THE LAB is an evolution of VAE’s long-running Exchange Gallery! THE LAB is a space to experiment with different themes and challenges for our creative community. THE LAB provides artists a chance to exhibit in a highly-visible space and with a theme that connects a full year of individual exhibitions. The theme for September 2016 - August 2017 is COLLABORATION! 


Bee Downtown

March 3 - March 30, 2017
Opening Reception: March 3, 6-10pm

Project Statement:

Coming from a long line of rural beekeepers, founder Leigh-Kathryn Bonner took her family trade and love for bees to the city. Bee Downtown started in 2014 with two beehives on a rooftop at the American Tobacco Campus and a clear storefront observatory hive at the front door of Burt’s Bees in Durham, NC. In the past year, the business, or “beesness” as we like to call it, has expanded to work with companies across the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill area. With a goal of expanding around the world, we truly believe Bee Downtown has the potential to change not only our planet, but the people in it as well. Our dream has never been to create just another business, but to create a movement that reaches far beyond Bee Downtown as a company and lasts generations after business is gone.

Our innovative approach uses cities, and the businesses in them, to collaboratively rebuild healthy honey bee populations. We install and maintain groups of beehives, custom painted by local artists, at landmark locations in urban where bees thrive, while simultaneously providing green initiatives for businesses that sponsor each of our hives.


We are super excited that Red Hat, a software company whose open source values encourage community-powered collaboration, is partnering with VAE to support THE LAB. 


To see examples of work from previous exhibitions go to our Exhibition Archives and to see way, way back please visit our Flickr.