Generosity | Miami Public Hives


[steady music] – How do you get people to think about things differently? [music continues] I think a lot about, “What impact can I have?” If I’m thinking this way, maybe other people are, but maybe they’re not. [music continues] We want to change the way people think about the community that they’re living in. [music continues] So, about three years ago, Miami was going through this crisis with Zika. And people panicked. So they were doing a lot of aerial spraying in the area And I lived a couple of blocks away from here, and I started noticing in my yard that there were no bugs, there were no lizards. There was nothing. So I was like, “If they’re spraying “and it’s killing off mosquitos, “that’s great, “but they’re also killing off a lot more. I wonder how this impacts our environment.” So I just started doing a lot of research about how bees are dying at an alarming rate. It just got me thinking a lot about, “Well, what impact can I have?” I found out about the Miami Foundation Public Space Challenge because I was previously a grant writer, and I knew they did a lot of community-based programming, specifically looking at ways to get people in parks, changing people’s definition of what a park could be. And I was just really interested in seeing what I could propose. [indistinct chatter] Whew! – What Miami’s 95% humidity needs is these canvas suits. [laughter] – I don’t know why bees was my first thought. I just remember thinking, “It’d be kind of cool if we just had “beehives in public spaces, “and people could learn from each other, “get communication going over something “that probably terrifies us all, so it’s a great bonding experience.” And so I submitted the idea of hives in public parks. – Okay. – You’re in? – I’m in. – Then I got a call a couple days later from the foundation, asking if I could take them to my hives, and I did not have any beehives. I think we’re gonna go probably this way and around. both: Yeah. – Okay. And so I decided to just drop everything and figure out how to make this project a reality. Do we have the smoker going? both: Yeah. – I have an arts background, and I know that not everyone learns about environmental issues from a scientific approach. Some people need a more creative approach. So it got me thinking about what we’re able to do when we bring art into public spaces, and that’s where design comes into this project. [music continues] – I met Danielle Bender years ago before she launched Public Hives. And when she launched Public Hives, I was like, “Ooh, that’s a great project. “We need more bees and beekeeping “in the urban realm or where people live, period.” And I kept up with her development. So she invited me to design two hives for her project. And I knew she invited a few very excellent artists to do some before. So it feels great to get to do one of these. – You want to scoot it forward and see how much it weighs? – Yeah. – We thought that it would make an experience easier to connect with if the hives were painted. It makes the bees less intimidating to go in and look at when the hive is so beautifully painted. People generally get pretty excited. – Okay, ready? both: Okay. – You guys good? both: Yep. – We’ve been really deliberate about the artists that we’re choosing for this project. We thought it was very important that all the artists that are involved either live or work in the community. That way, it’s really intentional that this is part of the community-building process. So, for example, here in Little Haiti, one of the hives is designed by Nadia Wolff. Nadia is a Haitian-American artist whose work focuses mainly on family ancestry. And Adler’s work is also very inspired by this community. He’s an incredible artist, an incredible community member, and I just love his work. And so I thought it would be really interesting to have the two artists that we have in this space represent the community that it’s in. [music continues] – I was born in Haiti, moved to Miami. Went to a regular middle school. And then while I was in middle school, a design magnet program opened up for design architecture, and that’s how I was introduced to design. And after that, I practiced art. And pretty much all of it happened here in Miami. The interesting thing about a neighborhood like Little Haiti is that you see a range of colors that repeats a lot. There’s a lot of yellows, a lot of grays, a lot of seafoam greens and blues. These colors go really well with the brilliant green of leaves and the dark trunk of a tree. And so I responded to this choice of color as a design choice. There’s a humanistic language that exists on the landscape. That was my cue. And so I used those colors in a particular pattern, and that’s the hive. [music continues] – You got it? – We got it, yeah. So, every year, the Public Space Challenge has $305,000 to go towards these projects that happen in Miami. 305 because that’s the area code here. And Target contributes a significant amount of the grants that go to grantees. I think it is important to champion projects that really offer people a way to see what’s immediately outside their door as something larger, something greater. I think there’s pride in that. That’s important to all of us, you know? I mean, the bees don’t care. [laughs] But the hives, as an object, should reflect the neighborhood and the culture, and that’s what makes it exciting. [music continues] – Ooh, it’s heavy. People are really interested in finding ways to get involved with their community through art, through design. So I think we’ve made this space really accessible. Just the design of the space lets people know that they’re welcome here. This is not something to fear. This is a positive experience. Sometimes in other places, they have hives blocked off with a fence around them and signs up. Just thinking about simple words like “caution” or “warning” reinforces negative stereotypes about bees. So just even thinking about that– something people are able to access versus something that’s sectioned off– that’s a design in its own. – Dude. – Amazing. So you can see how it looks like it’s smeared across the top. That means they sealed the honey. That means it’s all ready to be harvested if you want to harvest. – It’s one of the projects that I really love. Inviting kids to see the bees in the hive, to design tools and structures and projects and even designing the jar of honey in a way that’s attractive. That’s a different level of participation. Just using little tools of design– that’s one of the great projects that should be encouraged to be done in Little Haiti. Only good can come from that because we enjoy it together. [music continues] – The main goal of this project is just getting people to view their environment through a different lens and think about design differently. And I think people really appreciate that.

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