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Why we are orchestrating a virtual art fair

The popular Palmer Park Art Fair is not happening this year.

This year is different – so different.

Many many art fairs have been canceled or postponed since March, when states and countries began closing down to protect individuals from COVID-19. Mint Artists Guild artists are not able to sell at the Palmer Park Art Fair and others are in jeopardy this summer.

Our artists have missed out on at least four pop ups, including one in the historic Alger Theater on Detroit’s East Side.

And yet we knew that our artists had been making art during their shelter at home time.  They have worked hard – and some of them are working peacefully to confront racism and unfair treatment. Many face big bills ahead as they prepare to head to the University of Michigan, Georgia State University, College for Creative Studies and elsewhere in the fall.

So Mint Artists Guild is jumping into the unknown by creating its first ever Virtual Art Fair this Saturday, June 6.  Please register here, and invite your friends. Plan to buy something for your Dad, your grad or yourself.  Or plan a brunch and invite in three friends and munch and watch and buy.  The Virtual Art Fair will stream live on our Facebook page and also on our YouTube channel.

We knew little about virtual art events before we started, though our project director Kelly O’Neill had participated in one planned by The Guild.  She is on Mint’s board of directors and creates beautiful sculpture and other pieces from recycled metals.

We want our young artists to sell their work on Saturday – or through the next week.  Yet we know that times are tight and so we need to seek other benefits and possibilities from creating this new event. Here are three of them.

Connect. This new online format gives us wider reach well beyond the Michigan border. With a virtual fair, buyers may live in Dallas or the Mississippi Delta, Queens or Quebec.  Our Mint greeting cards could end up in a gallery in San Francisco or Sanabel Island and so could artists Michael Johnson or Omari June Norman. We think this is important for all artists to grow their audience and connect in new cities.

Learn.  We knew our artists could learn a lot by preparing for the Mint Virtual Art Fair. So we created a workshop that taught them to create an artist studio tour video and to share some of their tricks and techquines. Their videos are an integral part of the fair – and will be valuable to them for future events too.  We are helping them refine their pricing of their art. They are learning too how to focus on and manage multiple priorities:  school,  their creative work, family needs and for some, Black Lives Matter and other peaceful campaigns.

“I always want to stay focused on who I am, even as I’m discovering who I am,” singer Alicia Keys has said.  She’s not performing on Saturday but we have two other amazing musicians who will: Sky Covington and Mahogany Jones.

Pivot.   We want Mint to model adaptability and an entrepreneurial ability to seek out new and different opportunities.  We may not know as much about the digital world as Microsoft, Netflix or Quicken Loans, but we can develop an online sales platform and create new ways of connecting with people through art and storytelling.

This photograph by Mint Alumni Omari June is part of our fair. It is called Frozen in Time – and we are the opposite of that.

You will meet them all the artists on Saturday,  so today I will just tell you that they are wonderful and creative and work in a wide variety of mediums: duct tape, oil paint, photography, mixed media, sterling silver wire and acrylic paint.  Every day we are adding new pieces of their work to the Mint Shop.  Yes, everything already is for sale – and our seven artists and alumni receive almost all the proceeds. Mint takes a 20 percent commission, one of the lowest among nonprofits in Michigan, and charges no fees to join our programs.

“The pessimist seems difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty,” British Prime Minister Winston Churchill one said.  We are the optimists who know that this time, so difficult and horrifying and uncertain, will open doors and create new paths for Mint and for our artists.

Join us on Saturday as we open a beautiful new door.

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Meet Mint Artists jeweler and board member Trinity

Trinity Brown at a Mint pop up in Eastern Market, December 2019. (Photo: Vickie Elmer)

Trinity Brown learned wire wrapping herself while on a break from dancing, following tips on a YouTube video.  She had had surgery on her back for scoliosis. She started doing shows at 13 and soon joined Mint, the youngest artist to start in our Learn and Earn program.  

She is a senior at University High School Academy in Southfield, where she’s on the varsity tennis team, captain of the UHSA Dance Co. and the Student Congress.  She worked as a Wolverine Pathways intern for Mint over the summer. And she also has served on Mint Artists Guild’s board of directors for two years.

She sets a goal for how much she intends to sell at each show.  And in 2019, she applied for and participated in the Ann Arbor Art Fair. 

“Mint has taught me everything I need to turn my art into a career…. Mint means everything to me and my art,” said Trinity.

She established the Curved Emerging Artists Show in 2018, with support and coaching by Mint and two of its cofounders. It has grown to almost 50 artists in 2019. 

She is known for wire wrapping during board meetings, Mint events and anywhere. And she’s the artist who wants to create and sell more jewelry – and help other artists sell more of their work too.

Trinity Brown, standing outside the Mint Studios in Palmer Park. (Photo ©Keith Emmerich for Mint)

Fun fact:  She hardly ever wears her own jewelry, because when she does, people buy it from her fingers or neck.  That’s especially true for her best selling copper pendants.

Future plans: Attend a leading business school focused on entrepreneurship and art.  

See her work:  On Instagram at @TrinsWireCreation or many Mint events.  

Hear more from Trinity in this 2018 video.

 

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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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Final four emerging artists at the Palmer Park Art Fair

© Oluwaseyi Akintoroye

© Selene Craddock

Mint Artists will have a full tent at the Palmer Park Art Fair this weekend.  We’ve been introducing you to our emerging artists bit by bit, blog post by blog post.

Here are the final four, who we hope you come buy and buy from in person on June 1 or 2:

Oluwaseyi Akintoroye creates photographs of nature, and increasingly of people and scenes from Detroit and around Michigan. She also sometimes works in water color or acrylic paints and she attends Cass Tech.

Selene Craddock makes felted animals that look very lifelike – from lambs to butterflies and elephants.  Appropriately enough, the CASA and Clawson High School student will work at the Detroit Zoo this summer.

Jessica Fligger is new to Mint, and also lives fairly close to Palmer Park. She creates both paintings and ceramic tiles and pieces, and works with Mint Ambassador Barbara Barefield as her mentor.

Lia Massey is graduating from Cass Technical High School this year. She designs and creates original fashions and gowns (including the prom dress shown) and paintings of women wearing fashion apparel.

Meet all our artists in person – and buy their beautiful work at the Palmer Park Art Fair ! Hours are Saturday 10-7 and Sunday 11-5.

Prom dress by Lia Massey

© Jessica Fligger

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Meet this trio of Mint Artists at the Palmer Park Art Fair

© Eleanor Aro

© Journey Shamily

Today we introduce you to two newcomers to Mint Artists Guild and one artist, who at 16, is a seasoned pro.

Eleanor Aro joined Mint in 2017, and has been going and growing ever since then. She attends Western, paints mostly cityscapes in watercolor and acrylics. Her work has sold at a the Detroit Artists Market gala and many fairs.

Journey Shamily joined Mint last fall, and has been at a couple of Mint pop ups with us with her digital art. Home schooled, Journey mainly likes to depict women.

Kamiri Williams is new to Mint, and is a digital artist who likes cartooning and showing. She attends Arts Academy in the Woods and this is her first fine art fair.

These three are our third trio of artists featured in the blog previewing the Palmer Park Art Fair. Read about Trinity, Anne and Alexis in this post and about our second trio of artists, all from Cass Tech.  And most importantly, come by and buy from all the artists June 1 or 2 in Palmer Park.

© Kamiri Williams

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Second trio of Mint Artists attend Cass Tech; that’s where similarity ends

© Prince Matthews

© Dawāyna. Banks

These three Mint Artists all attend Cass Technical High School – and yet they got to know each other through Mint.  All three will be in our group tent June 1 and 2 at the Palmer Park Art Fair.

They are:

Dawāyna Banks  draws and works in digital arts, often showing people, in love or in other emotions.  Dawāyna is heading to Michigan State University in the fall, and plans a career as an animator or graphic designer.

Prince Matthews creates appealing abstract paintings using acrylics, alcohol, salt and other tools.  Quiet and hard working,  Prince recently had his work in the professional show All Together Now, and was introduced to the curator by Mint.

De’Shaia Ventour  works magic with duct tape, creating flower pens, accessories – and original art canvases.  Smiling and organized, De’Shaia has an entrepreneurial approach to art, and she recently joined the Mint board of directors.

Read about the first three artists featured in this post. And watch for more posts about the rest of our 13 Mint Learn and Earn artists who will have such a wide variety of work for sale June 1 and 2 at the Palmer Park Art Fair.

© De’Shaia Ventour

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Meet three Mint Artists and buy their work at Palmer Park

© Anne Kinney

© Trinity Brown

We are less than a month away from the Palmer Park Art Fair on June 1 and 2. And all our artists are working diligently to create work, plan their displays and prepare to show and sell their work during the juried boutique art fair

Palmer Park Art Fair is one of Mint’s two largest events of the year – and we invite you to attend.

So to whet your appetite, we have a series of blog posts that introduce the 13 or so artists who will be in our group tent.  Here’s three artists to start:

Trinity Brown creates wire wrapped jewelry using copper and sterling silver wire and semi precious stones. She has been active with Mint for several years and now serves on our board of directors. (Read her advice to artists on preparing for a big event in our blog.)

Anne Kinney is new to Mint, and she paints beautiful florals using water color, and sometimes pastels, charcoal or other mediums. She attends Clawson High School and has been an active volunteer, helping out at craft shows and more.

Alexis Wright attends Cass Technical High School and intends to go to Wayne State University in the fall. She works in digital art and acrylic painting. Alexis created the popular marbled paper at our youth-led art workshops.

These three artists and another 10 are working hard to prepare for their first fine art fair,  or in Trinity’s case her 10th plus. So please meet them in person and support their creative entrepreneurship on June 1 or 2!

© Alexis Wright

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Space it out in preparing for major event

Trinity Brown creates and sells jewelry – often a lot of it – at the Mint tent at the Palmer Park Art Fair.

At a recent Mint workshop, she shared how she sometimes has procrastinated on finishing work, adding the hooks to earrings the night before the fair and created many pieces in the final days beforehand.

This year, though, she is getting ahead, ordering jewelry making supplies easier. She is setting aside some stock specifically to sell to Palmer Park Art Fair patrons on June 1 and 2, and will not post it online ahead of time. (She sells on her website and on Instagram and Etsy too.)

“Give yourself some time” to create art for a major event, she told Mint Learn and Earn artists in her Teens Teaching Teens segment.

“Space it out” when you’re creating art.

Avoiding last minute preparations sounds simple, and it will give artists time for special commissions and other serendipity that shows up two days before a major show.

– © Vickie Elmer, 2019 for Mint

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Join Mint’s Learn & Earn – deadline this week

If you want to share your art with the world – and sell it to art collectors and lovers – it’s time to join Mint Artists Guild.
Emerging artists ages 14 to 20 who are not in college full time are invited to apply to the Mint Learn & Earn program. Deadline to apply is midnight Thursday, Sept. 27.
Apply online by submitting some of the best samples of your creative work and tell us about yourself.
Artists who are selected will be notified by Oct. 5 and may join Mint at some of our holiday pop ups and events.

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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.