The Good of the Hive® was founded by artist Matthew Willey on a personal commitment to hand-paint 50,000 honeybees – the number necessary for a healthy, thriving hive – in murals around the world. The most recent addition? A swarm at the nonprofit cultural organization Bethel Woods Center for the Arts – located at the historic site of the 1969 Woodstock festival.
Honey bees are hard-wired to understand that their immune system is collective: their health is based on the wellness of the hive and not the individual bee. But Willey’s bees are a symbol for all living things: humans, trees, animals, pollinators, water, soil, and everything in between. Bethel Woods is a hive in its own right: a gathering place for creative experiences and shared expression, anchored in the legacy of the 1969 Woodstock festival – where hundreds of thousands of people peacefully gathered, demonstrating the power of peace and love. Through creative arts programming, Bethel Woods looks to enrich the lives of participants – pushing towards emotional wellness, critical thinking, and community building.
Willey’s installation is a welcomed addition to the historic site as the Center also celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day. Bethel Woods is commemorating with photo installation Earth in Focus. The grounds will be adorned with large-scale photographs featuring the work from photographers around the world. Juxtaposed with the scenic campus, Earth in Focus will highlight the intersection of Earth Day’s origin and the movements of the ‘60s.