What is Bee in the City?

Bee in the City was a large scale public sculpture trail which took place all over Manchester during summer 2018. It was one of the most spectacular public art events to take place in the city.

Over 100 giant Bee and 130 medium-sized Bee sculptures were on display as part of this free, family-fun trail, taking in the city’s landmarks and undiscovered gems. Each Bee was designed by a different artist and celebrated the unique buzz of Manchester, from its industrial heritage to its vibrant music scene. An inspirational learning project gave schools, colleges and youth groups the chance to take part and design their own medium sized Bee.

When and where did it take place?

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

The sculpture trail covered the City Centre and also reached into Manchester City Council’s wards, ensuring that sculpture locations were easily accessible to everyone. A trail map and app were be produced to help people navigate around the trail.

How many Bees were there on the trail?

There were 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 was 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.

Who designed the Bee sculpture?

The 3D Bee sculpture was 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.

Who organised Bee in the City?

Wild in Art was the producer of Bee in the City and was 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 supported the overall aims of the ‘Our Manchester’ strategy, which has set a long-term vision for the city’s future.

Why did Wild in Art produce Bee in the City?

2018 marked 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.

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

No Bee in the City was not a memorial or commemoration event.

The bee emblem took on extra resonance in the aftermath of the Arena attack 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 took place in this enduring spirit and recognises the extra poignancy of the bee symbol.

Who were the lead partners?

The event was 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 was Bee in the City being funded?

Staging large-scale events requires a lot of upfront investment. Bee in the City was ‘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 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 were the sponsors?

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

Who were the artists?

You can find more information about the artists here.

Did 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.

What happened to the Bees when the event ended?

At the end of the trail the colony came 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 took 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.

Can I buy a blank bee sculpture?

Blank Bee sculptures, both small and large, are not available to buy currently.

This is to protect the value of the Bee in the City sculptures that were auctioned to help raise funds for the Lord Mayor of Manchester’s We Love MCR Charity.

Was Bee in the City a fundraising event?

Bee in the City raised 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 attack to help support victims.





Bee in the City 2018

Bee in the City 2018