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Poetry, painting, portfolios: More creative activities

Paint quickly or leisurely and share a sliver of your life.  (Photo Ankhesenamun 96 / Unsplash)

We are weeks into our “stay home / stay healthy” quarantines and some of us may be going a little stir crazy.  Others may feel uninspired or bored.

Yet we need to following our governors’ mandates and stay away from friends, school, clubs and gatherings and coffee shops.  We still may partake of  parks – and plenty of creative activities at home.  For while our patience and peace of mind may be running out, our creativity will continue.

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use the more you have,” poet Maya Angelou said. 

So get started on one or two of this week’s creative ideas for challenging times:

Listen to poetry. Head to Poetry Out Loud and listen to old time and contemporary poems read by actors and poets. Maybe you will head to a park and listen to or read a poem. The site also has some amazing collections of poems, focused on spring and cityscapes.  We like the wide array and diversity of poets represented and appreciate the ease of searching for a poem. We wish there were more poems recordings but perhaps with another month of stay at home, stay safe, there will be!

Learn to be happier.   Yale University’s most popular class starts this week – and it will introduce anyone to the Science of Wellbeing. “We think we need to change our life circumstances to become happier,” Laurie Santos, a Yale psychology professor told CNN.  Yet it’s often the little things like social connections or gratitude that matter most. Sign up for free on Coursera; it will take about 19 hours to complete. 

Be a “two-minute genius.”   Artist and writer Danny Gregory‘s book Art Before Breakfast offers oodles of exercises and activities to encourage visual artists to create, sometimes while eating eggs or biscuits. We are savoring his exercises at lunch and dinnertime too, and recommend one the calls “Two-minute genius.” Divide a page in your sketch book into eight or ten or more squares. Then take two minutes “to draw anything you see in one of those squares….It’ll make you want to fill more and more squares every day,” Gregory wrote.  He wants us to document our lives, and in these times we should have plenty to sketch.

Work on your portfolio.   Start organizing your portfolio – whether you’re applying to colleges or seeking a gallery to represent you or expanding your creative website.  Make sure you get outside advice and share some stories behind the art you created. This advice comes from California College for the Arts.   And don’t stop at one; you may need a few different portfolios

Paint imperfectly.  Set up your paints and then set the timer for 55 minutes. Create something in an hour, and suspend all your judgment about it.  It could be messy and incomplete.  It could need another hour to get better.  The important thing is getting it going and knowing that it’s only a short time out of your day – but a time without boredom or worry or unhappiness.

We know these are not perfect for everyone. So for more ideas on creative projects for challenging times, check our first posts, which featured writing or drawing your pet,  depicting yourself as fruit, learning faceprinting and singing along to ’60s music.

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Holiday cards: back story and today’s beauties

Sir Henry Cole’s first holiday card.

 

Credit or blame Sir Henry Cole for the tradition of sending holiday cards to family or friends.

The man who would go on to become the first leader of the Victoria and Albert Museum created what the Smithsonian magazine says is the first Christmas card in 1840. That’s when he realized he did not have enough time to send hand written notes to all his friends. It would have been impolite to allow their greetings to go unreturned, so he approached an artist friend, who drew a family celebrating the holidays surrounded by people helping the poor. His time saving tool was, the Smithsonian magazine said, the first Christmas card.

Very soon, others followed his lead, and the practice grew with the industrial revolution and as women took the role of connecting far-flung family members. Card quality improved along with image reproductions and an array of greetings featuring landscapes, sporting themes and more varied images, instead of merely showing cherub and children singing in snow storms.

By the late 1800s, people collected Christmas cards the way they collected coins as card makers organized competitions for new images.  

Mint Artists Guild’s first holiday card was inspired by an image by alumni Espacia Fotiu. She hand painted cards and gave one to Mint’s co-founders Vickie Elmer and Mark Loeb in appreciation for their help in launching her creative career.  The next year, in 2016, Mint debuted its holiday card featuring a tree surrounded by a community of peaceful people.

A year later, we celebrated the holidays in Palmer Park, with a card designed by intern and former Summer Worker Alana Rider. It depicted the historic Palmer Park Log Cabin, decked in snow and holiday lights. (The Log Cabin never uses electric lights, so that’s artistic license; it is being restored by our friends and partners the People for Palmer Park.).

Trees, starry nights and the historic Log Cabin in Palmer Park show up on our earlier Mint holiday cards.

Mint skipped a holiday card in 2018, but we’re bringing forth a beauty this year. Our new holiday card is based on a beautiful painting of poinsettias by Annie Kinney, who often paints floral pieces.  It is bright and bold and features the flower that blooms in millions of homes, churches and businesses at the holidays. (How the poinsettia became the flower of the holidays is a story for another time, though read this article for some cool history.)

The Mint poinsettia card  debuted in November at the TedXDetroit and Detroit Institute of Arts pop ups. It will be available during the holidays at the Detroit Artists Market, at Germack Cafe in Eastern Market and soon at WSG Gallery in Ann Arbor.  Or join us at  our Mint pop ups at Eastern Market on Dec. 1, Dec. 8 and Dec. 22 and at Noel Night on Dec. 7.

Sir Henry Cole wants you to send some Mint cards this year.

Mint’s new holiday card features the beautiful flowers of Annie Kinney.

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Tea and friendship

Guests at our first Mint Tea, held in a home in Ann Arbor.

 

Friendships start in many places.  Ours are starting in homes and offices, in galleries and studios, over tea and cookies or tea and granola bars.

We have started a new “friend-raiser” called Mint Teas, most of which will take place in individuals’ homes.  They bring together a group of creative or entrepreneurial people who are interested in the work Mint Artists Guild does, or intrigued by our mix of business and entrepreneurship training and creative projects.

The first one took place this summer in Ann Arbor, hosted by a creative entrepreneur who has purchased Mint art and donated to us before. She invited a handful of friends:  artists, a teacher, a financial type and a former museum leader.  Mint brought along cool iced tea, one of our emerging artists and some stories on our early successes.

Now that colder weather is here, we look forward to serving hot tea and sharing stories about some of our alumni, such as Damon FirstBorn Chamblis, who was honored as our Featured Alumni at Mint Masterpieces. 

 Anyone may host a Mint Tea in a business, a home, a community center or someplace else. So please, get in touch. Select a date; set a goal for your fundraising and let’s drink to our creativity and growth!

Host a Mint tea – it’s easy and fun. (Photo: MorgueFile)

 

 

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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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Summertime wish list: Give us mosaics and gift cards and more!

We wish for art supplies. Photo: MorgueFile

Mint is getting ready for a busy summer of art making – and free arts and crafts in Palmer Park.
And as they say it takes a village, so we are asking our village to give us some supplies.  These all will be used by our teen artists for creative community art projects.

Here’s our summertime wish list:

Art supplies:

  • Artist sketch pads
  • Canvases 8 x 10 or 18 x 24, or other sizes
  • Mosaic materials – high quality hot-fired smaller tiles in blues, purple, white, yellow, green, orange. (We have plenty of reds)
  • child-friendly, washable markers for arts and crafts
  • Acrylic paint mediums and gels
  • Paint brushes, variety of sizes, new or gently used
  • A glue gun

Other needs: 

  • Rolls of paper towels and tissues, for our studio / summer workers and apprentices
  • Digital camera, prefer one with video capabilities
  • A coat rack
  • Sturdy, heavy duty table (for artists to create on)
  • Gift cards to Meijer, Kroger, Costco, Blick, BJs – to buy snacks, art supplies, cleaning supplies, miscellany
  • Gently used socks – for creating sock puppets
  • Two or three old dictionaries  – for community art projects

You may drop any of these off at the Mint tent at the Jazzin at the Vanity on June 29-30.  Or arrange a time to deliver this to our studio in Palmer Park by contacting us.

If it’s easier to donate money, please give us some today!  And look for details on our Wednesday afternoon free arts and crafts in Palmer Park, starting in July. Open to all!

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Grateful for space for Mint workshops

Mint Artists business and career workshops are held in an array of art galleries, creative businesses and cultural nonprofit workspaces. Last year, Mint met at Galerie Camille, shown, and a now closed gallery in Southwest Detroit. This year, we learn at Inner State Gallery and Mack Alive.

And The Carr Center in downtown Detroit hosts many Mint activities.

We are grateful to these galleries and organizations and their staffs for sharing their creative spaces with Mint and our teen artists.

Mint Learn & Earn artists, here’s the schedule for the four spring workshops:

Today (Feb. 25) – 1:30 – 3:45 pm

Saturday, March 18  10 am – 12:30

Saturday, April 8  – 1:30 – 4 pm

Saturday, April 22  – Timing and location TBD

Check your emails for locations and other details on these workshops. Or watch our private Facebook group for details.

If you own or manage an art gallery or creative business in Detroit and want to host a Mint Artists workshop, please contact our director Vickie Elmer.