Metro Vancouver Close Up – Bees and Art Find Common Ground in Richmond

Buzzworthy – Richmond Culture Days MVCU from Metro Vancouver on Vimeo.

More than 47% of the region’s land base is designated as conservation and recreation, and more than 750 hectares have been added since 2011. In Richmond, an artistic buzz is highlighting ways to enhance these valuable places, big and small.

Arts and Ecology Join Forces at Culture Days 2015

Screen Shot 2015-12-11 at 4.16.31 PMCulture Days 2015 is a nationwide celebration of arts and culture, and the City of Richmond offered 80 free opportunities to get creative and inspired. Bee-themed activities were complemented by a pollinator exhibit at the Richmond Art Gallery.

“This was the perfect opportunity to bring in people working with bees and sustainability and have the artists do workshops and fun activities,” says Kathy Tycholis, Richmond Art Gallery Education and Public Programs Coordinator.

Screen Shot 2015-12-11 at 4.24.26 PMParticipants at the Richmond Culture Days helped cut bee shapes from paper embedded with seeds. Artists Cameron Cartiere and Jasna Guy created artwork inspired by bees; their purpose is to educate people about the importance of pollinators. A piece called ‘Not By Chance Alone’ exposes the vast number of honey bees that are disappearing.

“It’s a public art driven process for the betterment, the promotion of ecology in the city,” explains Lesley Douglas, Manager of Environmental Sustainability for the City of Richmond. “So it’s a very unique and innovation union of ecology and art.”

Pollinator Pasture Feeds Bees with Public Art

Douglas and Cartiere are also leading an artistic planting project in East Richmond’s Bath Slough.

“With pollinator pastures we are trying to provide habitat for the bees, because they have had a fragmentation of their habitat,” says Douglas.

“Our volunteers will work with us and we lay out the bumble bee wings design and then plant it and next spring it will come up like stained glass bumble bee wings,” says Cartiere.

Screen Shot 2015-12-11 at 4.35.23 PM“We’ve got interpretive signage, we’ve got a bee hotel, notes Douglas. “We’ve got beautiful site furnishings that have been worked on by Emily Carr (University of Art and Design).”

“And it’s an earthworks that you can walk through or also see from a plane above, because we are on the flight path for YVR airport coming into Vancouver,” adds Cameron Cartiere.

Come to Bass Slough and the Bridgeport Industrial Park next summer,” says Lesley Douglas. “It will be flowering all summer long.”

With one of four bites of food – like chocolate or blueberries, created by a pollinator, local food systems stand to benefit from Richmond’s spotlight on bees.

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