Shunpike is a non-profit arts organization providing services, resources and opportunities for Washington State’s independent arts groups. It currently services some 200 independent arts groups across the State. Engaged in all forms of artistic endeavor, this ‘hive’ collaborates with an estimated 5,000 artists annually, creating 2,500 new works seen by 500,000 people.

Imagine the lessons learned by these groups. Years of entrepreneurial artistic activity, combined with a DIY attitude and grassroots methodology, has spawned a hotbed of experience and collective intelligence that represents a rich databank of untapped knowledge. Imagine what peer-to-peer lessons could be shared amongst the swarm given the right opportunity. Imagine a buzzing network of learning and collaboration without a traditional ‘expert’ in sight.

Through Hive Mind, Shunpike seeks to harness and share the collective intelligence of independent arts groups and artistic collaborators for the benefit of the broader artistic community. We want to move beyond a local arts ecology where individual groups are going about their business with limited interaction with one another, and where some groups survive and others fade simply because of their access to real-world knowledge. We want to engender an ecology where the ‘bar is raised’ for everyone and where ‘success’ is defined as achievement for all.

Hive Mind bypasses the traditional model of capacity-building programs, embracing a more agile, self-organized framework that allows for greater peer interaction and collaboration. The program is informed through the active contribution of a Project Advisory Group.

We begin, in 2015, with a series of events focused on key challenges faced by our community, as articulated by our Project Advisory Group:

  • Honey (April 16, 2015): How independent arts groups find the resources to sustain their creative work
  • Hive (June 25, 2015): Innovative business structures that empower independent arts groups
  • Cross-Pollination (September 10, 2015): How creative collaborations nurture the arts ecosystem
  • Buzz (November 12, 2015): Creative approaches to marketing, promotion, and community engagement