The Beehive Collective

Tuesday morning, hour long presentations by members and invited speakers began. One of the latter is Nicole DeBarber from a group called The Beehive Collective ( The collective is a revolving group of people who have volunteered for decades to combining art, education and activism.

The Collective approaches their art as the creation of a teaching tool. Today's presentation was on the creation of a poster drawn on an 8 by 4 foot piece of watercolor paper, inked on over a 9 year period by multiple artists, with multiple research trips to Central America to gather the stories of the people and learn about the glories and dangers of living there. The poster tells of the cultural myths/history and the environment, as well as the corporate planning of the future of the region.

The collective decides on a project of environmental concern, then maps out a plan of action to tell the story, do research on the ground through contacts on the location, and create designs that intertwine across the canvas. The results are astounding the eye. These projects usually take 2-3 years (they did one on mountain top removal mining in this time frame). However the "Mesoamerica Resiste!" took nine years for many reasons that are a part of the story we heard today.

The resulting work has been turned into a 2-sided 3 by 6 foot poster that folds into a square to tell the story of the region, then opens up and turns over to show the history and culture. Each copy of the poster comes with a booklet explaining the stories intertwined throughout the poster. In addition they have the posters turned into banners at 200% the original size, printed on cloth made of recycled plastic bottles. These can be hung or placed on the ground during educational events to have teachers, storytellers, students and public interact with it. These banners can be stepped on, and last for years.

The Collective's efforts are exactly in line with the focus of our two keynote speakers - Reconnecting and educating youth, and the public around the world, with nature, environment, and sustainable culture.

Visit their site to see more of their distinctive design work, activism, and purchase their art.

See more posts from the GNSI 2014 Conference in Boulder CO here on our Facebook page.

Article Type: