What's It All About?

What can we learn from the honey bee? Artist Matt Willey is in the process of painting a mural in downtown Laguna Beach to help fulfill his mission to hand-paint 50,000 honey bees – the number in a healthy, thriving hive – in murals around the world. The global hive Matt is painting is a metaphor for the connectedness of all things. Join Matt for a discussion about the experience of creating his latest mural and how it fits into the global puzzle – offering powerful moments of connection in the community and around the world.


This program is presented in partnership with the Laguna Beach Garden Club.


Advance tickets recommended.

Museum members: $20

Non-members: $30


About the Artist

“The hive I am creating is a metaphor for us all…no matter your color, nationality, religion, gender, age or economic status. This piece of art is an idealized picture of health to focus on as we work toward solutions.” -Matt Willey

Honey bees within the hive ‘think’ collectively. They are hard-wired to understand that their immune system is collective. Their health is based on the health of the hive, not the individual bee. A personal experience with a honey bee in 2008 sparked a paradigm shift for Matt. He realized that human and planetary health are collective, although we rarely act like it. COVID was a reminder that we are truly all connected more deeply than we realize. The global hive Matt is painting is a metaphor for the connectedness of all things. The bees are a symbol for humans, trees, animals, pollinators, water, soil and everything in between. The experience of creating each new mural, like pieces of a global puzzle, offer powerful connective moments for people both in their community and in their own heart and consciousness.

Healing the planet is a marathon, not a sprint. Eight years into an estimated 21-year project, Matt has created 42 murals and installations with over 10,000 hand-painted bees. He has reached hundreds of thousands of people and created large-scale works at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington DC, Dag Hammarskjold Plaza in NYC and Burt’s Bees Global Headquarters. He has collaborated with the World Council of Peoples for the United Nations (WCPUN) and NYC Parks’ Art in the Parks Public Art Program. He has painted in a Tony-Winning Broadway star’s dressing room in NYC, at a fire station in the American south and at schools across the country and in the UK. In October of 2021 his bees will be displayed at the American Embassy in Beijing, China.

Matt has shared the stories of The Good of The Hive®  through speaking engagements at the United Nations, the FAO in Washington DC, the German and French Embassies in DC, Burt’s Bees Global HQ, Smithsonian’s National Zoo, Duke University, MIT, Georgetown University, Auburn University, the Planetary Health Alliance 2018 annual meeting in Scotland, many podcasts including the NEA and educational institutions throughout the US.

His work has been featured in the New York Times, Reuters London, The Today Show, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, and countless other publications and media channels.

The Good of The Hive®  is a partner and collaborator with the World Council of Peoples for the United Nations (WCPUN) and was featured in the special edition of WCPUN’s publication CENTERPOINT NOW commemorating the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.

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