Build a bee as part of a Cedar Rapids community art project highlighting the importance of the busy pollinators

Bumble bee. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

Happen to have ping-pong balls, used plastic water bottles, empty milk jugs, hangers and push pins lying around? According to the Grant Wood Art Colony, those common items — or other recycled materials — are un-bee-lievably perfect for crafting a bee.

Anyone interested is invited to craft a bee and place it on structures resembling honeycombs that will be set up at the Indian Creek Nature Center and in the New Bohemia area later this month as part of a community art project aimed at showcasing the importance of these pollinators.

The Bee Project is a collaboration between the Grant Wood Art Colony, Indian Creek Nature Center, Czech Village/New Bohemia Main Street District and the University of Iowa’s Office of Community Engagement.

You’ll have until Wednesday, April 28, to build a bee and install it. Honeycombs will appear on Wednesday, April 14. There will be zip ties or wire provided to attach the bee, as well as instructions on how to do so.

Since the art project will be outside, organizers are asking bee builders not to use paper products or materials that might be damaged by the weather. Plastic, metal or other long-lasting materials are recommended, Grant Wood printmaking fellow Elena Smyrniotis said in a video about the project.

Smyrniotis has also posted three video tutorials for anyone who needs guidance or inspiration regarding how to craft their bee. Additional ideas of materials to use and other tips can also be found online.

The project will remain up until Sunday, May 30.

An example bee crafted by Grant Wood printmaking fellow Elena Smyrniotis. Smyrniotis created a video tutorial on how to craft a bee like this, as well as two other examples. — photo from Grant Wood Art Colony website

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