Posted on

Paint a poem and more mixed up ways to get creative

Poetry and painting go hand in hand. (Photo Trust Try Katsande / Unsplash)

We are in our sixth week of sharing creative activities for youth, for all who are staying home to stay safe.  Some of us are feeling bored and uninspired.  Others may need something different to break up our usual creative work.  Others may be wishing they could take a “spring break” from real life, but know that isn’t possible right now.

Instead, we suggest you take a break from your usual and try something inspiring or surprising – right in your home or back yard. We’ve got you covered this week with an array of offerings for all ages:

Create something random. Websites such as Art Prof, Doodle Addicts and many others offer ideas to draw. Whether it be a character, scenery, your fears or curtains billowing through a window, the possibilities are endless.  Mint marketing intern Journey Shamily, who made this recommendation, especially likes Artpromps.

Try some improv.  The Detroit Creativity Projects’ brings improv artists out to share cool games in its Improv Project new YouTube Channel.  Try one for something fresh and fun. Or check the Canadian Improv Games online training center for more improvisation ideas.

Interview your grandma.  Grandpa also could be a good person to

Spend a couple of hours interviewing your grandmother. (Photo: Ashwin Vaswani / Unsplash)

interview to learn more about your family history or to discover the most difficult moments in their lives.  Create a list of questions or draw from these 20 by Family Search.  Follow the excellent etiquette and other advice from genealogist and author Sharon DeBartolo Carmack. If you need more family history research tools, check our previous post for some excellent recommendations.

Put poetry into your painting.   Pair poetry and painting, and you have something twice as wonderful. Perhaps you will insert a line of poetry into your art work. Or perhaps your piece will be inspired by a piece of poetry.  Choose a poet whose work is filled with imagery such as Mary Oliver (try “Song for Autumn” or perhaps “Spring”)  or by Lucille Clifton (perhaps “My Dream About Time” ) or Eleanor Lerman (“That sure is My Little Dog.”)  Or maybe you want to write your own poem and then illustrate it! It is still National Poetry Month.

Look back on our five previous posts for more inspiration and look forward to more coming next week from Mint Artists Guild.

Posted on

How and why we are creating fun, free art kits for Detroit children, with amazing partners

Part of the first 500 creative activity kits at Brilliant Detroit. (Photo: Vickie Elmer)

It started with a comment on our co-founder’s Facebook page, a suggestion that families in Detroit may not have enough materials to create at home

Those few sentences identifying the need to distribute art boxes along with food in Detroit came from Yvette Jenkins, owner of Love Travels Imports.  (In the three degrees of separation, her shop shares space on Livernois with Art in Motion, which had hosted Mint for several workshops and participated with us in the Palmer Park Art Fair.)

Yvette’s comment inspired us to action. Soon we were connected with two other nonprofits: Arts & Scraps and Brilliant Detroit. Both of them are our partners in our Paint Detroit with Generosity initiative.

By 12:35 on March 13th – that’s 313 Day or Friday the 13th – the first emails flew out to Arts & Scraps executive director Ang Adamiak under the subject line: “Incredibly timely idea: Art boxes while DPS and other schools are closed.”

Our co-founder and executive director Vickie Elmer had already started brainstorming ideas. She saw this as something big and beautiful – 5,000 or more kits given to children in Detroit, fast and free.

Yet we knew we also had to line up funding and figure out how to get these kits to families with children, since schools, recreation centers and libraries were closed to protect against COVID-19 spreading.

It turns out Brilliant Detroit was a well, brilliant choice for many reasons, including its network of eight neighborhood centers that serve thousands of children and their adults. Its CEO and co-founder Cindy Eggleton knows how to collaborate and make things happen. So before we could say “coronavirus rhymes with iris” three times, we had funding for the first 2,000 kits.

A child created this penguin from one of the first kits. (Photo: Brilliant Detroit)

About two-thirds of the contents of the Creative Activities Kits created by Arts & Scraps, Mint and Brilliant Detroit. (Photo: Vickie Elmer)

The art kits contain all kinds of recycled art supplies from Arts & Scraps store and warehouse, from paper to cones to glitter and crayons and popcicle sticks and more.  Then we add in two two-sided Mint coloring pages, which were printed partly with underwriting by Detroit marketing firm MCCI Corp., and Jennette Smith Kotila.  (One degree of separate here: Jennette was managing editor of Crain’s Detroit Business when Vickie started writing for the publication. They worked together on Crain’s Most Influential Women special section and more.)

Last Monday, March 23, three volunteers recruited by Mint picked up the first 500 kits from Arts & Scraps and drove across I-94 to Brilliant Detroit’s headquarters. They all were women.

This project is starting to sound like a women’s empowerment activity – and in some ways, it is. Three women working with women to support mothers and children, grandmothers and fathers in a challenging time.

The first kits were given to families in Southwest Detroit who are connected to Brilliant Detroit.  “Thank you for supporting us to help our children. To motive them, and to learn to imagine,” said Gloria Vera, a mother of three children who received the kit last week.

Two of the Ramos children with some work made from the Creative Activities Kits. (Photo: Brilliant Detroit)

Creativity and making art have many benefits to children from problem solving to developing fine motor skills.  It  also is good for relieving boredom or stress.

“Here’s a little of the work that we have done,” said Judith Ramos, mother of four. She shows off work by her children Yajairi,  Yesenia  y Yamilet.made from the kits.  “Thank you to all the people who have taken the time to give us this material to keep our children busy at this difficult time. Thank you, and I hope God protects you.”

If you want more children to  be creative in these crazy times, please  donate to the Arts & Scraps fundraiser today.

If you wish to download one of our coloring pages from the kits, please download this one from the Palmer Park Butterfly Garden for free. 

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