The Beehive Project was the brain child of philanthropist, Edwin Joseph. The original shape was created by Carolyn Dudley, Adrianne Ryder-Cook and Philip Wagner from dryer venting and clay. It was painted with vivid pink, white, and red hearts, named “Bee My Valentine”, and placed in front of the BB&T building to arouse interest.
Proposed Designs for the sculptures were reviewed by three judges. Selected participants received a certificate in recognition of their support of the arts. Each Gloucester Public School received a beehive to paint and decorate. In all, 56 beehives were awarded.
Beehives began appearing all over. Completed beehives were assembled along residential Main Street for the public to see. After people walked and examined the statues, they voted on winners. After the vote, the beehives were auctioned to the public – with the exception of school beehives which remained with their creators.
Of the 56 beehives, many remain visible in the county, decorating both public and private spaces. Some have traveled out of state. At least one rests on the bottom of the York River, following Hurricane Isabel. This exciting art project is currently, therefore, both visible and invisible.
The original project was part of the Gloucester County 350th Celebration. The project roused public interest in art and boosted county pride. Participants ranged from elementary students to professional artists. The project directly supported the mission statement of the Cook Foundation and culminated with an auction and celebration which raised money for future art events.
The original Beehive Project launched the Foundation into many new projects and the Foundation now plans to extend efforts to include additional projects in music, dance, writing, and photography.
The Pocahontas Mural tells the story of Pocahontas and how she was able to transcend two worlds: the English and the Powhatan nations. The artist shows the two cultures, treating them both with equal respect and importance. The artist, Michael Kirby, did extensive historical research to portray as accurately as possible the lives of the Indians and the settlers. The mural shows different ways they built their cities, the way they used transportation, how they used the rivers, their forms of canoes or ships, as well as their different beliefs of religion as well as showing the landscape. One scene is of London, while the other scene is of Werowocomoco; both highlight other elements such as their dress. Pocahontas is visible in both the English world and in the Powhatan world, wearing the appropriate clothing of each.
The mural was commissioned by the Cook Foundation in 2006. The Foundation wanted to honor Gloucester’s rich history and place in the colonial heritage of our nation for the 400th anniversary of Jamestown in 2007. The Cook Foundation Board chose muralist Michael Kirby of Maryland to design and execute a mural commemorating the Life and Legend of Pocahontas, our native Virginia Princess. Kirby has trained in Florence, Italy and has experience painting worldwide. The mural was funded by the Cook Foundation and the Main Street Preservation Trust.
More detailed explanations are available at the Gloucester LIbrary in the form of the brochure .