1980: In the "Bee"-ginning
Do you notice the beehives everywhere here in Utah?
Even though there are beehives everywhere in Utah, people often do not notice them because it is such a familiar image. The idea for The Grand Beehive exhibition started when Hal Cannon, Director of the Utah Arts Council, began noticing how often the beehive appeared around Utah. Intrigued, Hal Cannon, along with colleagues David Pendell and Allen Dodworth, started a two-year project to explore Utah’s historical and contemporary use of the beehive.
As described by The Park Record (see the clipping to the right), the exhibit consisted of a variety of objects, spanning from 19th-century historical artifacts to contemporary uses and interpretations. Such items included quilts, neon signs, paintings, sculptures, furniture, headstones, and clothing. Some items were made specifically for the exhibit, whereas researchers collected others through fieldwork. Artists across the state were also asked to submit pieces for the exhibition. Additionally, individuals around the world created and mailed in postcards featuring beehives.
The exhibit opened September 13, 1980, at the Salt Lake Art Center and ran through October 19, 1980. The San Juan Record reported the exhibit “delighted and intrigued thousands” during its display. In addition to the physical exhibit, organizers published the short book The Grand Beehive, which primarily features photographs of the exhibit’s many items.