Bee Artists & Thorny Singers

activist art groups create as they educate on major issues

Lindsey Quinnies

The Raw Deal will be buzzing as it hosts a traveling group of activist artists called the Beehive Design Collective on their tour for Earth Week. This group of volunteer activists based out of Maine, traveling by bike, has a mission to “cross-pollinate the grassroots” through the creation of anti-copyright, collaborative images that both educate and organize the public on issues such as corporate globalization, food and agriculture, and geopolitical matters. By encouraging reproduction of the images they create, they hope to spread details on issues they are passionate about. The graphics campaign they will feature this year has been two years in the making and is called “The True Cost of Coal.” This graphic offers an intricate account of the consequences that exist due to mountaintop removal coal mining. Beehive’s methods are based strongly in sharing personal stories. The group spent the past two years gathering hundreds of community member’s personal anecdotes, which are interlaced in a patchwork quilt. These are portrayed in their giant poster alongside historical and statistical information that supports them. Through visual representations and interactive discussions, the Bees guide viewers through their massive banner style of the image that depicts “understanding of contemporary struggles about energy and coal.” Alongside the Bees are a community based folk music group called Thistle and Thorns. They have strong roots in “radical environmental and social messages” with members having experience in organizations such as Madison Occupy movement and Food Not Bombs.

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