Today marks the start of Manchester’s latest artistic and charitable endeavour – Bee In the City. For months schoolchildren, artists and collectives have been bee-vering away (see what we did there?) with some incredible designs for these remarkable bee statues that will, as of today, provide a trail of places and landmarks around Manchester, symbolically commemorating the lifeforce and hard work of staunch Mancunians.
Since the terror attack at the MEN Arena last year during Ariana Grande’s concert, the bee symbol has become synonymous with Manchester and the fighting spirit of Mancunians. The worker bee has been ‘our symbol’ since 1842, but it’s fair to say that since the attack it has more than ever become an instantly recognisable emblem of solidarity and support that has taken the form of car stickers, tattoos and emblazoned on all manner of clothing sported by proud Mancunians. While this project is not directly related to the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund, which was set up to support the victims, the sense of unity and resilience that still resonate after the attack were almost certainly an inspiration behind this remarkable feat.
Bee In The City is a pretty gargantuan effort, with 101 giant bee statues that have been individually sponsored and uniquely designed, situated in and around Manchester for 2 months starting today. Although the majority of the bees can be found in the city centre and at well-known landmarks, bees can also be found in Greater Manchester and surrounding areas such as The Quays, Old Trafford, in South Manchester in Didsbury and Wythenshawe, at Wythenshawe Hospital and Manchester Airport, in Levenshulme and Longsight and out into North and East Manchester at the Etihad Campus, Collyhurst, Harpur Hey, Higher Blackley, North Manchester General Hospital and Heaton Park.
As well as the 101 giant bees that have been designed by local artists, Manchester’s schoolchildren have also got involved, creating an impressive swarm of 131 mini bees which are scattered across Manchester city centre and beyond. There is also a Bee In The City shop, located near to Exchange Square in Manchester. Check out this map for full details of where the bees are based.
The bees are on display for just two months, after which they will bee (can’t help ourselves!) auctioned off on October 17th for Mayor Andy Burnham’s We Love MCR charity, which aims to provide financial support to community groups and projects as well as individuals in need.
If you’d like to see a little more of what Manchester has to offer, this is an incredibly cool way to take a tour around our famous city. Even if you’ve lived here all your life, it’s funny how you can make new discoveries if you take the time to look. Perhaps that too is what our bees offer us – not just recognition of just how damn fierce we Mancunians are, but a reminder to get out there and appreciate our magnificent city anew.
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