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Community Art Project at CCS Now Complete

September 22, 2021 -- Colerain Elementary School Intervention Specialist Chris Williams helped his student make art history at Columbus City Schools by cupping his hand around hers to steady the paintbrush. The palette for this young student was a two-and-a-half-inch by a three-and-a-half-inch hexagon-shaped piece of wood. 

“What color do you want to use?” Williams asks the student. “What about blue? I think that is one of your favorite colors.” 

This past summer, Williams’ students and hundreds of other special education students and students with complex needs all across the District painted 400 of those wooden pieces as part of the CCS Summer Experience. The hexagons are all different colors; some display flowers, houses, even a block “O.” Other painted pieces also include a tiny personal message such as “Bee Kind.”

“Look at these beautiful pieces and the detail,” said Janette Jones-Ball, the Chief Artistic Officer at the SuperArt League, who was fighting back the tears of joy describing the student’s artwork. “Each one of these hexagons is that student’s mural. Every student can say I am a part of this.” 

This is a community art sculpture called the BeeHive or the Honeycomb Sculpture. Measuring four and a half feet high, eight and a half feet wide, and two feet deep, the sculpture includes a queen bee, also known as Bee Dazzle, and thirteen worker bees. All the bees have translucent wings made of plexiglass to reflect different colors depending on the light. 

“CCS is one big beehive, and the thirteen worker bees represent all grades, K -12,” said James Kindler, the Chief Idea Officer (CIO) at the Super Art League. “The queen bee is the head of the hive. The teachers are the worker bees because they take learning to the next level. The mini murals are the students who surround the queen bee and worker bees.” 

The District partnered with the Super Art League to create this sculpture to integrate visual art with performance art to empower youth through curiosity, creativity, and compassion. 

“I’m so proud of this sculpture,” said Heidi Madsen, Chief Performance Officer at Super Art League. “This is a way to use art to change the world; to show the value of friendship, teamwork, and community. This artwork represents who we are. Everybody is at the same level when their paint their mini mural.”

The Super Art League has partnered with other school districts in Ohio to create sculptures, but nothing this large. 

“It really is a community project,” said Kindler. “That’s why we wanted to include as many companies from the Franklinton area of Columbus as possible. One artist made the brackets. Another person assembled it, and a graphic artist fabricated the queen bee.”

The team of three that make up the Super Art League spent half their summer carving, painting, bejeweling, and assembling all the bees and 400 pieces. The final product truly is a one-of-a-kind piece sculpture: for the Columbus City Schools community, by the Columbus City Schools community.