BEE WEEK THANKS
The first-ever Bethel Bee Week was truly amazing. It brought together all ages and all parts of the community to join in becoming aware of the importance of honeybees through arts and community activities that built new relationships among people and local organizations.
A project of this scope takes a lot of support and commitment. It started as just a musical “To Bee or Not to Bee” by the Piti Theatre of Shelburne Falls, Mass., that was going to be presented by the Arts Council. A few conversations started the momentum that ended up “bee-coming” a week-long set of events with an elementary theater residency, bee expo, expert bee talks, and lasting work to be done to the G.O.T. Farms and Crescent Park gardens with perennial bee perimeters.
I would like to thank those whose passion for the arts, the environment, community development resulted in what we hope will become an annual event unique to Bethel. First, I thank the Mahoosuc Arts Council Board for seeing and supporting an entrepreneurial vision for an innovative and relevant cross-sector collaboration between arts, agriculture, business and education. Thanks to Chair Tera Ingraham and board members Linda Stowell, Karen Saito, Zakk Mahar and Kathy Hodsdon for volunteering and making lots of critical connections.
Thanks to Local Food Connection members Jessie and Gabe Perkins attending events, and Amy Scott, also the Facilitator of The Bethel Area Nonprofit Collaborative, for winning grant from the New England Grassroots Environment Fund.
Many thanks are owed to Middle School Art Teacher Melissa Prescott and her students who made bee puppets that were used by the elementary school in two performances and to Telstar Vice Principal Charlie Raymond for organizing all the rooms. Thanks to beekeeping experts Maine Beekeeper Association President Carol Cotrill and Dunham Farmstead owner and beekeeper Suzanne Dunham. Thanks to beginner beekeepers Zoltan and Jody Matolcsy and Frank Merrill for exhibiting bee suits, smokers, honey comb and tools of the trade.
Many thanks to Crescent Park Principal Levi Brown, Office staff Tammy House, Heather Groves, Tech Director Peter Kuzyk, and Custodial Staff Millie Akers and Cheryl Rockwood for wonderful support in every way of the course of the week.
Thanks to the New England Foundation for the Arts, New England States Touring Program for a $3,000 grant, as well as thanks to MSAD 44 for additional funding. Thanks Marketing and Director and Sales Brad Jerome and the Bethel Inn for housing the Piti Theatre Company and thanks to Gould Academy for hosting the film “Queen of the Sun.”
Finally, thanks to the Piti Theatre Company for bringing a top quality arts education program to our community.
With full support from every part of the community, a new event has been born one- that has potential to become one of those unique events which makes our Most Beautiful Village so well known, building quality of place and a stronger economy. Kudos to all and many thanks!
Executive Director and the Mahoosuc Arts Council Board of Directors