Friends of the Manassas Bee Festival Initiate New Bee City USA Wall Mural

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Provided by Manassas Bee Festival

Theresa Coates Ellis, Patron, Manassas City Council, Member of Manassas Bee Festival; Patricia Kouttab, Owner of Kerbobble Toys; Sherry Day, building owner of 9216 Center Street; Mark Olsen, Chair, and Kristen Kiefer, Executive Director, Historic Manassas Inc., proudly announce the launch to create a new wall mural at an entrance to Historic Manassas on the wall of  Kerbobble Toys celebrating the Bee City USA designation for the City of Manassas.

In May 2021, the Manassas City Council voted unanimously to become a Bee City USA, initiated by Council Member Theresa Coates Ellis, a trained master gardener and beekeeper. With that designation, the City must hold public awareness activities to plant native and to save our pollinators, including bees. The 4th annual Manassas Bee Festival fulfills this requirement with a free family fun and educational event held on Saturday, June 22 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Coates Ellis said, “We started a nonprofit organization, Friends of the Manassas Bee Festival, so we could give back to the community. Our goal was to contribute more public art and education to the city of Manassas with the important native plant and pollinator theme. Since 2019, we have visited many schools and groups and hosted workshops and demonstrations at the apiary at Liberia House and Grounds. This year, we are thrilled that a public art plan came together and the Friends of the Manassas Bee Festival will be donating funds for the wall mural project on Kerbobble Toys, to welcome visitors to our Historic Manassas, a Bee City USA.”

The Friends of the Manassas Bee Festival also thank their top festival sponsors and supporters who contribute to allow the wall mural and pollinator education happen: UVA Health, Bull Run Rotary Club, Manassas Garden Club, Miller Toyota, Prince William County (PW) Master Gardeners, and PW Regional Beekeepers Association plus the City of Manassas and residents for the beautiful Liberia House and Grounds Park venue.

Patricia Kouttab, owner of Kerbobble Toys (opened December 2019), is also an artist; she designed the new mural. She will be painting her original work of art on the wall of her business. The building is owned by Sherry Day, who submitted her consent for the project to Kouttab.

Day said, “This will be a beautiful greeting for anyone entering Old Town.”

Coates Ellis had been scouting for a wall for months for the Bee City USA designation. She had visited Kouttab at Kerbobble Toys (toys, books, and collectibles) during the annual Christmas Parade who said she was interested in painting a new mural on the wall herself and loved the theme.

Kouttab said, “Kerbobble Toys is honored to be a part of this exciting art project for the community. It is going to be a vibrant new addition to welcome all to the Historic District.”

Coates Ellis and Kouttab consulted with Mark Olsen, Chair, and Kristen Kiefer, Executive Director, Historic Manassas Inc. to make this idea a reality. They advised Sherry Day, the building owner, of the process to apply to the Architecture Review Board (ARB) for the mural rehabilitation of the existing weathered mural known as the “train mural,” painted many years ago by neighboring high school students.

Kiefer said, “HMI is honored to be a part of this exciting collaboration. This new, vibrant mural is important to our City because this building is a gateway into our Historic downtown district providing one of the first impressions that visitors see and is representative of Manassas’s identity as a designated Bee City.”

Last week the new mural design was unanimously approved by the ARB with Coates Ellis and Olsen present for support. The ARB expressed optimism that the new mural will be a welcome and popular spot for visitors.

Olsen said, “Historic Manassas, Inc. is thrilled to further its mission of engaging our Main Street community to highlight our appreciation of the arts and influence beautification initiatives, like this mural, to ensure a welcoming historic downtown district.”

The preparation of the wall started this week with power washing and cleaning up the landscape. Kouttab will be updating her YouTube channel, “Kerbobble Toys,” showing the progress of her art project until the final original wall mural is ready for the public with an official ribbon cutting in the upcoming months.

YouTube: “Kerbobble Toys,” sneak peeks with Patricia Kouttab, Owner, Kerbobble Toys as she creates the Historic Manassas Bee City USA mural on the long wall of her business.

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