Posted on

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.

Posted on

Power and beauty and impact of a summer job

Mint summer workers review and critique each other’s work. (Photo © Brendan Ross)

Picture a summer job and you may imagine something quaint and outdoorsy:  a life guard, camp counselor, caddy or park attendant. Or perhaps you recall your first summer job scooping Italian ice, mowing lawns or fixing fast food.  

Yet for many teens, paid work is more likely to be imaginary than real, despite many benefits these jobs bring.  Only about a third of teens worked for pay in 2018, and that has trended down for two decades, according to the Pew Research Center.   The employment rate is likely to tumble further this year, as record unemployment and businesses closed during the pandemic will mean less hiring for young people.  “Paid jobs are scarcer than a Stanford admission,” The Washington Post reported recently.

Mint Artists Guild is an exception, hiring 30 percent more young artists from Detroit and creating more opportunities for work in Detroit. We do this because the need is great and so is the payoff for those hired and their communities. Summer jobs create many positive outcomes, some immediate and some years after the last campfire or painting is finished.  Here’s a look at benefits documented by many academic and other researchers: 

Opportunities grow.  Summer jobs may increase college aspiration and community engagement and they definitely reduce inequality, researchers found.

Safer cities.  Several studies showed reductions in violent crime by up to 43 percent among youth participating in summer jobs, and jobs also lower rates of incarceration in another study. The reduction in youth crime lasted for 15 months after the summer job ended.

Wellbeing improves.  Youth or adults who are employed experience boosts in wellbeing, self-esteem and life satisfaction, just by working eight hours a week. Researchers also note they are more likely to get through trying circumstances than others.

A summer job creates many benefits to the worker and to society. (Photo Bruce Mars / Unsplash)

Future earnings.  Working during college, whether part-time or full-time, leads to to higher earnings after graduation. This research by Rutgers University and others is based on 160,000 students;  jobs add to students’ networks, skills and post-college paychecks. The amount varied from $1,035 to $20,625. But the post-college premium showed up for a wide variety of students, regardless of their race, type of university or previous work experience.

Academic achievement rises.  In the year after summer jobs in Boston, researchers calculated a “small but significant” improvement in GPAs. Young workers were also more likely to graduate from high school on time. Academic improvements were “particularly large” when youth in New York were hired for several summers in a row. “Participating in summer jobs programming for multiple years pays dividends for high school students well beyond the paycheck itself,” New York University researchers wrote.

Mint’s summer creative jobs program teaches productivity and professionalism as well as painting and artistic skills.  We will create original paintings for our fifth annual Paint Detroit with Generosity initiative. This year, the jobs will take place from youth homes, as required by our partner Grow Detroit’s Young Talent, and will feature new online workshops on managing clients, writing an artist statement and digital work etiquette.

If you want to support our Lucky 13 artists, we invite you to donate to our spring fundraiser – or become a monthly donor now.

Donate now

© Vickie Elmer, 2020, for Mint Artists Guild

Posted on

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

Posted on

Start boosting your productivity with advice from mega-artist Hubert Massey

 

Mint cofounder Hubert Massey talks to Mint artists in our studio. (Photo © Brendan Ross for Mint)

 

Hubert Massey creates massive public art pieces, like the fresco at TCF Center and large mosaics in parks and overpasses in Detroit, Flint and elsewhere.

Most of his projects take months to complete. Yet most of them start with ideas, and sketches. Massey, who is a co-founder and a board member of Mint Artists Guild, is staying home now, but that doesn’t mean he’s slowing down.  He’s creating smaller pieces – paintings, sketches and an obelisk prototype for a public art piece.

“I still don’t have enough time in the day,” he said. He runs Hubert Massey Murals, which brings together artists, engineers, community groups and businesses to create large public art projects. 

“I have the habit of getting up early in the morning,” Massey told Mint. He starts with breakfast and a smidgen of news. Then Massey turns on jazz music and turns to work on the creative project for the day. By 3 pm

This mosaic wall in Southwest Detroit was created by Mint cofounder Hubert Massey several years ago. (Photo: Vickie Elmer)

many days, he’s finishing up and ready to take a walk.  

Developing such habits and a schedule help with productivity, Massey said. “Start at a certain time…. Schedule your work hours.”

Here’s three more tips from Hubert Massey on staying creative and productive:

Create a list. Artists need a projects list, where they capture the ideas they may want to pursue, he said.  His list includes painting portraits of some other well-known Detroit artists such as Michael Horner and home improvement projects. Keep your list updated and look online for ideas.

Set goals.   Know what you want to complete by the time everything is opened up and go after it. Or set smaller goals. Massey enjoys watching documentaries related to science and art, and suggests emerging artists watch one a day of an artist or musician.

Engage with others. Massey likes to hold community forums and ask questions and hear stories. Start this on your social media, or with a conference call with five or seven people. Ask questions such as “what are 10 images you want hanging on your wall?” he suggested. 

Don’t worry if your art supplies are thin or nonexistent. Use whatever you find around the home – newsprint or recycled materials or paint on old bowls. “If you’ve got a pencil, then draw,” Massey told Mint.

You have to be strong within yourself and do what makes you happy.”

Watch for more insights on creatives managing themselves and their work  in future posts.

© Vickie Elmer 2020 for Mint Artists Guildart

Posted on

Start being smarter and more frugal today with our tips

Start developing a frugal mindset and watch your savings grow. (Photo: Thought Catalog / Unsplash)

 

There’s never been a better time to become more frugal and save some money. No matter your age or stage, no matter if you have a full ride scholarship to a prestigious university or see community college making sense, many signs point to the power of spending less for a while.

The U.S. economy is already in a “sharp, short recession,” and the unemployment rate could hit 12 percent by June. Michigan’s jobless rate could reach 24 percent by then, its highest level on record, according to University of Michigan economists.   

The coronavirus outbreak will mean far fewer summer jobs this year and far more unpaid bills. Many families will have huge hospital bills to pay,  or loved ones who died or are unable to work for weeks.  So while economists and politicians debate how long the economy will be hurting, individuals need to start saving.

Here’s some advice for young people that works well for all people:

Create an emergency fund. The world is unpredictable and honestly, sometimes frightening. So even if you think you will never need it, build a fund for if things do go off track. That promised summer job or commission could evaporate in the economic downturn. Start saving money to cover your basic expenses  – mobile phone, Netflix and some food – for at least three months.  Bankrate suggests six months and offers many tips on getting there.

Set a clear goal. If you see it, say it, share it and write it down, you may believe it. Know why you’re saving money now – half could be for your emergency savings and half for something brighter and more beautiful. Decide how the extra savings will be valuable to you, whether it’s a new tablet, a huge canvas to paint or a trip to New Orleans or Nigeria, once the world is a safer place.

Do it yourself. With so many Americans sheltering at home, now seems like the perfect time to learn to manicure your  nails, wash and press your shirts or make smoothies or coffee as good as the $4.50 cuppajoe  you used to buy. Or style your hair yourself, as Laila Ali, daughter of the late legendary boxer Muhammed Ali, does. Laila Ali is a fitness and wellness entrepreneur, yet every week she skips the salon and does her hair and her daughter’s at home. “I don’t have time to drive an hour to a salon and then sit there for a couple more hours getting my hair done. It’s really not that serious or important to me,” she told Kiplinger.com in a

Learn to cut, color and style your own hair to save a lot of money. (Photo: Teymi Townsend / Unsplash)

piece on frugal habits of the rich. The piece also has money-saving advice from actress Halle Berry, Hilary Swank and others.

Cultivate frugal habits.   Start developing your thrifty mindset now, while there’s fewer temptations and no where to go. Instead of a subscription to Hulu, see if your public library has free access to movies and shows.  Skip the takeout food in favor of some pasta cooked at home. Take a three hour break before you buy anything that costs more than say $75, to see if it still seems worthwhile – and to shop around for a bargain price.  

Play money games.   Yes, you may learn a lot from Monopoly, The Game of Life or Minecraft.  Check out online games recommended by The Balance, which says and role playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons may have valuable lessons in managing money and resources.  Or create your own at home and start teaching your younger siblings some money basics.

Our next money management piece will share podcasts, blogs and other ways to learn and develop your money management skills and frugal self. 

 

 

 

 

© Vickie Elmer, 2020, for Mint Artists Guild

Posted on

Knit, sew, sing: Creativity in Complicated Times, pt 3

Learn to knit or crochet during this time. Photo Imani / Unsplash

 

We all deserve a boost after being at home for anywhere from nine to 15 days.  So here’s some recipes for boosting yourself – by trying some new artsy activities or preparing yourself to land a summer job.

These activities may seem frivolous in these challenging times, but they are not.  They give you something valuable:   Joy and a sense of accomplishment. And they take your mind off the things we cannot control and put them squarely on things we can control – and create.

So let’s get creative!

Learn to knit or crochet.  Once you learn the basics, knitting can be relaxing, almost like meditation.  My friend Wendy Shepherd, executive director of Mittens For Detroit, shared two YouTube channels  – this and that one and also Tin Can Knits for getting started.  “It’s also a great opportunity for the kids to video connect with their elders who knit, to sit and knit alone together,” said Shepherd.  If you need to de-stress as you learn, read these wonderful pointers from Interweave, which develops magazines, information and events for crafters.

Sing along to the ’60s.  Yes, that will bring on The Beatles hits such as “Here Comes the Sun” and “Love Me Do.”  But also sing beautiful songs along  with Irma Thomas belting “Time Is on My Side” or Aretha Franklin singing “Do Right Woman” and The Temptations “Get Ready.”  Select a couple every day from Pitchfork’s list of 200 great ’60s songs.  Singing releases endorphins and raises our mood, strengthens our immune system – and calms the brain, researchers have found.

Create a scrap art project.   Start saving items from your recycling container and scanning the ground when you take your dog or kid brother out for a walk.  Stash egg cartons and cardboard boxes; dry orange peels or scraps of wood. Flatten old cans. Snare mostly empty paint cans from your garage. Then look for inspiration. Or look to the sun or nature for an image. If you are lucky enough to land a free creative learning supplies kit from Arts & Scraps, Mint and Brilliant Detroit, you will have plenty of materials. (These will be distributed free to Detroit families through Brilliant Detroit.)

Create or update your resume.   Download a sample resume, especially one for a young person, and use it as a guide. Or follow the excellent advice outlined in The Balance Careers post, starting by writing down all the types of work and awards. Make sure you sell yourself and state why you’ll be an excellent person to hire. You may want to enlist someone to assist you with this and remind you of some of your accomplishments. After you finish your first resume, definitely ask three adults to edit and review it and suggest improvements.  

Some people will want to take it a step further: That could look like a LinkedIn profile. Or it could mean a work program, such as Americorps that is hiring soon. If you live in Detroit and are ages 14 to 24, register with Grow Detroit’s Young Talent now to help land a job this summer, including those with Mint for creative youth.  If you live elsewhere, see if your city is running a youth employment program and connect to it.   

We are sharing some virtual activities on our Facebook page so follow us for those. And we will share some more ideas next week, including some from our creative community. So send us yours today!

 

Posted on

More creative ways to learn and grow amid a pandemic

 

In times like these, we all need something beautiful, something that blooms – and something that makes us or the world a little bit better.

If you are out of school or out of a job because of coronavirus, it’s time to get past the basics of hand washing and social distancing. It’s time to grow.  In times like these, we need to create something that will last or give joy – and learn something new.

“I try to take every conflict, every experience and learn from it. Life is never dull,” said Oprah Winfrey, the entrepreneur and media mogul. “I consider the world, this Earth, to be like a school, and our life the classrooms.”

So today, start learning and growing and making beauty in one or two of these ways:

Start a garden. Sow seeds to grow beans, kale and peppers, though you will need to start them indoors until the last frost sometime in April. “Such a hopeful and revolutionary act…to grow food,” wrote my friend Kelli Carpenter-Crawford.  Need help with this? Check in with Keep Growing Detroit or ask a neighbor who is an experienced gardener for some advice.

Write poetry or create a journal. Document these unusual  days, suggested artist Rose Lewandowski, using photos, sketches, snippets of overheard comments and more. Or play with words and write a poem, suggested Nick Rowley, who offers this online guide to the wide variety of poems.  If you’ve never written a poem before, read some poetry first or check out the tips from the Young Poets Network.

Volunteer.  Choose a safe way to give back in your community. Search VolunteerMatch or the United Way of Southeast Michigan for opportunities. (Check for minimum age requirements on some volunteer roles.) Or look for virtual volunteer opportunities on social media or through friends. Create a half dozen handmade cards that are encouraging and upbeat;  then mail them to a nearby senior citizens home.  “Those that know shut-ins/ people quarantined call them up and tell or read stories over the phone. Also they could sent videos they’ve created to shut-ins,” suggests my friend Kim Kensler, a travel agent and active volunteer.  If you want to volunteer with Mint Artists Guild – help us with a fundraiser or other cool, creative projects – please drop us a line and tell us about yourself.

Research your family history.  Start by interviewing your mom or dad or Aunt Helen and record the interview. Then review resources compiled for young people by the New England Historic Geneological Society.  Or create a digital family tree and use other apps recommended by Scholastic.

Make a movie. Create “a short films. Doc, zombie apocalypse, public art video, nature video, whatever,” said Pam Murray.  The world put so much on hold now, creating room for storytelling or short videos that are humorous, helpful or encouraging.  Mint may share some prompts on this and other creative projects fairly soon.

Make some joy.  Create a self portrait as if you were your most dreamed-about zoo animal, or a favorite fruit.   “Empty a closet and make up silly stories about the contents. Turn the contents into actors in the story,” writes artist Dolores Slowinski.  Make seven paper crowns, wrap each one carefully in a bag with a note declaring the finder a king or queen for a day.  Then leave them on benches, tables or other public places.  Or bake cookies and eat half and donate half. (Leave a plate for your mail carrier or the package delivery person; take some to a local supermarket for the staff who are working hard – or contact us at Mint!) 

Check out our first post for more ideas and share this with a friend who is bored or worried all the time.  Then share your best and most creative activities for these trying times in a comment and we may use them in our third post!

 

Photos: Markus Spiske (plants growing) and Noah Buscher (lemon girl)  on Unsplash;  Oprah Winfrey quotes from BrainyQute.

Posted on

Fly into creative activities during coronavirus shutdowns

 

If you are stranded without a school or university schedule, or staying home as a precaution against COVID-19, you may have been handed a gift of time. 

It may not feel that way now, with galleries and museums closed and friends far flung and everyone feeling off balance or afraid.  Yes, we need to practice social distancing, wash hands regularly and thoroughly and take other precautions outlined by the CDC and World Health Organization.

You and almost everyone else are missing out on a lot – art shows and plays, senior trips and so much more. And yet, this time could be when you create your first masterpiece that will hang in MOMA or appear on Netflix in a few years.

“You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will,” best-selling author Stephen King said. “The scariest moment is always just before you start.”

So let’s get past that- and start working on superb goals for the next two to three weeks. Here’s some creative ideas:

Paint and create. Create a friendly competition with another young artist to see who completes more work in the next two weeks. Work on several pieces at once, like artist Shirley Woodson.  Create work inspired by the world today, or imagine and create a better one.  “Write about some of your ideas for a better home, school, neighborhood or church. What’s missing? What could you add to or take away from the world you live in now? Draw or paint or create a collage or clay sculpture to represent your ideas,” suggested artist and educator Adwoa Muwzea in answer to my request for ideas on Facebook. 

Learn to cook. Your family may feel stressed because there’s no real routine. Or your grandma or mom may be worried about money, about work or other things. So offer to make dinner for 10 days and then come up with creative recipes – from your family history or culture or from a great collection of recipes online. Cookbooks work too, especially ones aimed at newcomers like these six, including The Starving Artist Cookbook . It was written by artist, illustrator and graphic designer Sara Zin.

Make money.  Yes, start a small business and stash some cash.  My friend Wendy Shepherd, who has worked myriad creative jobs including delivering tap dancing messages, suggested making, bottling and selling handmade hand sanitizer, because it is in short supply.  Or offer your services as a babysitter, dog walker, photographer, personal chef or organizer to neighbors and friends. Be thoughtful and cautious about this. Do something small and safe, and if you have questions about it, speak to parents or trusted advisors.

Create with your pet. Dedicate some of the extra time at home to your pet, my pal Pam Murray suggests.  “Write stories from the pets’ point of view. Illustrate or film the story from the pets’ point of view, which could be pretty amusing if you have a Corgi- nothing over knee level,” she wrote on Facebook.

Write a play – in a day.  Sometimes a short project gets creatives revved up and ready for more. This brilliant idea for a play writing competition for college students was shared by my friend, theater and events consultant Nick Rowley. And it will leave you with time for other creative work:

Catch up. Your room’s a mess and you are behind on AP Calculus. So set aside two to three days for each and work diligently, using the pomodoro method to catch up. (Set a timer for 25 to 35 minutes and ignore everything else while you work diligently on a task. Then take a short break and start again.) Some people may need to catch up on their sleep, too.  Go for that after you have finished cleaning your room.

For artists and writers who appreciate specific ideas or prompts, we recommend creating art or writing a story or poem around the theme Abuela, Grandma, Bibi or on Resilience.  (Mint is working with Hannan Center on an art and storytelling show focused on Abuela and resilience seems like it will be a worthwhile topic for this year.) 

If you need help being productive while working at home, Fast Company magazine has excellent advice. If you need help achieving your goals, read our seven tips and find an accountability partner – another artist or your sister.

The key is getting started – today – on a creative or entrepreneurial project.  If you want to share your work in progress, please post it by Wednesday at 5 pm EST on Instagram and tag us @mintartistsguild .

Come back on Wednesday morning for more ideas on making the most of the time at home, with some incredibly creative projects for young creatives.

Photo: Vojtěch Petr on Unsplash

Posted on

Five ways to make more time for your creative work

 

Some weeks fly by and at the end of them, we wonder why we never took time to sketch, to paint, to write or edit a poem.   Tests and college admissions essays, volunteer work and family commitments distract us from our creative work.  

Bosses ask us to work an extra day on the weekend, the day we intended to dig in and start creating. Yet we want to be artists and we long to create art.

So Mint Artists Guild wants to help you start to achieve your goals – they are written goals, right? – by sharing some time management techniques. Here’s five:

Create time blocks for creative projects.   Set up your creative routine around a regular time to work. This could be an hour a day, first thing in the morning, or four hours each Saturday.  It could be Friday evenings, as long as you are comfortable missing out on dates, art openings and more. Choose a time when your creative energies are strong, though there is scientific research that shows you can be very creative during non-peak times and when you’re tired. Create a must-create habit on specific days and times. “Attend to it everyday—the results are worth the effort,” wrote Sarah Rauch in a Tiny Buddha post.

Make work-in-progress visible.  Leave the paints and brushes in plain view or the uncut leather and tools to work it sitting on a side table. Having them right there will make it easy to resume creating. “When you walk into your space, they should be staring you down,” wrote Jeffrey Silverstein in The Creative Independent’s tips-packed piece  on balancing full-time jobs with creative work. Silverstein is a teacher, musician and writer.

Create a good neurochemical balance. This means creating when your serotonin and dopamine are high.  Reduce your stress levels with a quick meditation and eat some protein and healthy foods just before you start working – and your creativity may soar.

Develop real deadlines.   Deadlines can help focus your mind and your attention. And deadlines that matter work even better.  So when your work is due to be hung in a gallery show on Friday, you must have it finished and delivered before then. If you promised a collector they could pick up a piece on Sunday, you want it finished and ready to be wrapped up a day or two before then. For Mint Artists,  deadlines exist for the Youth Art Fair in Northville, our Abuela, Grandma, Bibi intergenerational show with Hannan Center and the Palmer Park Art Fair in Detroit.

Use your time well.   We all get the same 24 hours a day, so how much time do you spend on social media or watching Stranger Things or other Netflix shows? Oil painter Chelsea Lang writes of training herself to be a morning person so her art comes first (before her day job). She also  evaluated which activities distract from art-making without giving her leisure time joy.  Yes, this means cutting out marginal activities to make time and energy for your creative work.

If you need more inspiration to start creating regularly, read the Mint blog post about artist Judy Bowman setting one big goal and using that to guide her choices, and also Shirley Woodson’s approach of creating many paintings at once.

Start small, perhaps by setting aside three hours a week to make art and see how that blooms into a bigger commitment to your creative future.

 

Photo:Deva Darshan on Unsplash

Posted on

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.