The Art+Science of Bees

As most everyone knows, honeybees and other pollinators are in real peril. Not uncoincidentally, our food system, which is rooted in long-distance transportation, is in dire straits. Our goal with Flight Path is to change that. At the nation's 15th busiest airport, we will create a new model for land use, public-private partnership, and cultural engagement nation-wide.

Produced by The Common Acre, with support from the Port of Seattle and Urban Bee Company, Flight Path will turn scrub land into pollinator habitat, raise better bees, and transform a corner of the concourse into a sparkling art and education exhibit.

Our airport beekeepers are raising local, disease-resistant queens.

Our airport beekeepers are raising local, disease-resistant queens.

Already, eighteen beehives have been installed and will be the source for naturally-raised, chemical-free local bee stock, to be offered to local beekeepers. This will help reduce our dependence on the narrow and unhealthy genetics of the commercial bees, and help support our local food economy.

Additionally, we will use footage from the hives, other site data, and visual art from the region's best artists to create an exhibit inside the terminal, which will be unveiled in January 2014 and stay up for a year.

Land reclamation, a long-term process, has begun by identifying 50 acres of land to transform over the next three years from scrub lands to pollinator habitat and possibly a seed farm for local wildflowers.

Phase 1 is underway: we have received permission from the airport, gotten all of our security clearances and installed the first hives in April and May. We have also worked with the curatorial team at the airport to identify space, begun meeting with artists and production staff and plotting the installation.

Donations from our sponsors and partners have helped cover some of the costs over the 20 months of development for the project. Income from honey will help sustain it down the road. Right now we have significant operational costs for starting up the hives and also for establishing the art and education exhibit, which will reach millions.

You can help make this vital work happen. Please visit our Contribute page to make a tax-deductible donation today!

This space will become an art and education exhibit in January 2014.

This space will become an art and education exhibit in January 2014.

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Core co-producers are Bob Redmond, Kate Fernandez, Rod Hatfield, Amy Baranski, and Charlie Spitzack, with collective experience managing and directing programs at some of Seattle's most established organizations including Bumbershoot, Town Hall Seattle, Experience Music Project, Smoke Farm, the Capitol Hill Arts Center, Spaceboat, and others. We will involve 30 - 40 regional artists, with additional involvement from local scientists, engineers, and designers.

The Port of Seattle is the nation's 15th busiest airport, with 34 million visitors per year. This project was inspired by related work in Chicago, as well as Frankfurt, Germany, and Düsseldorf, Germany.

Urban Bee Company is a progressive urban agricultural organization in Seattle, with a focus on bees, habitat, and sustainable agriculture. They deliver honey by bicycle and operate numerous apiaries in community gardens.