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Mint’s spring wish list – art supplies and so much more

Make a wish – or make our wish list disappear. (Photo: Aaron Burden / Unsplash)

     We wish for a meaningful and beautiful summer. And with this summer wish list, you could help us achieve it for Mint Artists Guild and our Lucky 13 artists.

      The Lucky 13 will work for us creating paintings for our Paint Detroit with Generosity initiative as well as prints and our first coloring book.  They will mainly work virtually, from their homes this year, because of precautions for covid-19.

     Here are the art supplies we seek for the Mint Creative Summer Jobs program:

  • sketchbooks or journal
  • Stretched canvas – especially 8 x 10 inches or 18 x 24 inches, though any size welcome
  • medium or heavy body acrylic paints, small to medium tubes
  • assorted acrylic paint brushes 
  • brush cleaner
  • varnish for paintings, such as Grumbacher
  • pronto plates for lithography,  8.5 X 11 inches
  • oil based ink
  • brayers – need seven of them
  • Rives printing paper
  • gum arabic
  • easels and table easels, new or used
  • small frames 8 x 10 or 11 x 12 for our Mint prints

These art supplies may be new or gently used.  And here are the other supplies we need this summer and fall:

  • paper towels, 15 rolls
  • hand soap, bars or liquid
  • disinfecting wipes
  • granola bars, dried fruit, trail mix (smaller bags) and other nonperishable snacks that youth ages 14 to 21 will enjoy
  • gift card to Meijer, Costco or supermarkets = artist snacks and treats
  • gift card to local cafes and restaurant, as rewards for our best artists and artist supporters

To arrange a delivery of art supplies, please drop us a line and propose three days and times that work for you.  We ask that you drop them off at the Mint Studios in Palmer Park, right next to the Splash Park.

If you wish to donate money instead of supplies, our spring fundraiser on ioby continues through June 11. Or give a monthly gift on our yearround donor site.

Thanks for your support in making this a beautiful summer!

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How and why we are creating fun, free art kits for Detroit children, with amazing partners

Part of the first 500 creative activity kits at Brilliant Detroit. (Photo: Vickie 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.

A child created this penguin from one of the first kits. (Photo: Brilliant Detroit)

About two-thirds of the contents of the Creative Activities Kits created by Arts & Scraps, Mint and Brilliant Detroit. (Photo: Vickie Elmer)

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.

Two of the Ramos children with some work made from the Creative Activities Kits. (Photo: Brilliant Detroit)

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.”

If you want more children to  be creative in these crazy times, please  donate to the Arts & Scraps fundraiser today.

If you wish to download one of our coloring pages from the kits, please download this one from the Palmer Park Butterfly Garden for free. 

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Mint’s big beautiful success by the numbers for 2019

Mint’s executive director Vickie Elmer and artist Eleanor Aro shared stories and our art and cards at the Detroit Institute of Arts member only shopping night in November 2019.

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.

 

3  Emerging artists who serve on Mint’s board of directors, up from two last year.

 

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.

 

10 emerging 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.

Paint Detroit with Generosity paintings to be donated to 27 local nonprofits, followed by a similar number going to charities supporting children and youth in 2020.

 

 

35   Rosa Park limited edition giclee prints created, thanks to our partnership with Sherwood Forest Gallery .  They are selling superbly at Mint pop ups and events – and through our online store.

 

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.

Read our 2017 success by the numbers report here and our 2016 success report here.  We were so busy preparing for growth at the end of 2018 that we did not create a success list, though we did tally some of the numbers used for comparison.

Photos: Waldemar Brandt and Jan Kaluza /  Unsplash;  Vickie Elmer for Mint.

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Mint’s successes and miracles: A yearend letter from our director

Alexis, Natasha and other Mint Summer workers learn painting techniques from our teaching artist. (Photo Seyi Akintoroye for Mint)

Dear friends of Mint,

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 Generosity show 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

Mint Artists summer worker Bryan looks over the Paint Detroit with Generosity show at the Fisher Building opening in November. (Photo: Journey Shamily for Mint)

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

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How Jessica ended up in two Mint videos and a show in the Fisher Building

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 first was with Tim Brown of CBS Detroit, for a piece for Eye on Detroit.

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.

Support more youth developing skills with a donation to Mint or become a monthly donor and give even more opportunities.

Jessica is interviewed by Tim Brown for CBS Detroit’s Eye on Detroit. (Photo Journey Shamily for Mint Artists Guild)

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Mint stars in CBS Eye on Detroit feature

 

When he stopped by for a quick hello and a question at the start of TedXDetroit, videographer Tim Brown promised he would return.

And he did, and he interviewed Mint co-founder Vickie Elmer and Mint Artists’ Journey Shamily, asking about upcoming events.

Then at our invitation, he showed up at our Paint Detroit with Generosity opening at the Fisher Building. He interviewed us some more, taking in the 25 paintings to be donated to local nonprofits. The result: A feature story on CBS Detroit’s Eye on Detroit.

The story aired this morning during local breaks of the CBS This Morning, co-hosted by Gayle King. It features Mint summer worker Jessica Fligger who said, “I wanted to do something that would put me out of my comfort zone,” in her original painting for the Mercy Education Project.  

It also shared perspectives by Mint board member Kelly O’Neill and others on Mint’s impact on youth and on Detroit. Please watch and share our Eye on Detroit story today.  Then please visit the Paint Detroit with Generosity show on display at the Fisher Building, in the Fisher Bakery, through Dec. 30.

Or if you want Mint to grow and hire more youth in Detroit next year who will paint for more local nonprofits, please donate today.  

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Three ways Mint practices generosity in Detroit

 

Children really enjoy Mint’s free arts and crafts in Palmer Park in the summer. (Photo: Vickie Elmer)

 

“Every minute of every hour of every day you are making the world, just as you are making yourself, and you might as well do it with generosity and kindness and style,” said Rebecca Solnit, writer and activist and author of The Mother of All Questions and many other books.

 

Mint Artists Guild is striving to make the world a little more generous and kind. We want generosity to shine, beautifully, in Detroit and we want generosity to be part of our DNA.

It’s not always easy to do this, with a tiny budget and staff of one (plus teen artists and various interns). Yet we practice generosity often, with each other and in our community.

Here’s three big generosity moves by Mint:

Arts and crafts for all.  Through the summer, children and families flock to our free arts and crafts activities, held outside our studio in Palmer Park. They show up in swimming suits or leave picnics to get creative with our emerging artists. This year, we ran seven of them, and next year with your support, we will stage many more. (Hint: We’d love to develop the funds and buy a van so we could take these arts and crafts to more Detroit parks. Yes, we will use it to visit art spaces around the state too.)

Paint Detroit with Generosity.  For each of four years, Mint has donated 20 or more original paintings  to a wide variety of local nonprofits from Art Roads to Mosaic Youth Theatre to YMCA of Metro Detroit.  These paintings hang in nonprofit offices, homeless shelters, classrooms and more and are our gift to honor the work and missions of local nonprofits.

Community projects.  Mint volunteers at community projects several times a year, such as the big build of a playground in Palmer Park or free coloring pages and rafts for children and youth at Eastern Market during our pop ups. Next year, we plan to lead children in homeless shelters in creating cards and gifts for moms and grandmas.

And all our programs to develop business, entrepreneurship and career skills in talented teen artists are offered free of charge or on a modest sliding scale. We cover the application fees for events and we provide snacks to our artists, and sometimes meals too. 

If you believe in generosity, we invite you to give to Mint, whether you donate $1 a week all next year or give a $1,000 yearend gift or somewhere in between. We rely on generous individuals for some 55 percent of our budget and we know that individual giving and connections create opportunities for youth, beautiful paintings and so much more.

Or we invite you to host a Mint Tea  and invite a half dozen generous friends to learn more about us and support us.

For Giving Tuesday, we are hosting a Generosity Tea at the Fisher Bakery, and we will buy tea for the first 12 people who show up from 2 to 5 pm. Maybe that counts as another generous act by Mint, unless some very kind individual underwrites the tea!  Please join us and join the conversation about generosity in Detroit.

If you need more generosity or inspiration, we offer these 20 generosity quotes, gathered by writer Toni Bernhard for Psychology Today. Now please give generously to help Mint grow and be more generous in 2020.

 

Give generously, whether it’s art supplies, time or money. (Photo: Amaury Salas, Unsplash)

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Children are our future, our beautiful inspiration for 2020

Girl with a heart painting by Alexis Bagley

 

Children flock to Mint’s free arts and crafts, led by Mint Summer Workers. (Photo: Vickie Elmer)

 

Mint Artists Guild sees the future and it is our children.

Mint just announced that its 2020 Paint Detroit with Generosity  initiative will give paintings to nonprofits that serve children and youth, and families in need in Detroit. For the fifth year of this program, Mint will focus all our generosity on youth, instead of donating to a wider variety of nonprofits.

“Children create joy by living in the moment;  yet they face real hardships in Detroit. They deserve our love and support,” said Vickie Elmer, Mint co-founder and executive director.

Mint already has honored the work of a variety of youth-serving nonprofits through the Paint Detroit with Generosity initiative, including Brilliant Detroit,  Crescendo Detroit, Downtown Boxing Gym and Ruth Ellis Center  among others.  (Please visit our exhibit at the Fisher Bakery, in the Fisher Building through Dec. 30 to see these beautiful images)

Mint chose children as the theme for the fifth Paint Detroit with Generosity  because most of our work focuses on youth and children, from the free arts and crafts to the youth-created art on our greeting cards to the entrepreneurial training for high school age artists.  And we know children and youth today face many challenges and deserve inspiration and support.  

Almost one in six children in the United States live in poverty, according to 2018 U.S. Census Bureau estimates. That means 7.5 million families living in poverty, with one-fourth of them led by a mother or grandmother or other female relative. The numbers are far higher in Detroit.

More than half of U.S. parents worry that their children will be victims of violence, of bullying, of depression or anxiety, according to Pew research.  Seven in 10 teens say anxiety and depression is a major issue for youth, and a more serious one than bullying, drug addiction or poverty.

In Detroit, more babies are born prematurely than in any other area.  Children go to sub-standard schools and struggle with learning to read. Only 10 percent of third grade students read at their grade level.

Yet all is not bleak. Community groups, individuals, foundations and nonprofits are developing after school programs, summer jobs, sports and other services to lift up Detroit’s children. Youth themselves create opportunities to learn and grow.

Nonprofits serving children and youth in or near Detroit may request to be considered for Mint’s 2020 Paint Detroit with Generosity initiative. Please contact Mint  by Feb. 15, 2020 and include details on the number of youth served each year (and where they live).  Nonprofits will be asked to sign a standard memorandum of understanding, or MOU, and share some details about their programs.

Mint welcomes individuals and businesses to support Detroit youth and this initiative, so we may hire more youth in 2020 and donate more paintings. So please give today.

We will paint our children’s future, beautifully.

Girl with a heart painting by Alexis Bagley

This Paint Detroit with Generosity painting was created in 2019 by Mint worker Alexis Bagley. © Mint Artists Guild, 2019

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Summer job with an art teacher

Mint art teacher / coach Jacquie Lane works with worker Alexis Bagley on mosaics. (Photo: Vickie Elmer)

Mint Artists Guild’s Creative Summer Jobs program teaches career skills, and particularly focus and productivity and managing several projects. Mint also teaches young Detroit artists to improve their paintings, and create mosaics and more.

For the art skills building, we turned to Jacqueline Edwards Lane, an art teacher extraordinaire who worked for Mint. She spent hours coaching our youth on the finer points of mixing acrylic paints, creating more realistic eyes, finishing mosaics and much more.

“Ms. Jackie,” as she was called this summer, spent most of her career teaching art to youth in Detroit. Her summer with Mint workers infused her with new energy to create more new work, drawn from the youthful energy and creativity of the Mint workers.

“They already bring a lot with their skills and their enthusiasm,” she said. And many of the workers, who range in ages from 14 to 21, started making art at 3, the same as their art coach. Hear more of her story and how it entwines with Mint’s in this new video.

Watch for details on the Paint Detroit with Generosity exhibit, to be held later this fall at the Fisher Building, where the fruit’s of Mint’s summer work and Ms. Jackie’s coaching will be available for all to see.

And if you wish to see Mint hire more youth – and donate more paintings to local nonprofits – in 2020, please become a monthly donor and support our nonprofit’s growth.

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Sounds sweet, looks beautiful: Mint at the DSO

Mint Artists Guild has reached another milestone:  A piece of our art now belongs in a major arts institution’s collection.

Success sounds sweet after we donated a Paint Detroit with Generosity painting to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

The painting, created last year in the Mint Creative Summer Jobs program by worker Charles, will hang in the DSO’s new education wing.

Mint’s Paint Detroit with Generosity  initiative in 2018 was underwritten by a Michigan Council for the Arts grant, with Culture Source and the National Endowment for the Arts, and supported by Blossoms, a full service florist, and many individual donors.

We give original paintings to more than 25 local nonprofits, from Mercy Education Projects to Ronald McDonald House to the Greening of Detroit. Several others beyond the Detroit Symphony Orchestra celebrate music, performance and culture:

  • Crescendo Detroit
  • Heritage Works
  • Mosaic Youth Theatre
  • YMCA Y-Arts.

And the Boll Family YMCA in downtown Detroit hosted our exhibit last year where thousands of people saw the paintings created by Mint workers.

To support this year’s summer jobs program, where these lovely paintings are created, please give to our spring fundraiser today.  Give $250 or more and you may choose a small Mint painting as your reward.

 Paint Detroit with Generosity is worth a standing ovation and a big donation!

Painting © Mint Artists Guild, 2018