An independent day school for girls in Buckinghamshire has become the home of American mural artist Matthew Willey’s first UK project.
Pipers Corner School was visited by the international artist in October after sixth former Madeleine Ingleton contacted Willey whilst researching for a GCSE art project. Willey has created a permanent outdoor bee mural at the school, which raises awareness about the declining number of honeybees.
Willey is founder of The Good of the Hive project, a commitment to paint 50,000 bees around the world to raise awareness about the plight of the honeybee – this number is the exact figure necessary for a healthy and thriving hive.
Madeleine, who keeps bees at home, was inspired by the project and contacted Willey to find out more about his work and activism.
“The mission is to ignite radical curiosity for planetary health issues through art and storytelling. The bee and her hive are the artist’s symbols, but at the essence it is about activating and celebrating the power in human connection,” said Willey. His work has featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Huffington Post.
“It has been fantastic for the students to get to know Matt and to learn all about his project which links Pipers to his other murals across the US; and of course to understand why bees, and being connected, both matter so much,” said Helen Ness-Gifford, headmistress of Pipers Corner School.
“It has been wonderful to watch the creation of a work of art develop in front of us, from the first strokes on a bare wall to the beauty and magnificence of the final complete mural.
“We have watched the project grow and in doing so it has become a part of us and the school. We could not feel prouder or more privileged to display this work of art and what it stands for at the centre of our school.”
Pipers Corner School is also in the process of creating a large British wildflower meadow in its grounds, to further encourage the bee population.
It is also the first school in England to have an environmentalist-in-residence, as it strives to become a centre of excellence for sustainability.