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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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Create hundreds of pieces and share your humanity, 1xRun cofounder advises emerging artists

1xRun co-founder Jesse Cory stands with his wife Roula David. (1XRun / StockX photo)

Create. Contemplate. Create some more.  Then market your work.

These are the steps 1XRun co-founder Jesse Cory recommends to emerging artists, to any artists who want to advance their work and themselves.  Artists must understand and articulate their message, their why, he said.  They learn that from contemplation – and by creating a lot of work.  Cory was the guest expert at a Mint Artists Guild workshop on pricing work confidently.

“Be bold. Tell people why you make art,” Cory said, giving his best advice to emerging artists. 

He and the 1xRun team select new artists based on three main factors:

  • Build your talents. They want to be able to see the time dedicated to improving an artist’s craft.
  • Develop a defined aesthetic , or a cohesive color palate.
  • Know your mission. Artists must be clear about why they make the art they create.

“You have to make hundreds and hundreds of pieces of art work,” he said. His art print company 1xRun needs 30 to 40 pieces from one artist to create an edition or series.

Among the dozens of artists whose prints sell through 1xRun are Jon Burgerman,  Carly Chaikin,  Copyright, Bob Dob,  Naturel and Tatiana Suarez.  Denial, the Canadian artists also known as Daniel Bombardier, recently had a month-long takeover of 1xRun   Its artists are local and international, creating fine art, illustration, street art and many other genres.

1xRun’s Bicycle Day Collection 2020 features work from Obey Giant, Camille Rose Garcia and more. (Photo: 1xRun)

1xRun was established in 2010 by Cory, whose background is in marketing, video production and documentaries, and Dan Armand, who previously worked as a web designer and artist. The two developed two art galleries, both now closed, and much more. In its first five years of business, 1xRun sold more than $5 million in art prints, original art and services. Sales are rising, even during the pandemic, Cory said. 

During the Mint workshop, he gave a simple formula for pricing limited edition prints:  Set the price for your original piece, then divide it by the number of prints you plan to make. That’s the price of the prints. So a $300 painting with 15 prints means each print is worth around $20. 

1xRun’s model calls for a 50-50 split with artists on print sales, after the company recoups its production costs. Cory suggested artists  “don’t hold on too tight” to their work.  

“You have to humanize yourself to the collector,” he said, by sharing photos of yourself as well as your work on Instagram.  His collection was built with wife Roula David, who worked in restaurants and now leads their Murals in the Market festival. They buy work mainly from artists they work with on the festival or in 1XRun, because Cory said, they have meaning or “memorialize” a relationship or moment in time.    

© Vickie Elmer, 2020 for Mint Artists Guild

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Big dreams, jump in right now: Our story in The Creative Armory

Mint co-founder Vickie Elmer shares our creative reuse of an Italian ice lid, turned palate, turned art chain. (Photo © The Creative Armory)

 

Mint Artists Guild has long believed in the “start small, dream big” approach to creating an organization. We see power in moving forward, with our emerging artists as our colleagues and our inspiration.

 Jess, the founder of The Creative Armory blog, captured that in an interview with our co-founder and executive director Vickie Elmer. It came out just in time for the Funky Ferndale Art Fair this weekend and as we have an array of events queued up through the fall.

Elmer talked about the impact training young artists in entrepreneurship and community and community service.

“If we start them on the path now and stress community service, generosity, and mutual support, we are going to create a powerful ecosystem of artists and creative entrepreneurs that are going to spread beauty and success around Detroit and the world. I’m going to bask in the reflected glory of all that they do,” Elmer told The Creative Armory.

Mint is basking in the glory of our story being told by a creative entrepreneur who hustles and cares. Read the entire piece here and if you feel your creativity or energy stir, please share it with your creative community.

A Mint Mantra and some of the many pieces of youth art in the Mint Studios in Palmer Park. (Photo: © The Creative Armory)

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Great questions for creative verbal self-defense

Leadership coach Laura Khalil (photo from Khalil’s website)

 

Artists may never have the most admired or respected profession; that goes to doctors, lawyers and engineers, according to the Varkey Foundation.

Yet emerging artists do not need to be berated or disrespected, at an art event or anywhere.  Mint Artists have experienced this, just a couple of times, in what obviously was an illegal and discriminatory hazing based on race or religion.

So they must learn the art of verbal self-defense.
Recently, we heard leadership coach Laura Khalil share her approach to fending off dismissive statements or comments that belittle, sexualize or undermine us.
She has two immigrant parents; “I’m the whitest Arab you’ll ever meet,” Khalil told InterMitten conference attendees. So she may have experienced commentary that minimized her talent or marginalized her.
Her verbal self defense technique is simple, and requires the artist or young person to remain outwardly calm and collected. “When you are stunned by a statement…. Ask a question in response,” Khalil said. Questions such as these:

  • “Did you really just say that?”
  • “Would you speak to your daughter that way?”
  • “Do you know how that makes you sound?”
  • “Why are you so emotional?” (Or judgmental or whatever it is the person has just accused you of being.)

Her approach is simple, direct and worthwhile – and aimed at anyone. Here’s some questions developed by Mint that are specific to emerging artists’ denigrating comments:

  • “Where did you earn your Ph.D. in visual arts?” Say it with a smile.
  • “If you’re going to give me a lecture, could you wait until I enroll in your class?”
  • “When are you moving along to quash someone else’s dreams?”
  • “When you dismiss my work, how do you think that reflects on your attitude and outlook?”

Address the comment head on, and attempt to de-escalate and disarm the person who is saying unkind things, Khalil said.

And count on Mint and the artists around you to build up your courage and confidence and appreciate the beauty of your work.

© Vickie Elmer 2019

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Quotable: Super Business Girl

“I was able to build my own dreams. I’m still doing it.”

Asia Newson, the 13-year-old entrepreneur known as Super Business Girl, in a Forbes magazine feature.

Asia Newson