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Silence: Spoken word artist Ife Martin’s winning poem

We asked young poets to share their words, their passion and their perspective around the prompt of Detroit’s motto:

“We hope for better things. It shall rise from the ashes.”

Ife Martin wrote passionately about Detroit and she performed her piece on Livernois during the debut of the Mint Showcase. She is one of our 2020 Metro Detroit Youth Arts Competition winners, and a high school student from West Bloomfield.

Here is a line from her poem Silence:

Our fire glows against the same moonlit sky that silhouettes our city

A beacon of hope that shines bright through the darkness

A promise – our forever flames burns.”

Poem is © Ife Martin and please see her perform it all in this video, created by Mint marketing director Kelly O’Neill:

Her piece is one of three winners who chose the “rise from the ashes” theme. Other visual pieces are on display in windows along Livernois. as the  Mint Showcase on Livernois continues through Nov. 1.

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Forget the cape. Read these hero books for children and for all

Firefighters often are heroes, saving lives and homes. (Photo: MorgueFile)

Some heroes live in apartments and some live in stories. Some fight fires and some fight climate change or racism or sexism. Many firefighters are our heroes, especially in the wild fires in California, Oregon and elsewhere.

Books about heroes are as varied as the heroes in our Heroes: Now & Then exhibit at The Scarab Club in Detroit. (Visit Wednesdays through Sundays 12-5 pm and please wear a mask!)  Some are fiction and fairy tales and others spring from headlines of today or yesterday.

Mint asked two book shops – Book Beat in Oak Park and Pages Book Shop in Detroit – to recommend books about heroes that will appeal to children and teens. They gave us many great choices.

Book Beat recommends several books – and please order them direct here:

Words Set Me Free by Lesa Cline-Ransome.  Though born into slavery, Frederick Douglass learned something forbidden: to read and write.  This ability changed the course of his life. As a young man, Douglass escaped slavery on the Underground Railroad. His talent as an orator was noticed. His autobiography, “The Narrative Life of Frederick Douglass” (read excerpts here) and his career as a lecturer and journalist made him one of the most important voices for the abolition of slavery in the United States. 

Miep and the Most Famous Diary by Meeg Pincus.  Typist Miep Gies was one of the people who sheltered Anne Frank, author of “The Diary of a Young Girl,” and her family. Though it put Gies’ life at risk, she hid them in the “Secret Annex” for two years as Nazis occupied the Netherlands. She found Anne’s diary and saved it from the Nazis after the Frank family was arrested. She wanted to return Anne’s diary to her after the war. Miep did not consider herself a hero for doing what she did, rather she claimed it was one’s “human duty.” (Read the Scholastic interview with Miep Gies to learn more.) By preserving Anne Frank’s words and sheltering her, Miep gave voice to a young girl’s dreams, shared the devastation and cruelty of war and the ways a girl coped with it.

Our House is on Fire by Jeanette Winter. No One is Too Small to Make a Difference– Greta Thunberg speeches  At school, Greta Thunberg learned

One of the recommended books about Greta Thunberg.

about the effects of climate change and became obsessed with learning more. But what could she do? She always felt invisible. At 15, she decided to protest each Friday at the Parliament Building in Stockholm.  She was joined by other children from around the world. She was invited to speak about climate change at the United Nations Climate Summit and World Economic Forum , and her words inspired a worldwide children’s march. Today Greta Thunberg leads the world to confront climate change and the problems it creates.

Follow Greta on Instagram and read about her too.

Pages Bookshop recommends three books about heroes, including another book about Greta Thunberg. Order them online here using the search box:

Greta’s Story: The Schoolgirl who went on Strike to Save the Planet by Valentina Camerini. Greta Thunberg is a teenager who has shown the world that no one is too young to make a difference. This biography is great for 8-12 year olds who are interested in what small steps they can take to make change and what other folks are doing on climate change.

Bold & Brave: Ten Heroes Who Won Women the Right to Vote by Kirsten Gillibrand. Commemorating the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, this picture book biography introduces children to 10 women who worked in a variety of ways to help secure women’s right to vote. Through their stories, learn about the many fights involved in making the voting process inclusive for everyone, a right still being fought for today. This book is written by a U.S. Senator from New York.

Pages recommends this book for older youth.

How Dare the Sun Rise: Memoirs of a War Child by Sandra Uwiringiyimana with Abigail Pesta. The author survived a massacre in the Democratic Republic of Congo when she was a child, but not all of her family survived with her. Uwiringiyimana  fled to America as a refugee and became involved in art and activism as a way to connect to community and process what she went through. Pages recommends this book for ages 13 and up.

Both Pages and Book Beat offer curb-side pick-up of books. When you order, please tell them Mint Artists Guild sent you.  And please take time to see our Heroes: Now & Then before Oct. 10 when it closes at The Scarab Club.

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Meet us on Livernois for so much creativity and connection

This mural on Livernois featuring Stevie Wonder was painted by artist Michael Owen.

In a fashionable move into one of the most creative neighborhoods in Detroit, Mint will spend most of October on Livernois.

Known as the Avenue of Fashion, the mile-long strip of Livernois between Seven and Eight Mile roads houses a half dozen art galleries and a similar number of creative businesses, murals by local and national artists, Baker’s Keyboard Lounge, which dates back to 1933, and an array of restaurants, many of them Black owned.   Newer restaurants including Kuzzo’s and Bucharest Grill have opened in recent years as well as boutiques offering make up, hats or shoes.

Why are we arranging this month long series on Livernois? First and foremost because we believe the art created by youth deserves to be seen and celebrated in Detroit. But also Mint knows that Black businesses have struggled in the pandemic and many need to connect with new customers.  It is near our home in Palmer Park, so we spend lots of time there. And Livernois has been good to us, with businesses there supporting us since we were a tiny baby nonprofit.  We also are grateful to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation for support of the Youth Arts Competition this year.

Here is our schedule of events for the first Mint Showcase:

Friday, Oct. 2 – The Mint Showcase on Livernois debuts 4 – 6 pm, with an opportunity to meet some of our Metro Detroit Youth Arts Competition winners.   Mint will unveil its new Michigan Influential Woman limited edition giclee’ print at Sherwood Forest Art Gallery at 5:30 pm; a piece that follows in Mint’s Rosa Parks print.

Saturday, Oct. 3 – Mint Showcase continues. Buy youth art, see artist demonstrations, hear their stories. Artists will pop up in four businesses from 12 – 5 pm. Hear the spoken word poem of Youth Arts Competition winner Ife Martin outside Jo’s Gallery Cafe at around 1:30 pm

Saturday, Oct. 17 – The Mint Art Walk is a beautiful outdoor benefit that introduces you to artists and Black businesses along Livernois. Tickets cost $15 each, or $35 for VIP tickets which include gifts from Mint.  Guests may join a small guided group at 10 am or 1:30 pm, or take a self-guided walk if they prefer.  Future Mint Art Walks will take place in Eastern Market, Midtown Detroit and the Palmer Park area.

Saturday, Oct. 31 – Halloween arts and crafts, 11 am – 1:30 pm . Come get creative in or in front of two Livernois businesses. Masks are required and costumes encouraged.

So we want to introduce art lovers to four businesses that have supported our nonprofit for years:

This beautiful sun painting is the symbol of the Mint Showcase. It was painted in the Mint Summer Jobs program by worker Alexis Bagley.
  • Akoma – Akomaa creative women’s cooperative is led by artist Mandisa Smith, a talented fiber artist. It is opening in the space that was Detroit Fiber Works.  Akoma will carry some Mint greeting cards and our first poster during the Mint Showcase.
  • Art in Motion – This clay studio, gift shop and creative co-working space offers classes and workshops for children and all ages. It is led by Kay Willingham, who worked as a mosaic teaching artist with Mint  two summers ago. Art in Motion will carry some Mint merchandise during the Showcase.
  • Jo’s Gallery –  Established 25 years ago, Jo’s Gallery sells and promotes local and national artists’ work, jewelry, home decor and framing. It also hosts pop-ups at its Jo’s Gallery Cafe and is led by Garnette Archer, the second-generation owner.
  • Sherwood Forest Art Gallery – Sherwood Forest frames art – lots of it. And it creates high quality artist prints too, for many artists from Judy Bowman to Mint Artists Guild. It sells African artifacts and African American art, local and national. It is owned by a father and son, both former firefighters.

We also will have art in the windows of the soon-to-open Motor City Brewing Works on Livernois. And we are open to collaborating with other Livernois businesses that provide real support to our youth-development and creative careers nonprofit.  Please contact us today if you’d like to join in the creativity and opportunities.

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Success! De’Shaia lands in pro shows with Mint

De’Shaia Ventour, a senior at Cass Tech, started making more elaborate duct tape painting after she joined Mint and sold her work at the Palmer Park Art Fair and other Mint events. 

She still creates beautiful duct tape flower pens and wallets, but her work has gotten bigger, more elaborate and in more venues.

Her duct tape painting Black Roses will be for sale at the All Media Exhibit, beside established artists including Darren Darby, Carole Morriseau, who taught art at Cass Tech, Bryan Tillman and others.

It’s her second time in the Detroit Artists Market. She had a few pieces in the Art for the Holidays show, which just ended.

For the All Media Show, Mint has a second piece at DAM too. The Mint Red Fish mosaic was created in the Mint Creative Summer Jobs program 2018, by a group of artists including Lakiya Ealey, Jordan Johnson and Lia Massey.  Someone who buys  the mosaic fish will support Mint in hiring 12 or more youth in our creative summer jobs program this year.  (All sale proceeds for Black Roses goes directly to De’Shaia Ventour.)

The Red Fish mosaic was created in the Mint Summer Jobs 2018.

The All Media exhibit opens on Friday and is up through Feb. 15 at the Detroit Artists Market, 4917 Woodware Ave., Detroit. The show is curated by Mint co-founder and Vice President Hubert Massey.

Black Rose, a duct tape painting by De’Shaia Ventour.

The De’Shaia video was created by Mint intern Journey Shamily and is © Mint Artists Guild, 2020.

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Don’t miss out! Awesome art, one evening only

This painting by Hughie Lee Smith is part of the eclectic, international collection of attorney Jerome Watson and Judge Deborah Geraldine Bledsoe Ford.

If you love art, and want to see it – a lot of it – in an intimate setting, join us for our party and fundraiser in the art-filled home of Judge Deborah Geraldine Bledsoe Ford and attorney Jerome Watson. It’s one evening only, so don’t miss out.

The Detroit collectors have filled their home with works by internationally known artists Norbert Okpu Peju Aliaese, Hughie Lee Smith and Jacob Lawrence. Also  Detroit / Michigan artists LeRoy Foster, Henry Heading, Bill Murcko and Carl Owens. And many others, including Mint Artists Guild alumni Ackeem Salmon.  

This year, we honor as featured alumni artist Damon FirstBorn Chamblis. His art and offer original and limited edition art of other emerging artists and professional artists  in our Mint Masterpieces silent auction so guests may build their collections.

So “join us for the youth. Stay for the art!”  A limited number of tickets are available Buy your tickets to Mint Masterpieces on Oct. 19 now.

Don’t miss out!

This painting by Hughie Lee Smith is part of the eclectic, international collection of attorney Jerome Watson and Judge Deborah Geraldine Bledsoe Ford.

This painting by artist Hughie Lee-Smith is part of the eclectic, international collection of Judge Deborah Geraldine Bledsoe Ford and attorney Jerome Watson. Buy Mint Masterpieces tickets to see it and so much more.

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Creative, beautiful art at Mint Masterpieces, Part 2

A beautiful mixed media painting by Anthony R. Brass

 

Mint Artists Guild long has depended on artists to support our youth, our programs and our growth. They lead workshops, donate art supplies, give advice and mentoring. And they give their inventive, creative masterpieces for our Mint Masterpieces silent auction.

This year, we are fortunate to have work from artists who have supported us for several years, and some who are new to our creative circle of generosity and growth.

Jewelry maker Jody Mitchell is donating an original necklace made from Tibetan agate and brass. The brass Ashanti stool pendant was purchased at from the MBAD African Bead Gallery in Detroit; the golden stool is the divine throne of the Ashanti people and the ultimate symbol of power in Asante, now central Ghana.  Believed to house the spirit of the Asante nation, living, dead and yet to be born, a royal stool may belong to any chief or any person of consequence.  Mitchell slowly “evolved” an intuitive process for making her one-of-a kind jewelry for more than 20 years. She has a strong affinity for rare and ancient beads because they tell a story

 

 

A metal painting by artist Mike Willenborg.

Mike Willenborg, a machine repair expert and artist, has supported Mint before, by making us one of the beneficiaries of the Scrap Fest, held at the Lexus Velodrome.  He bought tickets to Mint Masterpieces, then donated two pieces of his copper and metal paintings to our silent auction.  Willenborg used to discard old parts and metal pieces, but now he allows them to speak, with “whimsey and weirdness.” Gears, bearings, chains and copper plates all have long lives and many stories to tell. How they become tarantulas and moons and elephants with spider webs for ears, Willenborg says, no one will ever tell.

 

Henry Heading has donated this beautiful heart painting.

Henry Heading‘s beautiful work combine his talent as an artist and as a carpenter. He creates his own frames, and they are works of art that flow from the intricately painted piece. He donated this beautiful heart piece to our silent auction. Heading is new to supporting Mint Artists Guild, and a regular working with Mint co-founder Hubert Massey on large murals and mosaic projects. He also is one of the favorite artists of Mint Masterpieces’ hosts Judge Deborah Bledsoe Ford and attorney Jerome Watson.

Anthony Brass, whose orange hand-tree piece came to us after the Palmer Park Art Fair, is a new supporter of Mint. He learned about our nonprofit from his partner, artist Espacia Fotiu, who is a Mint alumni whose career started in the Mint tent. Brass considers himself a “contemporary surrealist artist” whose work is sold at fine juried art fairs and events. His beautiful orange hand-tree piece is eye catching and will certainly be a beautiful part of the evening of Oct. 19.

The silent auction also is featuring work from collectors. We will offer a wild zebras piece by California artist YESNIK / Dave Kinsey donated by 1XRun co-owner Jesse Corey; one by Detroit artist Ron Scarbough, donated by collectors David and Linda Whitaker, and by photographer Bill Sanders, donated by Mint cofounders Vickie Elmer and Mark Loeb. Also look for many pieces by Mint Artists and alumni featured in an earlier post.

If you want one of these pieces, or you want to be part of the creative future of Detroit, buy your tickets today to our art-filled party on Oct. 19.

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Creative, beautiful art at Mint Masterpieces, Part 1

Mint alumni Maisha Rahman donated this piece called Beauty of Nature to Mint.

Guests at Mint Masterpieces on Oct. 19 will savor art that has been collected  by our co-hosts Judge Deborah Geraldine Bledsoe Ford and attorney Jerome Watson. And they will be able to bid on and take home some art created by Mint Artists as well.

Our silent auction features certainly work by well established artists including Anthony Brass, Donald Calloway, jeweler Jody Mitchell, Michael Willenborg, Ron Scarbough (donated by David and Linda Whitaker) and photographer Bill Sanders (donated by Vickie Elmer and Mark Loeb).  We will share some of their work in a future post or on Facebook.

Guests also will find pieces created by Mint Artists who sold work with us and who worked for us in our Creative Summer Jobs program, including this lovely piece painted over the summer by Bryan Wilson:

Mint Artists Bryan Wilson painted these swans over the summer in our summer jobs program.

We will offer limited edition prints hand printed on rice paper and some other pieces. Buy your ticket now if you want to see them all.

Mint also will recognize Mint alumni Damon FirstBorn Chamblis, who worked for Mint for two summers and is gaining a reputation as an artist who shows up at a wide variety of galleries, one-day art events and fairs. He was part of the Detroit Fine Arts Breakfast Club tent at the Palmer Park Art Fair, after being in the Mint tent there for two years. Here is Damon at a Mint gallery show in 2018:

Damon Chamblis graduated from Henry Ford Academy and dove into art and music making, with support from Mint, his grandmother and others. He is active in the Detroit arts scene and believes in Mint.

Artist Maisha Rahman, who was in the same first Learn and Earn cohort as Damon, decided to study graphic design at Wayne State University. She is a freelance designer as she finishes her bachelor’s degree. She agreed to donate the painting at the top of this post based on her gratitude for Mint’s guidance.

Mint helped both Damon and Maisha develop business skills and confidence. Open the doors for more young artists to grow with Mint by buying your Mint Masterpieces tickets today. And then be sure to bid on this adorable piece that Damon FirstBorn created while working for Mint Artists Guild:

This small painting Boy on a unicycle was painted by Damon FirstBorn in Mint Summer Jobs.

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Don’t Miss This: Their art collection goes on and on, and you may see it for one night only

If you’ve ever wanted to see an art collection that is as eclectic as it is international, Mint Artists Guild is giving you a wonderful opportunity, but only for one evening.
Join us on Oct. 19 for Mint Masterpieces, hosted by Judge Deborah Geraldine Bledsoe Ford and attorney Jerome Watson. They are two art collectors who fill their Palmer Woods home with art from Asia, Africa, Europe – and Detroit. Among them are pieces by artists Hughie Lee Smith, LeRoy Foster, Norbert Okpu and Detroit’s own Henry Heading.  Or consider Jacob Lawrence, who the Smithsonian Institution on American Art calls “the most widely acclaimed African American artist” of the 20th Century.

Watch this video for a tiny sampler of all the art in their home.  Then buy a ticket. A limited number of tickets to Mint Masterpieces are available now online. Each ticket purchased supports the growth of our nonprofit – and gives you access to an art collection that will inspire you to start or grow your own.

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A beautiful fair on Belle Isle; save the date

The Belle Isle Art Fair pops up for one weekend, Aug. 3 and 4, next to Scott Fountain. (Photo: Mint alumni Omari Norman)

Summertime seems better and more beautiful with a trip to Belle Isle. And Belle Isle State Park on a weekend with 100 artists, plus food trucks, tropical drinks and more, sounds like a slice of heaven.

So mark your calendar for Aug. 3 and 4 for the Belle Isle Art Fair, produced by our long-time supporter Integrity Shows. (Mark Loeb, Integrity’s president and founder, is also a co-founder of Mint Artists Guild.)

Mint Artists Guild will be there three times over.

  • Our Learn and Earn artists will show and sell beautiful work: paintings, photographs, jewelry and more.
  • Our Creative Summer Jobs team will lead an arts and crafts project related to gardens.
  • Mint will debut a new greeting card that weekend and will sell cards and prints to support our programs.

So if you cannot face the crowds and hot pavement of Ann Arbor or Wyandotte, come savor a slice of heaven.

Save the date. Mark your calendars. Plan a day with family or friends on Aug. 3 or 4. See you on Belle Isle!

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Meet the creative collectors hosting Mint Masterpieces

Meet the hosts of the 2019 Mint Masterpieces. (Photo © Vickie Elmer)

Our beautiful party with a purpose moves closer to our home this year.   Judge Deborah Geraldine Bledsoe Ford and attorney Jerome Watson will open their art-filled Palmer Woods home to guests on the evening of Saturday, Oct. 19.  Tickets are now on sale to Mint Masterpieces II.

Their collection is expansive and eclectic, featuring a number of pieces by internationally known artists Romare Bearden, Olumide Oresegun,  Huey Lee Smith and others.  Detroit artist also grace many walls and doors, with Henry T. Heading a particular favorite. Their daughter Alana’s art; Judge Ford’s paintings and Mint alumni Ackeem Salmon’s mixed media pieces also are well represented.

Tickets are  available for Mint Masterpieces for $150 for VIPs and $100 for patrons. VIP guests enjoy early entry, a tour and a special gift. Everyone enjoys live music, a wonderful eclectic art collection, fine food and surprises.  Our secure site allows you to buy tickets now and support Mint’s continued growth.

 

 

Judge Ford has always created creative pieces, from crochet to floral arrangements to cake decorating. She started painting almost two years ago and shows her paintings at the Detroit Fine Arts Breakfast Club.  

Her husband is a serious collector who started buying at art fairs and while on vacation. While in Sausalito years ago with his then girlfriend Debbie, Jerome Watson found and purchased their first piece together from a Russian artist.  She saw promise that they liked some of the same art; the piece now hangs in their stairway.

“My goal is to have the best eclectic art collection in the world,” said Judge Ford.

Mint Masterpieces is sponsored by Blossoms, with support from Eric’s I’ve Been Framed Shop, Sherwood Forest Gallery and the Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency.  More corporate and business sponsors are welcome.

For more stories from these wonderful collectors, art patrons and Mint supporters, subscribe to Mint’s YouTube channel.    And unlike the art in this international collection,  tickets for Mint Masterpieces will disappear quickly – so buy yours today!