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More questions to cultivate as the new year approaches

 

“Fear is a question. What are you afraid of and why? Our fears are a treasure house of self-knowledge if we explore them.” – Marilyn French, author and feminist activist

Fear of the unknown can be powerful, painful and plentiful, especially in a pandemic.

Not knowing what lies ahead may seem like it’s a new problem in the covid era. But in truth, we often are caught by surprise by events and changes we don’t anticipate, whether it’s being fired unexpectedly or a distant relative dying and leaving us a sizable inheritance or the popularity of an exhibit like Heroes: Now and Then

With New Year’s just around the corner, it’s a good time to ask and answer some questions to light our paths and make our creative journeys easier to travel.  Increase your curiosity and you will unearth something valuable about yourself. Here are three we especially like – building on the beautiful questions we posed in the fall:

What did you learn about yourself and your dreams and aspirations in the last year?    Take time to understand how this pandemic year affected your goals and aspirations.  Perhaps you’ll do this through looking back at a vision board made a year ago and creating a new one. Or maybe you will talk to a trusted mentor or friend about this or pull out a journal and draw or write some new dreams.

What one big audacious thing do you wish to complete by Dec. 31, 2021? This question will help you think bigger and bolder about your plans. Chase away caution and triple or quadruple your goals.  Then narrow it down to one wonderful huge, meaningful remarkable goal.

“You’d corner me in your conformity but even in dormancy i’m sleeping with enormity, stretching the belly of the earth & everything i was born to be.” 

– Curtis Tyrone Jones, author and coach

Who do you need in your tribe to grow and thrive?  Everyone needs a tribe or a “kitchen cabinet” of advisors and close allies. Who is in yours? And who do you wish to invite in?  And how are you engaging one or two new people for this near year ahead? These questions invite you to create a circle of supporters, and to connect with teachers, former bosses or family friends who may be able to help your career or your education in the year ahead.  Perhaps you want one of Mint’s leaders to join your tribe. Ask us or join us.

If you want to reflect further on 2020 with timeless questions, turn to these 20 inquires from the Art of Simple, a blog about embracing a slower, less complicated life.  Or if you long for still more questions to answer as you look ahead, read the list of 19 from Brands for the Heart or head to LifeHack for questions to consider the kind of life you want to build. 

“The greatest gift is not being afraid to question,”  said actress, playwright and civil rights activist Ruby Dee.  So we end with another question that drives us:  How will we collaborate to develop more creative opportunities for children and youth and make a bigger difference in Detroit

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Three beautiful questions creatives may ask and answer now

Ask yourself some very good questions to identify your purpose, your direction. (Photo by Emily Morter / Unsplash)

The world is filled with uncertainty and questions. Lots of questions and more questions.

Many of them are irrelevant or lead to nothing but fear and dead ends. Some, though, may help you see the path ahead, your future career or your most valuable contribution.

Questions power the growth of Google and the brilliance of Albert Einstein and the success of many individuals, wrote Thomas Oppong in Medium. He writes about productivity, self-improvement and achieving success.

Eleanor Roosevelt once said: “At a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift should be curiosity.”  If you want some questions to ask your kid sister or a nephew, check out these 20 creative inquiries for children from Minds in Bloom.

So as we face a time of challenge and change, it is time to rev up our curiosity. Let’s start asking ourselves good questions that could lead to something beautiful. Here are three to start:

“What will your essential service be?” This question posed by media queen Oprah Winfrey during virtual college graduations asks you to consider your role in the world, how you will affect humanity.

Why are you here today?  This question could make you probe deep into your purpose in life. Or it could simply help you focus on a short-term goal or project that merits your energy and attention right now.  The here could refer to your neighborhood, your city, the world – or even your dining room table.

What will you create that shines hope or heroism, demands justice or gives aid to the powerless?  This question focuses on your creativity and how you will use it for the greater good. How will you make something that will contribute to the raising of consciousness or the reduction of racism? What wrong will you challenge or what hero will you highlight?

Use these questions as a starting point for conversations with roommates or with family. Or write about them in your journal. Doodle ideas during inktober and draw maps that lead you to a better, brighter more beautiful future.

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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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Quotable: artist Adwoa Muwzea

Artist Adwoa Muwzea with two of her prints.

“Residual income – that’s what I live for. You’re making money while you sleep.”  -artist and educator Adwoa Muwzea, at an Artist2Artist gathering in Detroit.

Artists earn “residual income” – also known as passive income – when they license their images or creativity for use by companies or individuals. Some examples: A company pays to put your popular image on a greeting card or T shirt.

Creating Beautifully lists many sites and ways artists may earn passive income.

For emerging artists, this could mean creating a limited edition print of your work, or licensing a piece of your art to a musician with an annual payment.  Greeting cards from your art sold at a gift shop also create passive income.  

Mint teaches business skills to emerging artists, and for licensing, you may need a lawyer or at least a licensing agreement / contract.  Learn more about the three forms of licensing in these posts from Digital Media Law Project.

-© Vickie Elmer, 2019, for Mint Artists Guild

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Quotable: Saatchi’s Chelsea Jones

“To stand out, channel your individuality into your work.”
Saatchi Art curator Chelsea Jones in a post answering five questions from emerging artists. Among the artists who practiced this very well: Frida Kahlo, a Mexican artist whose self portraits reveal a lot of her feelings and experiences.
 

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Quotable: artist Linda Buck

“What are you going to say about your work? Know what you’re about before you step in the booth.”

– artist Linda Buck, a Mint Artists co-founder, at a Mint workshop.  Linda creates hand colored clay tiles with architectural details. She has sold her work at a number of fine art fairs – and also through the DIA git shop.

Linda Buck’s clay tiles are hand made and colored.

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Quotable: Leonardo da Vinci on doing

“I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.”

–Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci

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Quotable: artist Austen Brantley

Austen Brantley stands between two of his pieces.

 

“If you’ve got to sell your art, you’ve got to sell yourself.”

-sculptor Austen Brantley, at a Mint Artists Guild Learn & Earn workshop.
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Quotable: entrepreneur Pamela Hilliard Owens

Pamela Hilliard Owens, shown with her husband editor Keith Owens

 

“It does help if you have a Plan B… but work hard on Plan A.”

– Pamela Hilliard Owens, a Detroit entrepreneur who owns three creative businesses, at a Mint workshop on goal setting.
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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