reminding us all (as if we could forget) how much Manchester loves a good party.
Harking back to the rave scene of the 80s and 90s, which had an undeniable impact on Manchester as well as the world beyond, the use of fluorescent colours reference the iconic neon fashions popularised within the era’s clubbing culture.
The bee is sponsored by Manchester based property development Ask Real Estate, who are leading on the continued expansion of the vibrant First Street neighbourhood together with the Richardson family and PATRICIA UK.
Bee Here Now – by Joseph Venning
Find it at INNSIDE, First Street
Designed by Joseph Venning for Innside hotel, this is another bee that recalls legendary musicians born and bred in Manchester, from the likes of 60’s group Herman’s Hermits to Oasis, Joy Division and Cleopatra.
Painted in a pop-art style, with black and yellow stripes referencing the Hacienda nightclub (as well as the colours of the bee itself), head on down to see how many local stars you can spot.
“Our Community” – by St Mary’s R C Primary school
Find it at: HOME
Every pupil at St Mary’s RC Primary School was asked to complete a bee design which reflected the diversity of school or their welcoming community. 16 winners were chosen and these designs were incorporated into the final Bee design, which was then painted by the winners.
Find their community bee in HOME in all its glory.