Bee Real Bee Everywhere

Bee Real Bee Everywhere is a multi-faceted project that promotes awareness and habitat for pollinating insects in Saint Paul’s urban core. Three sculptural pollinator “Sky Rises” are installed along public parkways in the Como and Phalen neighborhoods near areas of forage and water.

Each Sky Rise serves as a home and research site for native nesting bees, which are under threat due to habitat loss. Monitored by University of Minnesota’s Bee Lab, the sites provide information and data on the patterns and preferences of wild, solitary pollinators in an increasingly dense, built environment.You can visit the Sky Rises at the following locations:

Lake Como Site

Lake Phalen Site

Como/Hamline Site (Woodland Nature Classroom)

Along with these futuristic floating cities, our team disseminates seeds and education via the Office of Urban Pollen Exchange, housed within the Saint Paul City Parks. Through our Pollinator Post Cargo Bike delivery, we send legislative love letters, disperse bronze bees for pollinator protectors, and pop-up around the city with interactive games for all ages. Our goal with Bee Real Bee Everywhere is not only to envision cross species cohabitation, but also to embed this awareness within already successful city systems.

Bee Real Bee Everywhere began in summer 2017. Our artist team of Christine Baeumler, Amanda Lovelee, and Julie Benda are glad to bring a second year of engagement and sculptures courtesy of Public Art Saint Paul in 2018.  If you are interested in having the Bee Bike/Pollinator Post pop-up in your neighborhood please contact:

Photo Credit: Carrie Thompson

Photo Credit: Carrie Thompson

Photo Credit: Carrie Thompson

Photo Credit: Carrie Thompson

Bronze bees acknowledge Pollinator advocacy, design and fabrication by Brad Kaspari

Photo Credit: Carrie Thompson


The design of the Pollinator Sky Rise is a demonstration of both function and form. A vision of future cohabitation, the sculpture operates as a permanent public art piece as well as a transitory space for living things. Loosely based on constructivist principles, the artists decided to erect a floating city for bees, which borrows from the style and concepts of the international art movement and centered around using art as a tool for the common good. The habitat thus re-imagines and calls out the necessity to acknowledge the shared real estate of our increasingly dense city, and uses the language of city infrastructure to create a beacon for these “mini-metropollentanites”.


The Pollinator Sky Rise is a nesting bee habitat developed in conjunction with researcher Colleen Satyshur at the University of Minnesota’s Bee Lab. With her help, the Sky Rise is engineered specifically to attract native, solitary stem nesting bees such as mason bees and stem cutting bees. Through our project, as well as a MN Futures Grant, her team is able to monitor and collect data on the nesting patterns of these little known species.


With the help of Pollinate MN! Bee Real Bee Everywhere was able to acknowledge the hard work that has pushed our city forward to better and healthier practices for pollinators across the metro. Whether changes to lawn care practices, policy implementation, increased education and awareness or support for further research, Bee Real Bee Everywhere knows how important it is to celebrate those that have made a difference in our communities already. Our engagement plan allows us to connect the public with city officials in order to exchange ideas and gratitude as we all create a better place for both people and pollinators.


The Office of Urban Pollen Exchange houses our interns, a mobile “Pollinator Post” pedaled via a cargo bike, seed mailbox, and educational resources for rec centers, school groups, libraries, and public events. Coming soon: interactive neighborhood map of bee bike activities. 


From its inception, our goal for Bee Real Bee Everywhere was to have the future in mind. That meant not only the future of pollinators, neighborhoods and people, but also of the resources and energy that go into creating large scale public art. Right away, we identified working within existing city systems would extend the longevity of the project. The Office of Urban Pollen Exchange, therefore, is generously hosted by the Saint Paul Parks Environmental Education department. The project materials were also carefully considered. Using steel and wood, the sculptural habitat is 100% recyclable, giving future generations flexibility in maintaining or reusing these resources.

We are grateful to the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation for an Arts Challenge grant that supports this project, along with the 1% for Public Art Ordinance in Saint Paul.

About the Artists

Christine Baeumler

As an artist and educator, Christine Baeumler explores art as a catalyst to increase awareness about ecological issues and to facilitate stewardship. Baeumler is currently the Artist in Residence at the Capitol Region Watershed District in Saint Paul, MN.

Baeumler ‘s art practice is collaborative and involves the transformation of urban sites by increasing biodiversity, providing habitat, and improving water quality. Examples of these projects include the Tamarack Rooftop Restoration, a green roof bog ecosystem at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, which calls attention to fragile bog ecosystems. Pollinators at the Plains is the sustainable redesign of the Plains Art Museum’s outdoor campus and a youth internship program, Buzz Lab. For Northern’s Climate Chaos, Climate Rising program, Baeumler is embarking on a year long citizen science project titled “Backyard Phenology: Tracking Nature’s Cycles in a Changing Climate” which features a mobile phenology lab where people can contribute observations about changes in seasonal patterns.

Baeumler is an Associate Professor in the Department of Art at the University of Minnesota (Interdisciplinary Art and Social Practice). She has received support from the Bush Foundation, McKnight Artist Fellowship, MN State Arts Board, Public Art Saint Paul, Forecast Public Art and Art Place America. She has a BA from Yale University and an MFA from Indiana University.

Amanda Lovelee

Amanda Lovelee is a visual artist based in Minneapolis, MN currently working as the City Artist for Public Art Saint Paul. Lovelee acts as translator between the city’s ideas and its residents with the goal of building the city everyone wants to live in. As City Artist Lovelee has focused on engagement through both her projects Pop Up Meeting, a city popsicle truck and Urban Flower Field, a vacant lot turned gathering space/live science project.  She is interested in how people connect and the spaces in which they do so within contemporary society. Her recent projects have explored a myriad of topics: the lives of beekeepers and ice fishermen, strangers’ love stories and the sociology of square dancing. Her work has been funded by the MN State Arts Board, Jerome Foundation, Forecast Public Art and Art Place America. She has an MFA in Visual Studies from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and BFA in Photography from University of Hartford.

Julie Reneé Benda

Julie Reneé Benda is originally from the Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan. She earned her BA in both printmaking and biological studies at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in 2011, and her MFA at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 2016. Using text, image and sculpture she works on projects that interact with and narrate shifting boundaries of land, water, people and plants. Currently, she lives and works in Minneapolis, MN.