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Bob Keyes

Bob Keyes has written about the arts in Maine since 2002. He’s never been much an artist himself, other than singing in junior high school chorus and acting in a few musicals. But he’s attended museums, theaters, clubs and concert halls all his life, and cites Bob Dylan as most influential artist of any kind since Picasso. He lives in Berwick.

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Posted: January 15, 2018

Beehive shows its activist art in Portland

Written by: Bob Keyes

Members of the Collective at work.
Photo courtesy of USM
Photo courtesy of USM

One of Maine’s most progressive and socially aware art collectives will show its work this winter at the University of Southern Maine’s Portland campus. “Cross Pollinating the Grassroots: Works of the Beehive Design Collective” opens Monday at USM’s Area Gallery.

For nearly 20 years, members of the Beehive Design Collective have created elaborate, narrative graphics for use by social movements and communities in struggle in the United States and elsewhere. Derived from the ancient tradition of sung stories, these graphics are animated by dozens of artists around the world. Longtime members of the collective, known as “bees,” also lead hands-on skill-sharing workshops with activists. While at USM, the collective will develop graphics alongside campaigns for justice in southern Maine. The exhibition will run through March 29.

The collective is based in Machias.

Emily Simons, a Pittsburgh-based cultural organizer, illustrator and graphic designer, will talk Feb. 16 on the Gorham campus. Simons began her work in art activism as a member of the collective. For more than a decade, she traveled around the U.S. presenting the Beehive’s graphic works to communities in struggle and using arts-based education in social movement contexts. Simons will be an artist in residence at USM through March 9.

“Cross Pollinating the Grassroots: Works of the Beehive Design Collective”

WHEN: Monday through March 29
WHERE: Area Gallery, Woodbury Campus Center, USM, Portland
TALK: Collective member Emily Simons will discuss the work of the Beehive from 1 to 2 p.m. Feb. 16 at Burnham Lounge, Robie Andrews Hall, Gorham

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