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Stick with us for beautiful stickers and holiday gifts

Buy this trio of stickers together for more beauty and affirmation.

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.

We launch the first three today in our online Mint Shop.  These three stickers all are based on paintings created in the Mint Creative Summer Jobs program.  They join the Mint greeting cards and Mint prints, plus our first poster focused on social justice and a very few pieces of original art, all for sale through our website.

Stickers have become a form of self expression, creativity and caring about causes.  College students in Michigan and Virginia share their personality, passions, positivity and their love of dogs, sports, bands or travel through stickers. Stickers are placed on hotel room doors to certify the rooms are sanitized. A Dallas chef created a sticker line to celebrate friendship and her Latina culture with sugar skulls and tacos.  

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!

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Meet us on Livernois for so much creativity and connection

This mural on Livernois featuring Stevie Wonder was painted by artist Michael Owen.

In a fashionable move into one of the most creative neighborhoods in Detroit, Mint will spend most of October on Livernois.

Known as the Avenue of Fashion, the mile-long strip of Livernois between Seven and Eight Mile roads houses a half dozen art galleries and a similar number of creative businesses, murals by local and national artists, Baker’s Keyboard Lounge, which dates back to 1933, and an array of restaurants, many of them Black owned.   Newer restaurants including Kuzzo’s and Bucharest Grill have opened in recent years as well as boutiques offering make up, hats or shoes.

Why are we arranging this month long series on Livernois? First and foremost because we believe the art created by youth deserves to be seen and celebrated in Detroit. But also Mint knows that Black businesses have struggled in the pandemic and many need to connect with new customers.  It is near our home in Palmer Park, so we spend lots of time there. And Livernois has been good to us, with businesses there supporting us since we were a tiny baby nonprofit.  We also are grateful to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation for support of the Youth Arts Competition this year.

Here is our schedule of events for the first Mint Showcase:

Friday, Oct. 2 – The Mint Showcase on Livernois debuts 4 – 6 pm, with an opportunity to meet some of our Metro Detroit Youth Arts Competition winners.   Mint will unveil its new Michigan Influential Woman limited edition giclee’ print at Sherwood Forest Art Gallery at 5:30 pm; a piece that follows in Mint’s Rosa Parks print.

Saturday, Oct. 3 – Mint Showcase continues. Buy youth art, see artist demonstrations, hear their stories. Artists will pop up in four businesses from 12 – 5 pm. Hear the spoken word poem of Youth Arts Competition winner Ife Martin outside Jo’s Gallery Cafe at around 1:30 pm

Saturday, Oct. 17 – The Mint Art Walk is a beautiful outdoor benefit that introduces you to artists and Black businesses along Livernois. Tickets cost $15 each, or $35 for VIP tickets which include gifts from Mint.  Guests may join a small guided group at 10 am or 1:30 pm, or take a self-guided walk if they prefer.  Future Mint Art Walks will take place in Eastern Market, Midtown Detroit and the Palmer Park area.

Saturday, Oct. 31 – Halloween arts and crafts, 11 am – 1:30 pm . Come get creative in or in front of two Livernois businesses. Masks are required and costumes encouraged.

So we want to introduce art lovers to four businesses that have supported our nonprofit for years:

This beautiful sun painting is the symbol of the Mint Showcase. It was painted in the Mint Summer Jobs program by worker Alexis Bagley.

  • Akoma – Akomaa creative women’s cooperative is led by artist Mandisa Smith, a talented fiber artist. It is opening in the space that was Detroit Fiber Works.  Akoma will carry some Mint greeting cards and our first poster during the Mint Showcase.
  • Art in Motion – This clay studio, gift shop and creative co-working space offers classes and workshops for children and all ages. It is led by Kay Willingham, who worked as a mosaic teaching artist with Mint  two summers ago. Art in Motion will carry some Mint merchandise during the Showcase.
  • Jo’s Gallery –  Established 25 years ago, Jo’s Gallery sells and promotes local and national artists’ work, jewelry, home decor and framing. It also hosts pop-ups at its Jo’s Gallery Cafe and is led by Garnette Archer, the second-generation owner.
  • Sherwood Forest Art Gallery – Sherwood Forest frames art – lots of it. And it creates high quality artist prints too, for many artists from Judy Bowman to Mint Artists Guild. It sells African artifacts and African American art, local and national. It is owned by a father and son, both former firefighters.

We also will have art in the windows of the soon-to-open Motor City Brewing Works on Livernois. And we are open to collaborating with other Livernois businesses that provide real support to our youth-development and creative careers nonprofit.  Please contact us today if you’d like to join in the creativity and opportunities.

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Sydney G. James’ big, excellent advice for emerging artists

Sydney G. James near one of her many murals. (Photo: © Bre’Ann White)

Her Malice Green mural in Highland Park, completed in just a few days after months of sitting on the couch during the covid-19 pandemic, was until recently, her latest completed work. It also was her first male figure in “forever.”

Sydney G. James had missed working on the big murals, and she sees big public art pieces as her perfect canvas. Almost all of them depict women of color, often women she knows.

Now  James is finishing something even bigger – a mural in the North End of Detroit loosely based on the Vermeer painting Girl with a Pearl Earring.  James’ Girl with the D earring is approximately 9 stories tall, painted on the Chroma building developed by The Platform.

She is documenting her team’s mural creation on Instagram, but is clear the work comes first. She expects to finish it in about six days, lightning speed especially during a pandemic.

“Produce, produce and then promote.” Put in the work and develop a work ethic, she advised the 13 Mint Artists this summer.

“If you take a job for 50 cents or $5 million, the work should be identical. That’s your currency. That’s still an advertisement for you.”

Sydney James painting a mural on Schaefer Highway in 2017. (Photo: Quicken Loans)

“Each new piece better be better than the last,” James said. That should be your intention. “Don’t make ugly shit.”

Then turn to your artist’s social media and promotion. Use great hashtags and follow exceptional artists. “Follow dope artists from around the world,” she recommended. James was one of five guest artists to talk to the Mint Creative Summer Jobs program.

James shared some of her career journey since graduating from College for Creative Studies in 2001.  She worked in advertising, as a ghost artist on a television show in Los Angeles and taught art in school. Now she’s all in on murals and has painted them in Atlanta, Hawaii, New Orleans, Ghana and many in Detroit, including a number of years with Murals in the Market.

She  believes artists must be willing to say no to clients who will be a pain in the neck or want you to change colors three times. “You got to figure out how you want to plant and where you want to plant your seeds,” she said.

(Photo by Bre’Ann White used with permission.)

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Our Heroes: See them now at the Scarab Club in Midtown Detroit

Hero paintings by Zora Flounory and Alexis Bagley; © Mint Artists Guild, 2020

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.

Angela Davis, a civil rights leader, also worked on behalf of black prisoners and for LBGTQ rights. She appeared on the FBI’s most wanted list and later was acquitted of all charges. Angela Davis, painted by Mint summer worker Michael Johnson, has written many books and taught at universities. Read more about her in this Academic Kids post.  

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.

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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

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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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Why we are doubling up on creative youth this year

 

This year as unemployment soars, Mint Artists Guild is doubling down on summer jobs and hiring more creative youth. You may help create more meaningful opportunities with a double the donation spring fundraiser

Instead of hiring ten aspiring artists, Mint will recruit, support and develop 13 youth this summer. That’s up 30 percent from last year. 

We call them the Lucky 13 summer artists, and they all live in Detroit and are hired in partnership with Grow Detroit’s Young Talent, the city youth employment program.

Mint is doing this as the economy worsens and many programs scale back or halt for the summer. Young workers will be particularly hard hit by the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic, the International Labour Organization reports. Yet research shows teens gain so much from summer jobs: future career gains and higher earnings,  greater self esteem  and academic advances. 

It’s better to be versatile and the Mint program helps you with that,” said Mint Artists’ Michael Johnson.

He worked for Mint last summer where he developed skills in acrylic painting and mosaic making.  (Read our survey results that document

Mint summer worker Michael Johnson live painted for our summer open house in 2019. (Photo Vickie Elmer)

major skills our 2019 team gained.) Michael especially liked the collaborative paintings created in small groups and he expects to return to the Lucky 13 this year.  

Watch our Facebook and Instagram to hear directly from our young artists as our fundraiser unfolds. They videotaped themselves sharing what they learned, why Mint matters and why you should donate to our fundraiser.

Our spring fundraiser has a beautiful bonus: Every $1 an individual or business gives is matched with a dollar from ioby, a nonprofit fundraising portal, and its backers. So please give today before the double the donation money runs out.

Your doubled up gift creates waves of goodness and generosity.  Through your donation, we will hire two teaching artists, create another piece of public art for Palmer Park and a coloring book.  If circumstances allow, Mint will run free weekly arts and crafts in Palmer Park. And all that comes on top of our fifth annual Paint Detroit with Generosity initiative, which this year focuses on nonprofits serving children and youth.

So please give a little or give a lot as we create beautiful opportunities in Detroit. Here’s the direct link: https://ioby.org/project/lets-grow-meaningful-youth-jobs-creativity-and-beauty-detroit

 

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Mint Summer Jobs: What you need to know to land a job with us

 

Summer jobs
Mint Summer Workers critique each other’s work, led by Mint director Vickie Elmer (Painting © Brandon Ross for Mint Artists Guild)

Mint Artists Guild looks forward to meeting many new artists each spring, as we hold Open Interviews for our Creative Summer Jobs program. We strive to be open to all and transparent about how we run Mint. And we prepare youth and their families with information – such as interview tips and more.

With all that in mind, we are sharing some frequently asked questions and answers about tour Summer Jobs program, ahead of our interviews in April.

1.  What  programs support Mint Creative Summer Jobs program?

Mint hires most of its young workers through Grow Detroit’s Young Talent, or GDYT,  the city’s youth jobs portal. So you must register with GDYT first. Mint also hires through Wolverine Pathways, a University of Michigan program that enrolls high potential students from Detroit, Southfield and Ypsilanti.

2. What does Mint look for in hiring young people for summer jobs?

We look for talented visual artists who are serious about their creative work and the possibility of a creative career. You must demonstrate artistic skills, passion and desire to learn more.  And attitude counts for a lot. We want hard working, optimistic, thoughtful and constantly-learning youth.  We also seek individuals who are altruistic and want to help others. Send us your work or links to it when you first contact us. And bring samples to your interview.

3.  What other criteria are there for becoming a Mint Summer Worker?

 Our program hires youth ages 14 to 21, who are that age by June 15. We know GDYT goes to 24 and we eventually may grow our program for artists with more experience. For now, Mint focuses on teens and early college, most of whom live in Detroit.  Artists must be interviewed in person at the Mint Studios to be considered. Open interviews are scheduled for April 7, April 18 and April  24. 

We will schedule other interview dates in May too. Because of the stay home / stay safe orders, our interviews are moved to Zoom or Google Hangouts. Please email us if you wish to be included and be sure to tell us about yourself and your best skills.

4.  What’s it like to work for Mint in the summer?

Artists work in a creative space, a studio, surrounded by creative people. And they have projects and deadlines, and are expected to participate in exercises to build their productivity, focus and painting and mosaic making skills. 

We create together and independently, some serious work and some just for the joy and experience like our pal Sloopy, made at the end of the 2019 program.  Mint Artists create paintings, mosaics, linoleum cut prints, coloring pages, arts and crafts activities and other creative work as assigned, with support from professional artists and our teaching artist Ms. Jacquie,

We work  five or six hours a day, often in the afternoons or early evenings, from July 6 to late August. Most workers generally get their full 120 hours allowed by GDYT, in six or seven weeks, though some ask for compressed schedules and some need an extra week or so. We are flexible!

5.  And young artists are paid for this, to paint and create?

Yes! Pay is set by GDTY – ranging from $8.25 to $10 an hour, depending on age and title – and by Wolverine Pathways. Pay is every other week. Pay for hours or work beyond those covered by GDTY is negotiated with each artist and covered by Mint.  

This Paint Detroit with Generosity painting from 2019 was created by Mint worker Oluwaseyi Akintoroye.

Because artists are paid and Mint buys all art supplies, all the art and imagery created in the Mint Summer Jobs program belongs to Mint Artists Guild. That’s the way it works at most businesses and nonprofits too. We encourage our young artists to photograph and share work created in their digital portfolio as work created while working for Mint Artists Guild.   Mint donates many of the paintings to other nonprofits through our Paint Detroit with Generosity initiative.

 

6.  What will artists learn through Mint Summer Jobs?

Artists definitely improve their acrylic painting skills. And they learn to create a mosaic, such as the beautiful butterflies that now hang in Palmer Park. They learn to be more focused and productive. They improve their communications skills and confidence, too, according to our surveys of participants.  And they do all this while earning money and creating art for the community. 

7.  What are the goals of Mint’s summer jobs program?

Mint has set five goals for this program:

  • Improve productivity and build skills.
  • Develop skills artists need to work for clients such as multiple ideas, listening.
  • Give back through community service.
  • Grow Mint.
  • Raise reputations – our own and our artists. 

We also work with artists in our program to set one goal for themselves and measure their progress. 

8. How can I support Mint Artists Guild?

Producing a high-quality summer jobs program takes plenty of support from individuals and businesses. So please donate now – and make it a monthly donation if you are able.  If you wish to commission some work from us, please be in touch with Mint executive director Vickie Elmer about your idea  by mid-April.

We will launch a spring fundraiser specifically to support the 13 or 14 jobs we will create this summer; watch for news on that on our Facebook and Instagram within a few weeks.  And we always need art supplies, especially canvases and acrylic paints  

9. Where may I learn more about your work?

Mint shares information here on our blog and through this wonderful volunteer-created website. We even have frequently asked questions with answers here. So please browse those and follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.  If you’re still curious, please send us more questions to answer!

And we hope some of you – or your offspring, nieces and nephews and grandchildren – will want to join us and will interview with Mint in April. 

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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.