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Bee In The City

This image is courtesy of

All other images are © Katie Calvert & Chris Cox

Bee in the City

Manchester is buzzing with artistic, eye-catching bees. On your walk to work or to the shops, round every corner, stand giant bees, adults and children swarming around taking photos, admiring the plethora of designs to be followed across the city.

Taking centre stage until 23 September, Bee in the City, features over 100 individually designed large bees and over 130 little bees.

Now, in another show of community engagement and artistic talent, the symbolic Manchester Bee has taken over the city’s streets.

But Why The Bee?

The worker bee, or Manchester bee as it is more commonly known, is symbolic to Manchester. As an industrial city, built on hard work, it is the perfect representation of the city’s history. With numerous textile mills commonplace in Manchester, these ‘hives of activity’ were filled with workers, often compared to busy bees. It was in 1842 that Manchester was given its own coat of arms, which, of course, includes the famous Bee. Since then Manchester, as bustling and busy as ever, has become well-known for its rich pop culture and artistic endeavours. Today, these symbolic Bees are everywhere, from the Town Hall to the street bins. In the face of adversity, following on from the Manchester Arena bombings, the Bee quickly came to represent unity and defiance in the face of something so horrific. Artwork of the Bee intensified and some had the Bee permanently inked onto their bodies.

So it is rather lovely that Wild in Art and Manchester City Council have brought various communities across Manchester together for this 2 month event, creating one of the most eye-catching and memorable public art events we have ever seen in the city.

Big Bees?

These have been designed by different artists and each Bee, 101 in total, is sponsored. Here’s a sneak peek (extra points if you can guess where!)

‘Dazzle Bee’ by Liz Faram, sponsored by Daylight

‘Map of the Worker Bees’ by Caroline Coates, sponsored by Marketing Manchester

‘Manchester Doodle Bee’ by Dave Draws, sponsored by Transport for Greater Manchester

‘Bling Bee’ by Jayne Ford, sponsored by Manchester Central

‘The Yellow Bee’ by Selfridges, sponsored by Selfridges Exchange Square

Little Bees?

These have been created by over 30,000 Greater Manchester school children and groups, and all 131 Bees will also be out in the city until 23 September.

(Left to Right) ‘Inmate B’ (HM Prison Manchester); ‘Bee Unique’ (Grange School); ‘Live like a Butterfly, Work like a Bee’ (Manchester Hospital School); ‘Manchester: City of Invention’ (The Manchester Grammar School); ‘Woody the Brentwood Bee’ (Brentwood High School and Community College)

All you need to do is pick up a leaflet from the Manchester Visitor Information Centre at 1 Piccadilly Gardens, M1 1RG

Or, try the official Bee in the Cityapp, available to download from the App Store and Google Play. It costs £1.99 and 25% of the profit from each app purchase is donated to the Lord Mayor of Manchester’s ‘We Love MCR’, a charity that supports young people and communities to improve the lives of Manchester people.

And whether you are taking the kids or exploring with friends, it is a fun, free way to see more of the city.

What if I can’t make it before the 23 September?

October is hosting a Farewell Weekend, on 12-14, where you can view all of the bees in one place. This is followed, on the 17 October, by an auction, where proceeds will be donated to the ‘We Love MCR’ charity.

The horror of the Manchester Arena bombing in May last year hit Manchester’s community hard, but events like this show how, through the devastation and heartache, a resurgence in pride for the city and its residents rises above all the negative. Nothing can knock Mancs down.

We Love MCR.

About Our Author: Katie Calvert's background is in fashion and textiles with a first class honours degree in Fashion Communication and Promotion and experience in trend, PR and events. She decided to take the plunge back into education in 2015 to complete a Master of Arts in Multimedia Journalism. Using these newfound skills and her love of fashion and culture, Katie has been freelance writing for over a year.

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