You Are Welcome Here

by Carolyn McGrath

Design Statement

Worldwide pollinator decline, caused by climate change, habitat loss, pesticides, and disease, is a grave environmental concern. Bees, which include up to 20,000 different species globally, pollinate the plants that humans and other animals rely on. Most bees do not produce honey or live together in hives, like the honey bee. Instead, solitary bees nest in the ground or in in natural cavities, such as plant stems or holes in wood. Providing similar natural nesting materials, in the form of a “bee hotel,” as well as cultivating pollinator-friendly native plants, can help sustain local wild bee populations.

For my spire, I wanted to transform the ash tree from something that had been in decline (due to the emerald ash borer beetle), to something that could support life. I wanted the ash tree to continue to function, as it had before, as a home to wildlife. Because of this, I tried to maintain as natural of a look to the ash as possible, using only water-based wood stains to paint images of bees and flowers. For the bee hotel, I used colors and textures that would blend in with the natural environment and evoke a sense of the forest.


Materials:  Spire: water-based wood stains, UV protection oil; Bee Hotel: pine, maple, bamboo woods, latex paint, water based wood stain, parchment paper

Dimensions: 5″ x 5″ x 67″

Map/Spire Number: 49

Location: Bear Tavern Elementary School

Address: 1162 Bear Tavern Road, Titusville NJ

About the Artist

About the Artist

Carolyn McGrath is an artist and art educator in the Hopewell Valley Regional School District, where she has taught painting, drawing and pottery to middle and high school students for over 20 years. She is a graduate of Rutgers University, with degrees in art, English, and psychology; studied art education at the Parsons School of Design; and earned her MFA at the Maine College of Art. Ms. McGrath’s artwork spans a variety of media including ceramic sculpture, pottery, painting, drawing, photography, and video. Her documentary, Contested Territory, a film about suburban sprawl, affordable housing and the environment, has been screened throughout the U.S. and won best documentary at the U.S. Super 8 Film and Digital Video Festival. She is a past recipient of the Geraldine R. Dodge Fellowship for artists/teachers. The primary focus of Ms. McGrath’s artwork is the relationship of people to each other, to the built and natural world.



HV Arts Council Patterson Full Spire
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Artistic Accolades:

“The functional design, along with the masterful painting and woodworking skills displayed in this creation, are superb!”