Salt Tree Art Presents

The Fall Festoon

A Celebration of the Honey Bee

Salt Tree Art’s Fall Festoon was presented as a live event on October 17, 2020. You can continue to explore this event page for recordings of the live broadcast discussions, activities, and art all about the honey bee and other pollinators!

You can view the short orientation video for general event information, or use these buttons to navigate to specific event features.

What is a bee festoon? Honey bees will work together in linking their legs, forming a chain in the hive that crosses distances wider than a single bee. Festoons are believed to help bees form scaffolding for construction of the hive comb, though another theory believes festooning helps to measure distances in the design of the comb.

Join Our Discussions

Community Conversations

Recordings of our live broadcast discussions are available for viewing below, as well as information on the featured speakers.

City Bees

The Present and Future of Urban Beekeeping

Featured Panelists

Nicole has had a longtime fascination with bees, and after taking a beekeeping course at Rutgers University she began assisting their Agriculture Department with their hives. As a black woman of Puerto Rican descent, she recognized the importance of representation in beekeeping, and became a honey bee educator to expose young People of Color to beekeeping as a professional pursuit. In addition to beekeeping, her company, Bees on Main St., provides a full range of services to Philadelphia and southern New Jersey, including hive installation and consultation, beekeeping training, swarm rescues, and honey harvesting.

Bee on Main St. website
Nicole on Instagram

Nick is an emerging authority in urban beekeeping and shares his passion through classes and events dedicated to honey bees and pollinators, as well as online through several social channels. His own bee farm, Astor Apiaries, is one of the leading apiaries in the NYC area. Nick recently received his Master Beekeeper Certification from Cornell University.

Astor Apiaries website
Astor Apiaries on Instagram

Mike Hollis, Services for the UnderServed
Mike is the Urban Farms Director at Services for the UnderServed, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting individuals with disabilities throughout NYC. Since 2014, Mike has coordinated a beekeeping project that teaches beekeeping to adults with developmental disabilities, with hives at supportive housing residences in Brooklyn and the Bronx. The initiative has also supported entrepreneurial initiatives with participants selling honey at NYC farmers’ markets, and creating added-value products with infused honeys and beeswax creations.

SUS website
SUS on Instagram

Bees as Collaborators for Art and Science

Featured Panelists

In her first year of college, Jessie found a book about ancient funeral portraits that were painted with beeswax. She became fascinated by this lost art and has dedicated herself to working with beeswax encaustic pigments for the past 16 years. She is a working artist, an art fair exhibitor, an encaustic workshop instructor, and a pollinator protection advocate who is the creative mind behind, Buzz in Art Studios in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Jessie is also a member of Gallery Q: Artists Cooperative, is Council Chair for the Stevens Point Festival of the Arts, and is on the steering committee for the Hidden Studios Art Tour in Central Wisconsin.

Buzz in Art Studios website

Jessie Fritsch Encaustics on Instagram

Dr. Elizabeth Hénaff is a computational biologist with an art practice. She currently holds an Assistant Professor position in the Technology, Culture and Society department at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering in New York City.

At the center of her work is a fascination with the way living beings interact with their environment. This inquiry has produced a body of work that ranges from scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals, to projects with landscape architects, to working as an artist in environments from the School of Visual Arts to the MIT Media Lab. She has made contributions to understanding how plants respond to the force of gravity, how genome structure changes in response to stress, and most recently has turned her attention to the ubiquitous and invisible microbial component of our environment. Her work with the MIT Media Lab led to the development of a novel approach to urban microbiome sampling using honeybees.

Dr. Elizabeth Hénaff’s website

Dr. Elizabeth Hénaff on Instagram

Brian is a NYC-based environmental artist who finds inspiration in the regenerative design movement, building creative pathways for healing ecosystems through community engagement. He serves as a principal artist for Salt Tree Art. His recent work includes an experimental sculptural series, Myco-Rise, which explored artistic techniques for improving regional mushroom farming practices, and Wind & Waves, a biodegradable sculpture for LaGuardia Airport that embedded seeds from plants connected to NYC’s immigration history.

One of his current projects, Sticky Situations, works with honey bees to assist in the artistic process, with the pilot sculpture from the series, Comb Over, exhibiting last year.

Salt Tree Art homepage

Brian Soliwoda on Instagram

Stingless Bees and Log Hives

Exploring Unique Honey-Cultivation Practices

Featured Speakers

Tobias the founder and director of Bee Aware Brisbane in Australia. He is a native bee researcher and commercial stingless bee keeper with a passion for community engagement and science communication. Since 2010 Toby has been presenting lectures and workshops to community groups on native bees and pollination, from kindergarteners to adults, including 12 years of experience teaching University students, on topics including ecology, entomology, pollination, and bee identification. Toby’s research background is in understanding native bee communities in agricultural landscapes, the use of native bees in crop pollination, and native bee biology and ecology. Toby’s current research is focused on stingless bee biology and the use of native bees in glasshouse/protected pollination (as well as open field crops). Toby’s work time is divided among native stingless bee keeping, teaching on beekeeping and bee conservation to school children and adults (through Bee Aware Kids), university teaching, and bee and pollination research (at the University of Queensland). Five years ago, Toby’s stingless bee keeping ‘hobby’ morphed into something more serious, and he has been managing native stingless bees commercially since. In the last five years Toby has propagated over 1000 new stingless bee hives, and manages hives throughout eastern Australia.

Toby on Twitter

Toby has recently written a book on the identification of Australian bees, targeted at university students and researchers: The Australian Bee Genera

Fredrick is the CEO of the Apiculture Platform of Kenya, which since 2016 has promoted the study of conservation of bees and other pollinators as an approach to improved food and nutritional security, and improved livelihoods for socioeconomic development.

APK seeks to develop the science and art of beekeeping in Kenya for food security through pollination, enterprise promotion, and environmental conservation, including building the Kenya apiculture industry, developing best practice and quality standards for the sector, and advancing public policies that promote bee health and apiculture markets.

Apiculture Platform of Kenya website

Celebrate From Home

Digital Festival

You can explore our digital festival activities below. Participate in pollinator-themed make-along projects, check out our online art gallery, and join a waggle dance!

Share your creations, your art, and your dance moves with us! Use the hashtags #FallFestoon and @SaltTreeArt on social media so we can highlight your work!

Get Creative!

Make-Along Projects

Building a Pollinator Hydration Station

with Lauren Ullrich

Building a Mason Bee House

with Matt, Kristen, & Sienna Hollis

Building a Bee Ring Puppet

with Brian Soliwoda

For more pollinator-themed activities, check out Salt Tree Art’s environmental learning resource page. Our module on Bees & Other Pollinators includes a variety of educational exercises for learners of all ages.

Join Our Dance Party

Waggle It!

Participatory Dancing with Lauren Alzos

Project Partnerships and Supporters

This event was made possible in part by the Queens Council on the Arts with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

With Additional Support From

Michele & Charles Hollis

Jennifer & Matthew Glass

Joan M. Newman Philanthropic Fund, a gift of Joan Newman and Gail Soliwoda

Eileen Jurek

Bryant Sterczala

Jerilyn Perman

Deric McNish

Diane & Tim Soliwoda

Liz McCabe

Karen Soliwoda


Joe Polizzi

JT McGuinness

Scott Pidgeon & David Garland of Queens Farms

Coming Soon

Salt Tree Art Brings to Light

This winter, Salt Tree Art will present Brings to Light, a participatory lantern art project with calls to action on environmental issues. Watch for our announcement of the project’s launch in late October!