What’s the Buzz at the Art Museum?

The Queen City Pollinator Project’s Eden Park bee hive has benefitted the local ecosystem and Cincinnati Art Museum.
Queen City Pollinators check on the hives at the Cincinnati Art Museum.

Photograph by Jeremy Kramer

Every spring and summer, we can’t wait to roam the hills of Eden Park, viewing the season’s colorful new growth. Did you ever think about what helps keep them that lush? Part of the answer is bees. Right off the drive into the Cincinnati Art Museum’s parking lot a thriving hive of honeybees.

Installed in spring 2021 by the Art Museum’s Green Team, the hive is a collaboration with the Queen City Pollinator Project. QCPP is a women-led organization that educates the community about the environment through beehives and native pollinator-friendly plants. “We keep honeybees because of their charisma,” QCPP cofounder and self-proclaimed Tactical Bee Jenny O’Donnell says. “They’re storytellers and social beings.”

There are around 125,000 honeybees in the hive, but eggs are hatched every day. When they are, O’Donnell sings “Happy Birthday” to them. If you want, you can adopt one of the bees through the Museum. For $5 you can name one (some current names include Buzzy McBeeFace and Obee Wan Kenobee), and for $15 your bee could become Bee of the Month.

So far, the bee project has brough in more than 175 new museum donors. Besides being helpful for Museum fund-raising, they’re also great for the community. According to O’Donnell, the honeybees pollinate plants within a five-mile radius of the hive, meaning they help flowers all over Cincinnati. “People tell me ‘I wish I had bees in my garden,’ ” says O’Donnell. “I always say that you do. You have my bees.” Adopt your bee at the art museum’s website.

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