Beehive Design Collective part of GV Sustainability Week

GVL/Amalia Heichelbech
Julianna Cole looking at the Art in Calder Art Center.

Amalia Heichelbech

GVL/Amalia Heichelbech Julianna Cole looking at the Art in Calder Art Center.

Briana Doolan

Through the combined efforts of the Beehive Collective and Brett Colley, an associate professor of art at Grand Valley State University, the university opened “Indefinitely” as the backdrop to “The True Cost of Coal” for its Sustainability Week.

Fifteen graduate and undergraduate students worked together to open “Indefinitely,” an art exhibition that explores themes of social and environmental justice.

Students worked with ideas of sustainability and any themes that deal with preventing life from continuing as it is, with the group’s current project focusing on the environmental impact of coal mining.

Colley said the name comes from the idea that sustainability is the capacity for a given ecosystem to flourish indefinitely.

“Human culture is but one of many ecosystems sharing the Earth,” he said. “Artists included in this exhibition were asked to identify and respond to any condition that may impede the successful continuation of all life on our planet, (for example) environmental degradation, excessive consumption, religious extremism, speciesism, tribalism and xenophobia.”

The exhibition opened Monday and closes Nov. 3.

Colley invited The Beehive Collective to return to GVSU’s campus for the first time since 2007. The Collective, which has distributed more than 75,000 posters since its start in 2000, consists of journalist, artist and storytelling “bees.”

“They are a group of artists and storytellers that travel the country after they’ve finished a project,” Colley said. “They have been in Appalachia where they examined the economic and social consequences of coal extraction.”

Colley said the workers collect information and then return home to make art based off their findings.

The collective will bring a large mural that addresses coal extraction and mountaintop removal in Appalachia. The mural seeks to understand energy resource extraction and make other more aware of the subsequent chaos facing the world today.

The Beehive Design Collective will present “The True Cost of Coal,” tonight at 7 p.m. in the Padnos Student Art Gallery, located in the Calder Arts Center. The event is open to the public, but donations will be accepted.

Learn more about the group at

[email protected]