April 15, 2024

Kelsey Matson
Among the other Earth Day events last week, The Beehive Collective visited Wittenberg, bringing with it its “True Cost of Coal” exhibit to Geil Lounge.
The exhibit and lecture, brought to campus by the student organization P.o.W.E.R., featured large black and white prints of designs by volunteer artists dedicated to creating educational images under a Creative Commons license. The prints featured were created by over 70 people during the course of nine years.
Along with the “True Cost of Coal,” the work “Mesoamerica Resiste” was also available for viewing. The multitude of images, including people depicted as anthropomorphic animals, represent stories from people interviewed from all over the United States.
Some images include dying pigeons, swarms of moths holding flags, and a deer water-skiing. During the lecture, students were encouraged to ask questions and even walk up to and use paper frames to dissect the illustrations.
The Beehive Collective, located in Maine, was inspired by a local collaborative mosaic installation and emerged out of the energy of the anti-globalization and global justice movement of the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Its projects began as mobile posters, impromptu storytelling, and gathering contacts and collaborators for its first tours, but it has since grown to bookable tours around the United States. Their first large-scale “graphics campaign,” the “Free Trade Area of the Americas” poster, was collaborated with organizers in 2001.
The organization itself is run by 10-15 people who plan projects by creating non-linear flow charts, or mind-maps, and filling drafts with notes and pencil sketches to piece parts together. Rough drafts are then presented to communities who give input, and that feedback is then used for further drafts until completion.
The Beehive Collective presents picture-lectures at over 300 locations on tour, and since 2001 has distributed over 160,000 posters by hand.

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