Down East’s Beehive Design Collective raises nearly $118,000 in support of anti-globalization artwork

Members of Beehive Design Collective at work earlier on the group's Mesoamérica Resiste poster.
Members of Beehive Design Collective at work earlier on the group's Mesoamérica Resiste poster.
Posted Dec. 11, 2013, at 10:58 a.m.

MACHIAS, Maine — A liberal activist group known for producing graphic art materials in support of environmental and other causes has raised just under $118,000 in a few weeks for its latest project, a poster attacking globalization in the Americas.

Using the Kickstarter website service, the Beehive Design Collective has received pledges from nearly 3,000 people and far surpassed its goal of $36,000. The fundraising campaign ended Tuesday evening.

“We have been pleasantly surprised” by the amount that has been pledged toward the fundraising goal, Matt Smith, a member of the collective, said Monday. The campaign began Nov. 18.

The funds will be used to pay for printing and distribution of the group’s Mesoamerica Resiste poster — the final piece in a trilogy of graphic art about globalization in the Americas, said Smith. In the next few months, the Beehive will produce fabric versions of the poster as well as banners and posters.

Smith said the money also will be used to pay fees to Kickstarter and Amazon and to cover expenses for touring. Members of the collective go on tour, giving speaking engagements about various social and environmental issues with the aid of their art work, combining lecturing with storytelling.

The group deliberately set a low goal “hoping people would give beyond that, which they have with flying colors.”

The collective has used Kickstarter for fundraising efforts in the past, noted Smith.

The collective has about 20 members in Maine, other states, countries and continents. There are 11 at the group’s base in Machias although six are currently on tour.

The latest poster was about nine years in development and production, a process that included grassroots research and collaborative design and pencil and ink drawings.

The collective produces images to be used as educational and organizational tools. “We use cartoons and storytelling to break down big issues from the overwhelming world we live in, connecting the dots between social and environmental issues, and cultural and ecological diversity,” the group says on its website.

The collective also has collaborated in developing graphic materials in support against free trade, mountaintop removal coal mining, biotechnology and other causes.

It also has been involved in more mundane local projects, notably helping to restore the Machias Valley Grange Hall and sponsoring the Blackfly Ball during the annual Machias Wild Blueberry Festival.

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