Updated Jan. 19, 2022
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 our 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. Young people must live in the City of Detroit (though exceptions may be made for exceptional artists who live in Hamtramck and Highland Park) and register with GDYT before the May deadline. Mint also hires a couple of interns through Wolverine Pathways, a University of Michigan program that enrolls high potential students from Detroit, Southfield and Ypsilanti. In the future, we hope to offer one job to a youth who lives in Ferndale but currently we lack funding for that.
2. What does Mint look for in hiring young people for summer jobs?
First, Mint expects youth to take the initiative, meet or exceed deadlines and demonstrate maturity and creativity. This means they handle the application themselves (though parents or grandparents may help by coaching for interviews or reminding about completing all the steps).
Now 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.
Attitude counts for a lot. We want hard working, optimistic, thoughtful and constantly-learning youth. We also seek individuals who are altruistic, volunteer or give back – and want to help others as part of their summer job. Send us your work or links to it when you first contact us. And bring samples to your virtual job interview.
3. What other criteria are there for becoming a Mint Summer Worker?
Our program generally hires youth ages 14 to 22, who are that age by July 1. We know GDYT goes to 24 and we do hire artists as team leaders who are older, and have experience with Mint. Most of the summer jobs go to high school and early college artists living in Detroit. (If you live in Hamtramck or Highland Park, we may be able to consider you but you must approach us early – by early April – and help make a case for yourself.)
Because of covid-19, 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. We recommend you send two pieces of your best creative work along. You may send us your professional / educational references at the start or share them at the end of your interview.
4. What’s it like to work for Mint in the summer?
Artists usually work in a creative space, a studio, surrounded by creative people. This year, we plan a hybrid summer job, with much the work taking place in artists’ home or yards or studios or garages. We expect to work outdoors or in the Mint Studios in Palmer Park one or two days a week.
For the in-person days, youth will be expected to arrange their own transportation or take a bus. Artists must have good Wi-fi and access to a laptop or tablet for two hours a day on the days they work from home.
Mint workers have projects and daily and weekly 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. One of our biggest projects is the 25 to 30 paintings for our Paint Detroit with Generosity initiative.
Youth are expected to work at least five hours a day, often in the afternoons or early evenings, from July 5 to mid August. About 90 minutes is online together – for artist talks, training and fun engagement activities – and the rest is working on your own. Most Mint workers generally get their full $1,440 stipend from GDYT in six weeks, though some ask for compressed schedules and some need an extra week or so. We are flexible but we also must follow the GDYT requirements.
5. And young artists are paid for this, to paint and create?
Yes! Pay is set by GDTY – ranging $10 to $12 an hour, depending on age and title – and by Wolverine Pathways. This year, pay is based on completing benchmarks – mostly finishing art work. Pay is every other week and could reach $1,440 for six weeks of part-time art making. Pay for hours or work beyond those covered by GDTY is negotiated with each artist and covered by Mint and its supporters.
Because artists are paid and Mint buys all art supplies, all the art, creative products and imagery created in the Mint Summer Jobs program belongs to Mint Artists Guild or its partners. That’s the way it works at most businesses and nonprofits from General Motors to a startup software company.
We encourage our young artists to photograph and share work created in their digital portfolio as work created while working for Mint Artists Guild. Artists may submit work made for Mint to competitions, with permission of our executive director.
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. Some learn digital art making and lithography. Others may develop a new medium such as pastels or gouache. 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 six goals for this program:
- Skill development. We focus on productivity, participation, painting and professionalism.
- Create excellent art.
- Community service.
- Goals. Develop youth goal setting and goal getting skills through training, mentoring and support.
- Grow Mint.
- Raise reputations – our own and our artists.
8. How do new artists who are hired get started with Mint?
We share information with new artists / Mint summer workers starting in May through email and other communications tools. Then our summer workers are expected to attend a three- or four-part Mint Orientation session, which includes some joyful improv lessons from our friends at the Detroit Creativity / Improv Project.
9. 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 April 27.
We will launch a spring fundraiser specifically to support the 21 or 22 jobs we will create this summer; watch for news on that. And we always need art supplies, especially canvases and acrylic paints, new T-shirts and healthy snacks.
10. Where may I learn more about your work?
Mint shares information here on our blog and through this wonderful volunteer-created website. So please browse those and follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. We also have some amazing videos of our artists on YouTube. 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.