The mission to paint 50,000 honey bees (the number in a healthy hive) on murals around the world

The Good of the Hive Initiative by art activist Matt Willey

Matt Willey is committed to personally paint 50,000 honeybees – the number necessary for a healthy, thriving hive – on murals around the world.

Through art and imagination, The Good of the Hive raises awareness about the current struggle and population decline of honeybees while celebrating their incredible behaviors.

How is it going for Matt and the 50,000 honeybees? Follow Matt Wiley’s journey on Instagram.

A note from the artist:

Creating The Good of the Hive has been the most challenging and rewarding experience of my life. I have endured 10-hour painting days in 100-degree heat, financial hardship, growing pains, creative angst, burnout, disappointment and overwhelm. But I have simultaneously experienced profound levels of beauty, spirituality, genuine human connection, laughter, purpose, and faith throughout. This is life. A bee does not set out to ‘undo’ harm when she forages. She sets out looking for the nectar… the good stuff. She sparks life along the way through pollination by following something inside her that fuels the search.

There are two things that a honey bee symbolizes that every human craves – a sense of purpose about our existence, and the hive, the connectedness to each other. I am no exception. Six years and over 8500 bees into this, I realize I have been painting bees in search of these things for myself. 

Every wall I paint is a lesson and a reminder of this truth. Each bee is an echo or ripple effect of the experience I had with one tiny bee in 2008.

I do not know exactly where this is all going. This art project is a vehicle and container to explore. Art is not planned, it unfolds. But I have learned that I am not alone in this experience. Any feeling of separation is an illusion. Like a magic trick, the connectedness often hides in plain sight, but when I look closely enough, it is always there.

Thank you to every person that has supported me in this wild idea to paint bees around the world. It means more than you know. You are helping to shape this piece of art into its perfect form. 

About The Good of the Hive Initiative:

Art activism is about sparking curiosity in order to inspire people to want (and create) change

Matt Willey: To be curious… to look closer because you want to… because it makes you feel good, hopeful and alive. Art activism is about sparking curiosity in order to inspire people to want (and create) change. Simply informing people about what is wrong helps, but it does not move mountains.

To move a mountain, you must first and foremost REALLY want to move that mountain. Then, because it is likely going to take a while, you must embrace the process of becoming who you need to be in order to move it.

Beautiful light glistening on dripping honey comb at Honey and the Hive!


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