Manhole Rusty Patch Bee Ink Final


Citizen Bee by Beverly Ostrowiecki, ink on paper.

Glaciapool artist Beverly Ostrowiecki submits design for original art that will be cast iron onto manhole covers throughout Ann Arbor. Her design makes it to round 4 in jury selection.

In December 2017 the City of Ann Arbor asked the Ann Arbor Art Center to administer a Call for Submission for manhole cover art. Submitted designs were to be assessed on a wide range of criteria including aesthetic, feasibility, and fidelity to community values. An advisory committee comprised of professional artists, community stakeholders, and business leaders would select 6 semifinalists. A public voting in February 2018 will decide the 3 designs that will be used for manholes over a 2 year period.

My submission is named Citizen Bee. It represents a Rusty Patched Bumble Bee, especially the grid on the bee’s back, which represents its distinguishing rusty patch.

Citizen Bee withstood the jury selection scrutiny pretty well—it made it to round 4 and near final selection. Given this was my first public art submission, I am pretty pleased.

Bee Design Instills Historical, Educational, and Artistic Attributes

Historically, this bee thrived in Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County. It contributed by being a pollinator to meadows and agriculture. Over the last 20 years, this bee has declined in population due to ecological changes. In March 2017, the US Fish & Wildlife placed the Rusty Patch Bee on the endangered list.

The educational component of this design offers opportunities to increase community awareness about the bee’s status, encourage landscapes that sustain bee populations, and strengthen youth understanding of the relationships among insects, plant diversity, and human cohabitation.

Artistically, the bee has symbolic meanings to a plethora of cultures. Common attributes include organized, industrious, and community. My representation focuses on its identifying rusty patch shown by the grid in the center. Body proportions mimic a Rusty Patch Bee. I simplified to achieve boldness.


Luna Moth and Brown Beetle Designs Explored

I decided to use an insect design because pollinators are critically important to sustain our ecosystem. I made 3 sketches: Luna Moth, Brown Beetle, and Rusty Patched Bumble Bee. All play significant roles as pollinators and offer forms for bold appealing designs. I decided to submit the Rusty Patched Bee because its endangered species status is most urgent.

Manhole Lunar Moth

Luna Moth by Beverly Ostrowiecki, ink on paper.


Manhole Brown Beetle

Brown Beetle by Beverly Ostrowiecki, ink on paper. 

Participate in the Ann Arbor community and vote. 

Public voting to choose the final 3 manhole cover designs launched February 14 and closes February 25, 2018. Visit the Ann Arbor Art Center to vote and get results on the final selections.