Moonbats Postershop, A Culture Wars Lemonade Stand
The long, cherished History of posters as seeds for grassroots messaging is the story of yet another analog creative medium ripe for revival. The Original Gangster of memes, a simple paper rectangle that visually conveys an idea or an event that one can post up and point to, prompting a memory, battle cry, or story from the heart, perseveres as one of the most contagiously beloved methods of cultural organizing work.
Portland, with its enthusiastic support for alternative arts venues, is fertile ground to launch a Third Space defibrillation of the poster form. Moonbats Postershop is planning to launch a fully bricks and mortar, old-school-simple-as-possible, late-night inspiration dispensary, in the heart of the lively State Theatre block of Congress Street. Open four days a week from Two to Midnight, Moonbats will provide a much needed place for folks to soak and palaver amidst accessible imagery celebrating nature, culture and protest. Artist-led and designed, Moonbats Postershop is an arts and activism solidarity effort, of the no-profit variety. Not a non-profit, and not a place for traditional sales. Heavily distilled from 20+ years of experience directing the Beehive Design Collective and essentially the opportunity for a "best-of solo album" of its founder, Moonbats is the Southern Maine sproutback of the much-loved Beehive phenomenon, with a massive audience both Global and Local, as well as a lifetime of networking with other printmakers and dedicated changemakers aboard. Customer donations will fund a rotating inventory of posters and prints purchased upfront, directly from artists.
Kehben Grier, a proud latchkey kid, grew up in the printing industry, making elaborate black and white collages from oversize clip art subscription books afterschool. Having been raised with the nod of approval that an artist and activist is a legitimate role in society, she wandered off at the age of 13 to run free in the homemade subcultures of punk rock. As a '90s-era anti-globalization organizer, her life took a sharp turn after the WTO protests in Seattle, and the Beehive Design Collective was formed from that groundswell of creative energy. Aiming for a long haul local base for what had become an international organization, she spent the next 20 years dedicated to the Easternmost County of Maine. When the dark clouds of the Culture Wars formed from the 2016 U.S. election, rural Maine became inhospitable for the all-volunteer organization, and she now resides in Portland, planting seeds for a joyous sproutback.
Cover image: Illustrators collaborating on Mesoamerica Resiste, one poster made by 23 anonymous volunteers and 10 years of time