Mint Artists Guild is creating a lot of momentum in our programs and community activities. Now, we have extending that to merchandise. We just developed a new line of beautiful and inspiring stickers, all based on youth art.
Stickers have been around for decades. They started as bumper stickers to share sentiments on cars and trucks and grew to include stickers for laptops and devices, for nails, for water bottles, windows and other places.
For Mint, stickers are a way to share youth art and encourage and inspire individuals to more beauty, faith in themselves and their futures and generosity. That’s why we sell our stickers in twos or threes. So when you buy them, you have one to share and one for yourself.
Generosity, after all, is beautiful. Just like our stickers!
In challenging times, the world needs heroes. We invite you to find one in these small portraits created by Mint Artists Guild.
These 15 small paintings will carry a big impact. And as the exhibit’s title Heroes: Now & Then reminds us, heroes may not be heroic every day. Occasional heroes and unknown heroes also deserve celebration.
Each portrait was created by a Detroit youth artist working for Mint during the pandemic, working from their homes. They chose their own heroes – and they are a diverse group from many eras and from today’s headlines.
The show debuts this Wednesday, Sept. 2, at the Scarab Club and will be up through Oct. 10.
The Heroes: Now & Then show shares at least three lesser known heroes:
Willem Arondeus, a Dutch writer, artist and activist, joined the resistance against the Nazis. His main job was to falsify papers for Jews in the Netherlands. Painted by Mint summer worker Vianca Romero, Arondeus saved hundreds or perhaps thousands of Jews from death, only to be executed himself. His final days are the subject of a short historical film called Willem.
Woman from the Gulabi Gang. Started in Northern India in 2006, this group of women activists protect other women from domestic abuse, violence and the patriarchal system. Gulabi means pink in Hindi. “I get a lot of respect and dignity when I wear the pink sari,” says Maya Davy, a mother of five told the CBC. Painted by Mint summer worker Zora Flourony, some Gulabi Gang members now drive taxis, taking on that male bastion.
Note that we are not sharing images these portraits in our blog because we really want people to go to The Scarab Club to see them. The show is upstairs in its beautiful and historic building, next to the plein air paintings. Plus the main exhibit is photographs, so now we’ve shared three reasons to visit. (The Scarab Club is open 12 to 5 Wednesday through Sunday, and has a small parking at 217 Farnsworth, Detroit, directly behind the DIA.)
After you’ve visited our heroes, please wander a couple of blocks to Hannan Center to see our Abuela, Grandma, Bibi exhibit through Sept. 30. (It is closed weekends.) Because of covid-19 limits and safety protections, please call Hannan ahead to reserve; 313-833-1300 x. 0. Or head to the DIA Museum Store or the Detroit Artists Market and buy Mint greeting cards.
Please subscribe to our blog. In a future post, Mint will recommend hero books for children and teens, books mostly selected by independent bookstore staff.
They live in Detroit, of course, and Hamtramck, Holly and Fraser. They work in crayons, acrylic or watercolor paint, ink and many other mediums. Their creativity and work are as fresh as the latest headlines – and as timeless as the puppy who is part of one child’s picture.
They are the eleven winners of the Metro Detroit Youth Arts Competition, winners, winners whose diversity and creativity make them wonderful representations of Detroit and of Mint Artists Guild’s hopes and expectations.
“We hope for better things, in Detroit. We rise from the ashes, each day, to build our communities. The Youth Arts Competition is a manifestation of our uniquely Detroit spirit of hustle and hope,” said Will ‘The Poet’ Langford. Langford worked with Mint co-founder Vickie Elmer to hustle to launch and develop the competition, starting in June. They both serve on Mint’s board of directors.
The winners range from kindergarden to college and chose a wide variety of subjects for their art and poetry. Mint intends to share more of their stories and work in future blog and social media posts, so here briefly are our 2020 winners:
Moumita Chawdhury, 18, Hamtramck, “Unifying, The Hope of a New Beginning,” oil pastels and colored pencils from Bangladesh.
Ishaan Kundapur, 13, Northville. “Beautiful Detroit: Birthplace of the Auto Industry,” water color. (Mint greeting card winner)
Sydney Lenn, 17, Fraser. “No Justice, No Peace.” Black and white photograph.
Ife Martin, 16, West Bloomfield. Silence. Spoken word poem.
Tahlia Ray, 16, Detroit. “Unity.” Fiber art.
Arise Elisabeth Rock, 15, Detroit. “The Ascension” three-part acrylic painting. And City of People, poem. (Yes, she won twice, though the judges did not know that.)
Justus Smith, 10, Detroit. “Rising from the Ashes.” Mixed media piece.
Fae Taylor, 6, Hazel Park. “The Daytime.” Mixed media with crayons.
Fiona Taylor, 5, Hazel Park. “Puppy’s eyes.” Mixed media with paint. (Yes they are sisters and yes, the puppy piece is adorable!)
Several of the pieces reflected the Black Lives Matter movement or the covid-19 crisis that engulfed the world and how art brings us together in trying times. Others shared the beauty of Detroit, with its leafy trees and lovely streets. About a third of the winners created based on each of our three themes: Detroit is beautiful, art as a unifier and Detroit’s “we rise from the ashes” motto.
Winners were chosen by current Mint Artists, our alumni, professional artists and writers and two of Mint’s co-founders. All of the winning art will be professionally framed by Jo’s Gallery or Sherwood Forest Art Gallery. And all the winners receive a prize package and $225 in cash prizes, underwritten by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and individual donors. Then the art will go on display in Detroit at our partner businesses and at a Mint Showcase along Livernois, known as “the Avenue of Fashion.” Our two poetry winners will share their spoken word in public too. (Winners will receive their art back by yearend to hang in their place of honor. Follow Mint on Facebook or Instagram for details on showings.)
“We want to celebrate youth creativity and business generosity in a competition focused on Detroit’s beauty and resilience and on art as a unifying influence in today’s challenging world,” said Elmer.
It started with a comment on our co-founder’s Facebook page, a suggestion that families in Detroit may not have enough materials to create at home
Those few sentences identifying the need to distribute art boxes along with food in Detroit came from Yvette Jenkins, owner of Love Travels Imports. (In the three degrees of separation, her shop shares space on Livernois with Art in Motion, which had hosted Mint for several workshops and participated with us in the Palmer Park Art Fair.)
Yvette’s comment inspired us to action. Soon we were connected with two other nonprofits: Arts & Scraps and Brilliant Detroit. Both of them are our partners in our Paint Detroit with Generosity initiative.
By 12:35 on March 13th – that’s 313 Day or Friday the 13th – the first emails flew out to Arts & Scraps executive director Ang Adamiak under the subject line: “Incredibly timely idea: Art boxes while DPS and other schools are closed.”
Our co-founder and executive director Vickie Elmer had already started brainstorming ideas. She saw this as something big and beautiful – 5,000 or more kits given to children in Detroit, fast and free.
Yet we knew we also had to line up funding and figure out how to get these kits to families with children, since schools, recreation centers and libraries were closed to protect against COVID-19 spreading.
It turns out Brilliant Detroit was a well, brilliant choice for many reasons, including its network of eight neighborhood centers that serve thousands of children and their adults. Its CEO and co-founder Cindy Eggleton knows how to collaborate and make things happen. So before we could say “coronavirus rhymes with iris” three times, we had funding for the first 2,000 kits.
The art kits contain all kinds of recycled art supplies from Arts & Scraps store and warehouse, from paper to cones to glitter and crayons and popcicle sticks and more. Then we add in two two-sided Mint coloring pages, which were printed partly with underwriting by Detroit marketing firm MCCI Corp., and Jennette Smith Kotila. (One degree of separate here: Jennette was managing editor of Crain’s Detroit Business when Vickie started writing for the publication. They worked together on Crain’s Most Influential Women special section and more.)
Last Monday, March 23, three volunteers recruited by Mint picked up the first 500 kits from Arts & Scraps and drove across I-94 to Brilliant Detroit’s headquarters. They all were women.
This project is starting to sound like a women’s empowerment activity – and in some ways, it is. Three women working with women to support mothers and children, grandmothers and fathers in a challenging time.
The first kits were given to families in Southwest Detroit who are connected to Brilliant Detroit. “Thank you for supporting us to help our children. To motive them, and to learn to imagine,” said Gloria Vera, a mother of three children who received the kit last week.
Creativity and making art have many benefits to children from problem solving to developing fine motor skills. It also is good for relieving boredom or stress.
“Here’s a little of the work that we have done,” said Judith Ramos, mother of four. She shows off work by her children Yajairi, Yesenia y Yamilet.made from the kits. “Thank you to all the people who have taken the time to give us this material to keep our children busy at this difficult time. Thank you, and I hope God protects you.”
Creative partnerships bring such beauty into the world. And the partnership between Mint Artists Guild and Arts & Scraps certainly will offer that – and a lot of creative activities and a few jobs for youth, when it lands in the Bagley Community at the end of March.
Mint is hiring emerging artists as the staff for Arts & Scraps’ Neighborhood Network pop up in Neighborhood HomeBase community center run by the Live6 Alliance. A grand opening is scheduled for March 28 at HomeBase,7426 W. McNichols, four blocks west of Livernois.
The main goal is to offer Arts & Scraps to all, Arts & Scraps executive director Ang Adiamack said. She works from Arts & Scraps main office and store at 16135 Harper Ave.
“Being so far east is great in many ways, but it does mean we are hard to reach for west siders. This opportunity opens up the possibility of resourcing artists, entrepreneurs, makers and more across all of Detroit, which we are really excited about. In addition, being able to have youth staffing the pop-up in Bagley is incredibly exciting. We love the work Mint does empowering students to grow their own artistic career,” Ang said.
Mint Artists Guild provides entrepreneurial training and workforce development opportunities to creative youth. It has partnered with Arts & Scraps for two years with Mint’s Paint Detroit with Generosity initiative. Mint also buys arts and crafts supplies from its East Side store.
“We adore creative collaboration and any time we create opportunities for youth, the community and a partner, that achieves our win-win-win goals and makes us very happy,” said Vickie Elmer, Mint’s executive director and co-founder.
The pop up jobs mix retail sales and customer service, art making and leading arts and crafts activities for all on Saturdays. Youth must demonstrate that they are responsible, resourceful and enjoy making craft projects. They must be available to work most Saturdays from mid-March through early June.
Young creatives ages 15 to 21 may apply by sending Mint a resume and information about themselves. Please apply to firstname.lastname@example.org by March 5. Interviews will be scheduled in early March.
The Neighborhood Network pop up at HomeBase will feature Arts & Scraps recycled creative supplies, plus Mint greeting cards and a few Mint prints.Mint intends to hold regular free arts and crafts activities on many Saturdays.
UPDATE: The pop up will postpone opening until it is safe to do so. Watch for details on Arts & Scraps and Mint’s social media when state and federal authorities give us the all clear.
We just closed out a year of firsts – our first exhibit held at the Fisher Building, our first time selling anything at the Detroit Institute of Arts and our first summer where we employed 10 artists and creatives.
We hit double digits and many of Detroit’s best venues in one year.
We hope you like our success by the numbers for 2019, and that you will pitch in some dollars to grow our successes this year.
Here’s a look at 2019 by the numbers:
2 Wolverine Promise interns who worked with us, Catherine and Trinity. It was our first time participating, as we prepared to launch a Mint marketing internship program.
weeks of free arts and crafts in Palmer Park. That seven weeks is more than double the previous year, thanks to support from individuals and others. We aim to offer nine weeks this year, with your support.
10emerging artists from Detroit who were part of our Creative Summer Jobs program, up from six in 2018
12 Mint greeting cards that are on sale at the Detroit Institute of Arts Museum Store through mid March, as part of the Detroit Collects show. They debuted at the member-only shopping night in November.
71 Yes, more than six dozen volunteers helped Mint with projects, events, workshops, Mint Masterpieces and more.
1,023– Number of hours our Summer Creative Workers were paid for creating with and for Mint in July and August.
$11,500– Estimated amount of art, jewelry and artisan gifts sold by Mint’s Learn and Earn artists this year through Mint. They endured rain, a storm, cold temperatures and made great friendships and connections through these pop ups and art fairs.
We gratefully acknowledge the support of Blossoms full service florists, Grow Detroit’s Young Talent, Integrity Shows, People for Palmer Park, the Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency, and many individual donors and small businesses who make these accomplishments possible. We ask that you will support us too so these success numbers will be bigger and more beautiful by the end of 2020.
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.
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.
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 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.
Mint Artists Guild is finishing a year of successes and firsts. We are proud of these – and we see how many more opportunities and challenges we could tackle in 2020 and 2021, with your support and donations from individuals, businesses and foundations.
Some of our successes have names: Seyi, a photographer, learned to paint with acrylics in our Creative Summer Jobs program, and has three paintings on display in the Fisher Building through Jan. 3. Alexis took a leadership role in our Summer Jobs program and joined our board of directors. Journey landed a paid marketing internship with Mint, and is being mentored by an amazing marketing expert. Through Mint, De’Shaia’s work is for sale at the Detroit Artists Market and she will have another piece in the DAM All Media Show,
Others show up in places that seem like minor miracles for a small nonprofit. Mint’s greeting cards for the first time are for sale in the Detroit Institute of Arts Museum Store, through mid March. Mint’s Paint Detroit with Generosityshow is hanging in the Fisher Building, one of the architectural giants and my favorite building in Detroit. And Mint sold greeting cards and brought along an alumni to sell his art at an artisan market in New Orleans, through our collaboration with the Palmer Park Art Fair.
Our Learn and Earn artists sold a record amount of art at Mint pop ups and in the Mint tent at art fairs: $11,500, or about 20 percent more than in 2018. We hired our first Wolverine Pathways interns, a University of Michigan program that boosted our Summer Creative Jobs staff to ten, twice as many as two years ago. Another first: Several alumni graduated from universities and started creative careers in costume design, graphic design and more. (We plan to profile a few of our alumni in 2020 and recognized Damon FirstBorn Chamblis at Mint Masterpieces in October.)
Yet we also faced sadness and setbacks. We worked with artists who lost a close family member and several who could not find transportation to workshops or a summer job. We did not create any large public art pieces this year, nor did we add to our butterfly mosaics in Palmer Park.
Mint will spend time in the year ahead setting goals and strategic plans looking ahead for five years. We see many opportunities and growth possibilities, and many beautiful partnerships with other nonprofits, foundations and businesses.
Our emerging artists want to plan more creative community service projects, and we are committed to supporting them. And we want to develop more entrepreneurship workshops and training, perhaps by collaborating with other organizations.
We need your generous gifts to keep growing and giving and opening doors to creative careers and community art projects. A donation of $75 supports a Mint pop up, and includes buying snacks for our young artists. A yearend gift of $250 will support three weeks of a youth’s Creative Summer Job. Give $5,000 and we will bring free weekly arts and crafts activities to a second Detroit park next summer.
So please find the donate button near the top of this page and give generously. If you prefer to send a check, please mail it to Mint Artists Guild, PO Box 21667, Detroit, MI 48221.
And thank you for being part of our successes and our growth.
Vickie Elmer Mint executive director and co-founder
Jessica Fligger showed up with her family for the Mint Paint Detroit with Generosity opening last month, a rare artist with a rare opportunity – two of them.
She left 90 minutes later with two interviews completed and her paintings shining. This young painter and ceramics artist was thrilled to have her art featured in the Fisher Building – and in the interviews.
The second was closer to home. Mint marketing intern Journey Shamily, who has sold art with Jessica through the Mint Learn and Earn program, talked to her about her show at the Fisher, which comes down on Jan. 2.
” I just knew that I wanted my interview with her to be fun for the both of us while still giving her a chance to talk about the beautiful art she made for three beautiful nonprofits. I truly did have a blast and with this internship I can mark ‘interview someone’ off my bucket list,” said Journey Shamily.
Guilded by her Mint mentor Kelly O’Neill, Journey also edited the video of Jessica Fligger, which is presented here and on our YouTube channel.
Jessica was paid to create original paintings and art through Mint’s Creative Summer Jobs program. (Follow us on Facebook or Instagram to see some of the paintings created or stop by the Fisher Bakery by the afternoon of Jan. 2 to see them all in person.)
Jessica is one of the rare artists who was accepted into both of our training and development programs. Both she and Journey learn creative and business skills through Mint – including how to answer questions from guests or in front of the camera.