Crowdfunding campaign launched to generate support for bee colony

March 1, 2017

Art and nature have always been intertwined at the Clark Art Institute. Now, bees are entering the picture as the Clark plans to launch an active beekeeping program on its campus to help grow the native bee population in Berkshire County. A Kickstarter campaign, which runs March 1–20, 2017, seeks to raise $8,000 for the program. For more information, or to donate, visit
“The relationship between art and nature is central to the Clark’s mission and is always foremost in our thoughts,” said Olivier Meslay, Felda and Dena Hardymon Director of the Clark. “We take our responsibility as stewards of our lands very seriously. When I joined the Clark last summer, I was so inspired by these grounds that we treasure and became focused on finding new ways to extend our sustainability initiatives. We have an ideal setting to provide a haven for bees and we hope our friends and neighbors will join us in funding this project. Every donation—small or large—will make a big difference.”
Bees are quickly disappearing from the United States due to environmental changes and destruction of bee habitats. Recently seven species of bees in the United States were identified as endangered. The drastic reduction in bee populations is an increasingly serious issue for American food production. Honeybees are the primary pollinators of the world’s food and of our region’s trees, shrubs, and flowers. Without pollination, crops do not thrive. 
In addition to creating a bee colony, the Clark plans to enhance its campus by planting more than 1000 crocus bulbs to provide a critical early spring nutrition source for its new residents. As one of spring’s first flowers, the crocus is a primary pollen source for bees. The crocus bulbs were donated by Clark Trustee Dena Hardymon and her husband, Felda. The Clark BUZZ project will provide the funding needed to create and care for the bees. Local beekeeper David Thayer will assist the Clark in establishing its bee program and will supervise the growth of the colony. Bee skeps will be installed on the roof of the Manton Research Center to encourage bees to make the Clark their home. A population of at least 40,000 bees is needed to sustain the hives and encourage honey production.
The Clark BUZZ project seeks to generate community support to reach its $8000 goal and targets the first day of spring, March 20, to achieve its objective. Special rewards are offered to engage project backers, ranging from car decals to special behind-the-scenes tours of the Clark’s sustainability programs.
Kickstarter’s crowdfunding initiative provides a means through which supporters can make small donations to advance a project. Kickstarter projects are not funded if the target goal is not met. In a video on the Clark’s Kickstarter page, Grounds Manager Matthew Noyes notes that the Clark could achieve its goal if it engages twenty $20 donors per day over the next twenty days.
The Clark’s beautiful 140-acre campus is an ideal habitat for many kinds of animals, birds, and insects. Sustainability initiatives are central to the Clark’s grounds management practices and were key elements in the recent campus expansion program. The American Society of Landscape Architects presented an honor award to the Institute recognizing the “intensively engineered landscape of integrated soils, water, and vegetative systems that improves native woodland and stream corridor conditions, reduces resource demands, and expands the Clark’s understanding of its own commitment to landscape stewardship.”
The Clark Art Institute, located in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, is one of a small number of institutions globally that is both an art museum and a center for research, critical discussion, and higher education in the visual arts. Opened in 1955, the Clark houses exceptional European and American paintings and sculpture, extensive collections of master prints and drawings, English silver, and early photography. Acting as convener through its Research and Academic Program, the Clark gathers an international community of scholars to participate in a lively program of conferences, colloquia, and workshops on topics of vital importance to the visual arts. The Clark library, consisting of more than 270,000 volumes, is one of the nation’s premier art history libraries. The Clark also houses and co-sponsors the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art.
The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm. Admission is $20; free year-round for Clark members, children 18 and younger, and students with valid ID. For more information, visit or call 413 458 2303.

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Clark Art Institute
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