What is Bee in the City?

Bee in the City is a large scale public sculpture trail taking place all over Manchester this summer. It will be one of the most spectacular public art events to take place in the city.

Over 100 giant Bee and 130 medium Bee sculptures are waiting to be discovered on this free, family-fun trail, taking in the city’s landmarks and undiscovered gems. Each Bee has been designed by a different artist and celebrates the unique buzz of Manchester, from its industrial heritage to its vibrant music scene. An inspirational learning project will give schools, colleges and community groups the chance to take part and design their own medium sized Bee.

When and where will it take place?

The event is taking place in Manchester for nine weeks from 23 July – 23 September 2018.

The sculpture trail will cover the City Centre and will also reach into Manchester City Council’s wards, ensuring that sculpture locations are easily accessible to everyone. We’re currently finalising the trail, so expect more info about the locations soon! A trail map and app will be produced to help people navigate around the trail.

Is Bee in the City a memorial event following the Manchester Arena terror attack?

Bee in the City is not a memorial or commemoration event.

The bee emblem took on extra resonance in the aftermath of the Arena attack last year when it was widely used as a symbol of the city’s solidarity and resilience. Whilst Bee in the City is not part of the commemorative programme around the 22 May, it takes place in this enduring spirit and recognises the extra poignancy of the bee symbol.

Is it a fundraising event?

Bee in the City is raising funds for The Lord Mayor of Manchester’s We Love MCR Charity (The Lord Mayor of Manchester’s Charity Appeal Trust, registered charity number 1066972), which works to improve the lives and life chances of Manchester people. The We Love MCR Charity aims to support residents who are in the greatest need, helping them to reach their full potential. The charity provides support to local community groups, projects and individuals through two funds – the Community Grants Programme and the Short Breaks for All Grant Programme. Every penny raised stays in Manchester, bringing positive benefits to communities throughout the city.

Please note: The We Love MCR Charity should not be confused with the similarly named We Love Manchester Emergency Fund, which was set up following the Manchester Arena terror attack to help support victims.

How many Bees are there on the trail?

There will be over 100 giant Bees decorated by professional artists and community groups, and over 130 medium sized Bees decorated by 120 schools in and around Manchester.

Why is the sculpture a bee?

The worker bee is one of the best-known symbols of Manchester. Unique to the city, it has been an iconic part of Manchester’s coat of arms since 1842 and has become synonymous with Manchester’s spirit of enterprise, resilience and industriousness.

How does the event work?

Businesses, community groups and education establishments are invited to sponsor a blank worker Bee sculpture – ‘the canvas’. These individually designed Bees will go on display through streets, parks and public spaces across Manchester, creating a stunning art trail for the public to enjoy.

Artists who are well-known, emerging and as yet undiscovered submitted unique designs to be considered for the trail. The Bee in the City team had the difficult task of shortlisting almost 400 submitted designs down to 180, and then the sponsors picked their favourites at a special art selection event back in April.

The successful artists are commissioned and paid an honorarium to customise each sculpture.

30,000 children and young people are taking part in an inspiring Learning Programme around the project. 120 schools are decorating a total of over 130 medium sized Bees which will be displayed as part of the trail. Each school Bee will be returned to the school for them to keep after the trail.

Community groups will have the opportunity to work with local artists to create their own Bee which will be displayed as part of the trail and returned to the community as a legacy of the project.

Residents and visitors will explore the trail with a printed Bee in the City map and/or the app, which will help them navigate around the city, discover new places and unlock exciting sponsor rewards.

Who is organising Bee in the City?

Wild in Art is the producer of Bee in the City. It is responsible for delivering all aspects of the event, from securing the sponsorship, running the Art and Creative Learning Programmes, the operations and logistics, event management and marketing.

The event’s aims support the overall aims of the ‘Our Manchester’ strategy, which has set a long-term vision for the city’s future.

Why is Wild in Art producing Bee in the City?

2018 marks the 10th anniversary since Wild in Art was founded, and what better way to mark this milestone than an event in the organisation’s home city? When the opportunity arose with Manchester City Council to present one of the most ambitious art events the city had ever seen, Wild in Art could not let it pass – the team felt it was more important than ever before to creatively celebrate everything that is great about Manchester.

Manchester City Council recognises the key strategic role that culture plays in the social and economic life of the city. Wild in Art is ‘buzzing’ to have the Council’s support to present a fun and innovative cultural event that makes art accessible to everybody.

Who are the lead partners?

The event is being created for Manchester by Wild in Art with support from Manchester City Council in support of The Lord Mayor of Manchester’s charity – We Love MCR Charity.

How is Bee in the City being funded?

Staging large-scale events requires a lot of upfront investment. Bee in the City has been ‘seed’ funded by Manchester City Council, with the aim of generating significant social, creative, tourism and economic impact benefits for Manchester.

Although the project received initial funding from Manchester City Council, companies in the private sector have further supported the project through sponsorship packages.

The money from the purchase of these sponsorship packages goes towards covering the cost of manufacturing the sculpture, paying the artists who decorate the sculptures, and the entire event infrastructure, operations and logistics for putting the sculptures on the streets, and all Bee in the City associated events.

Who are the sponsors?

You can find a full list of the Bee in the City sponsors here.

Who are the artists?

You can find more information about the artists here.

Will Bee in the City feature only Manchester artists?

Regional artists with a Manchester connection were encouraged to submit their design ideas. However, to ensure that the pool of designs was as extensive as possible, artists from further afield could also apply. The Bee in the City team considered the design first and foremost for its quality, followed by the artist’s locality, as well as other factors specific to the event.

Will all the Bee sculptures feature different designs?

Yes, each sculpture will feature its own unique design. Expect an amazing array of designs showcasing a range of styles, techniques and themes, and some Mancunian visual puns!

Who designed the Bee sculpture?

The 3D Bee sculpture has been custom designed by Wild in Art’s Creative Director, Chris Wilkinson. He has designed many other Wild in Art sculptures, always producing a canvas that enables artists to create hundreds of designs utilising just one sculpture. He keeps the sculptures as simple as possible so that an artist can interpret in their own style.

What happens to the Bees when the event has finished?

At the end of the trail the colony will come together for a special Farewell Event, giving people a last chance to see the Bees, take their final selfies and even meet some of the artists who created them.

After that, the Bees will take centre stage at a glittering Auction in October 2018 to leave a lasting legacy for various local charitable causes via The Lord Mayor’s We Love MCR Charity.







Bee in the City 2018

Bee in the City 2018