Paint Detroit with Generosity


Brighten charity spaces. Honor the work of nonprofits. Launch creative careers. Grow our generous mindset.

Step 1: Non-profits are selected and sign agreements.

Step2: Summer workers – artists paint an original piece for each non-profit.

Step 3: Paintings are exhibited for the public in November – January.

Step 4: Mint donates the paintings to the non-profits .

Step 5: Mint selects images for its Paint Detroit with Generosity collection of cards.

2021 Exhibition at Detroit Historical Museum

A short history of Mint giving away paintings

Mint Artists Guild was founded in 2015 as a way to teach young artists to develop business and career skills – and sell their work at art fairs and events. In 2016, Mint decided to add a summer jobs program, patterned partly after Artists For Humanity in Boston.

Mint cofounder Vickie Elmer knew she wanted to develop a generosity initiative, to give away paintings and showcase the youth work in public spaces. She wanted generosity to be one of Mint’s core values. So she started writing to nonprofits, offering them a free youth-created painting that reflected their mission and work.

Many charities turned Mint down that first year, or didn’t respond to the gift offer. Mint was unknown and youth art not seen as valuable – yet.

Eventually, though, she convinced 21 nonprofits to accept the first Paint Detroit with Generosity paintings, created mainly by three youth artists from Mint’s borrowed studio in downtown Detroit. The first Paint Detroit with Generosity exhibit hung on the second floor at The Carr Center’s former home for five weeks. Afterward, Mint volunteers delivered the paintings to our first partner nonprofits.

In future years, paintings were easier to give away to local nonprofits. Several were turned into Mint greeting cards, to raise money so Mint could hire more youth artists every year. Three summer artists turned to 18 artists in 2022.

Mint Generosity exhibits would hang at the Boll Family YMCA, at First Congregational church in Detroit, at the Fisher Building in 2019 and at the Durfee Innovation Society in 2020. In 2021, we exhibited at the Detroit Historical Museum and in 2022, we hope to show at the Michigan State University Detroit Center. So far, 65 nonprofits have received or are going to be gifted almost 150 original paintings created by Detroit youth as part of their summer jobs with Mint.

Paint Detroit with Generosity nonprofit partners

This list shows the nonprofit partners who have received or are going to receive original paintings from Mint Artists Guild’s Paint Detroit with Generosity initiative, 2016 – 2021. Nonprofits that are in boldface have received two or more paintings from Mint.

  • 826 Michigan
  • Affirmations
  • All About Animals
  • Alternatives for Girls
  • Art for Hearts
  • Arts & Scraps
  • Art Roads
  • Avalon Village
  • Belle Isle Conservancy
  • Brilliant Detroit
  • Cabrini Clinic
  • Capturing Belief
  • Carr Center
  • City Year
  • Coalition on Temporary Shelter, COTS
  • Congress of Communities
  • Connect Detroit
  • Creative Many
  • Crescendo Detroit
  • Crossroads of Michigan
  • Delta Sigma Theta Detroit Alumnae Chapter
  • Detroit Food Academy
  • Detroit Horse Power
  • Developing K.I.D.S.
  • Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries
  • Detroit Symphony Orchestra
  • Downtown Youth Boxing Gym
  • Ecoworks Detroit
  • Engaged Detroit Homeschooling Network
  • First Congregational Church of Detroit
  • Freedom House
  • Grandmont Rosedale Development Corp.
  • Greening of Detroit
  • Green Living Science
  • Girl Scouts of SE Michigan
  • Haven
  • Heritage Works
  • Judson Center
  • LBGT Detroit
  • Life Remodeled
  • Mack Alive
  • Mariners Inn
  • Math Corps
  • Mercy Education Project
  • Michigan Collaborative to End Mass Incarceration
  • Michigan Coalition for Human Rights
  • Mint Artists Guild (yes, we created one for ourselves in 2021)
  • Mosaic Youth Theatre
  • National Lawyers Guild, Michigan Chapter
  • People for Palmer Park
  • Preservation Detroit
  • The Pink Fund
  • Ronald McDonald House
  • Ruth Ellis Center
  • Secret Society of Twisted Storytellers
  • St. Patrick’s Senior Center
  • Sugar Law Center
  • The Sphinx Organization
  • Stand with Trans
  • THAW
  • The Youth Connection
  • YMCA of Metro Detroit

Several times a year, Mint brings young artists to serve and volunteer through art projects and workshops, helping in elementary schools and at community events and celebrations.

How You Can Nominate a Nonprofit to Our Program

To nominate a nonprofit to receive a painting or to request Mint at your school or event, please send an email to Describe the organization or school, your role and the event. Preference is given to charities that have headquarters or primarily focus on Detroit and organizations that serve youth or low-income, high needs populations.

If your nonprofit wants to become a Paint Detroit with Generosity partner and receive a piece, contact us by June 1. If your business wants to invest in creativity and generosity in Detroit, we are seeking partners.