Beehive Design Collective

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The Beehive Design Collective
Two Collective members present a giant version of Plan Colombia at PNCA, Portland, Oregon.
Founded 2000
Focus resistance to corporate globalization
Area served
Method graphical media
the Beehive Collective's 6 ft. tall Plan Colombia poster

The Beehive Design Collective is a volunteer-driven non-profit arts organization that uses graphical media as educational tools to communicate stories of resistance to corporate globalization. [1] The purpose of the group, based in Machias, Maine, is to "'Cross-pollinate the grassroots" by creating collaborative, anti-copyright images that can be used as educational and organizing tools. The most recognizable of these images are large format pen and ink posters, which seek to provide a visual alternative to deconstruction of complicated social and political issues ranging from globalization, free trade, militarism, resource extraction, and biotechnology.

Graphic campaigns[edit]

The Collective creates graphic campaigns addressing diverse geo- and socio-political issues. The illustrations are informed and developed through extensive research. The most recent campaign resulted from travel to Mexico and interviews of a broad spectrum of people. The group adheres to self-imposed rules during their campaign production, including absence of literal human depictions, use of cross-cultural imagery, and avoidance of cultural appropriation.[2]

The current trilogy in progress details globalization in the western hemisphere through a series of three graphics.


The Collective's educational work involves storytelling, international lecture circuits using giant reproductions of their posters as storytelling aids. "Picture lectures" feature a 30-feet high graphic and a 6-foot-tall (1.8 m) fabric flipbook/storybook. Audiences are led through a two-hour interactive, conversational presentation. [3]

Print distribution[edit]

One of the Beehive's goals in their graphic distribution is to have 50% of each print run distributed to communities in the global south free of charge. The remaining half are distributed internationally for donations. Posters are distributed at a wide range of venues, events, college campuses and academic events.

All of the Beehive Collective's materials are distributed as anti-copyright, and their production is encouraged for non-profit, non-commercial use to assist in publications and productions. The black and white imagery is designed to facilitate ease of reproduction. The Beehive distributes free clip-art digital imagery via their website and graphic CD-ROMs distributed from their webstore.

Graphic chronology[edit]

  • Biodevastation (2000, redux 2002) [2]
  • Homogenization Puppeteer (2000) more info
  • Free Trade Area of the Americas (2001, redux 2003) [3]
  • Plan Colombia (2002, redux 2003) [4][4]
  • Latin American Solidarity 2003 Conference (2003) [5]
  • Maine Social Forum (2006) [6]
  • Biojustice (2007) [7]
  • The True Cost of Coal (2010) [8]
  • Mesoamérica Resiste (2013) [9]

Machias Valley Grange Hall[edit]

Installing a new roof on the Machias Valley Grange Hall.

Since the year 2000, the Collective has been engaged in the restoration of the Machias Valley Grange Hall, located in Machias, Maine.,[5] built in 1904. The restoration labor was sourced from visiting volunteers. The building was initially used as the Collective's center of its stone mosaics program.

Annually, the Collective throws a no-cost dress-up dance party of immense proportions called the "Blackfly Ball".[6][7] There are ongoing events such as a weekly Open Mic night and annual Halloween celebration.

In 2007, the Machias Valley Grange Hall was placed onto the National Register of Historic Places.[8] The group also received the Maine State Historic Preservation Excellence Award.[citation needed]


  1. ^ ""Drawing Common Ground: An Interview with Lara Bee of the Beehive Design Collective:". Upping the Anti: a journal of theory and action. 12: 55–71. 2011. 
  2. ^ About Beehive Graphic Campaigns
  3. ^ Beehive Collective presentation info and presentation schedule
  4. ^ Erler, Carolyn. "Targeting “Plan Colombia”: a Critical analysis of Ideological and Political Visual Narratives by the Beehive Collective and the Drug Enforcement administration Museum." Studies in Art Education 50.1 (2008): 83-97.
  5. ^ About the Grange Hall
  6. ^ They had a Ball - Ellsworth American news report on the Machias Blackfly Ball [1]
  7. ^ Downeast Coastal Press Eyewitness Account of Blackfly Ball
  8. ^ "(Former) Machias Valley Grange #360, Machias, 1907-1957". Maine Historic Preservation Commission. Retrieved March 12, 2017. 

External links[edit]