Final designs selected for Bee in the City’s public art trail across Manchester

On Monday 9 April, the final designs were chosen for Bee in the City. Hundreds of regional and national artists have submitted their unique designs hoping to see their work adorn the giant Bee sculptures that will be part of a city-wide public art trail this summer.

Businesses and organisations sponsoring the public art trail faced the very difficult task of choosing a design for their own personal Bee from the 180 which have been shortlisted. A private gallery view was held at Etc. Venues in Manchester where the artwork was revealed to the companies for the very first time.

On arrival, the sponsors were given a sticker and an instruction to browse the room. Once they had spotted their desired design they placed the sticker upon it before anyone else… they needed to Bee quick as the race was on to claim their favourite!

There to help them on the night was a team of art curators guiding the sponsors with their selection, giving them information about both the artist and their work.

The designs will Bee a real ode to the city and its wide ranging passions with artists and designers submitting work of starkly varying styles encompassing fine art to illustration, graffiti to mosaic with names such as ‘USBee’, ‘Buzzwig van Bee-thoven’, ‘Hive Talkin’’ and ‘To Bee or not to Bee?’ and taking in music, football, iconic figures, pop culture and synonymous television programmes amongst many many more.

Over 80 Bees will be created as part of Bee in the City and they will be ready for public view in the summer when the art trail launches at a number of central Manchester locations. Sally-Ann Wilkinson Director of Wild in Art, the curators behind the exciting art project, said:

“We have had an overwhelming response from artists who want to get involved with Bee in the City. The level of talent in the designs submitted has been really impressive and we were extremely excited to reveal the shortlist to our sponsors. There was a real buzz in the air as they made their final decisions.”

The bee emblem has been part of Manchester’s heraldry for over 150 years and is synonymous with the hard-working people of the city, their social cohesion and sense of community; and the city’s pioneering and creatively industrious spirit – pollinating progress and renewal.

The public art trail will run for 9 weeks after which the sponsored Bee sculptures will be auctioned off to raise funds for The Lord Mayor of Manchester’s Charity – We Love MCR, to improve the lives and live chances of Manchester people. There will be a further 15 Bees created by community groups working collaboratively with artists and arts organisations. These will remain within the communities that help create them to serve as a legacy.

There’s still time for businesses to sponsor a Bee and organisers are urging those who are interested to get in touch as soon as possible to secure their involvement and maximise their return on investment.

Bee in the City is produced by Wild in Art in partnership with Manchester City Council, bringing all Manchester’s communities together to create the exhibition, and includes an inspirational learning project to give children and young people the chance to take part.

Cover photo: David Oates Photography