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Generosity All Around: Mint gives back in Detroit during a tough pandemic year

Mint summer worker Tommy DuBose leads a free arts and crafts in Palmer Park in September. (Photo: Vickie Elmer for Mint)

“Not being able to do everything is no excuse for not doing everything you can.” – artist, cartoonist and author Ashleigh Brilliant

This year, as the world shut down, slowed down and took stock, Mint Artists Guild embraced the strength and beauty of generosity.

We knew it would be a tough year for children and youth in Detroit, with covid-19 raging, schools closed or figuring out how to go online and families stressed about health, money and more.  We knew we had to dig deep and go big and give as if we had deep pockets and plenty of resources. (That seems like Mint making stone soup, a tale of hunger and coming together to benefit everyone.)

Quite simply, we wanted to do everything we could to support, encourage and engage children and youth through art and entrepreneurship.

Mint has always given back through our programs with and for youth artists and our Paint Detroit with Generosity initiative. Yet during a pandemic we knew we needed to add more – many more ways to support creative children and youth and our community.

So in this season of giving, we want to share some of the ways Mint Artists Guild has given this year – as we ask you to complete the circle and give to us.  We are celebrating Generosity All Around us, and that serves as our theme for the next few weeks.

Here are five of the ways Mint is creating generosity all around Detroit:

Our fifth Paint Detroit with Generosity show is up at Durfee Innovation Society on the first and second floors main hallway. (Photo: Vickie Elmer for Mint)

Inspiration in challenging times. Our fifth annual Paint Detroit with Generosity exhibit is up and free to see at Durfee Innovation Society in Detroit. This exhibit in Detroit gives you a place to go, safely, to walk around and be inspired before Dec. 27.  Please call ahead – 313-437-1549 for an appointment – and wear your mask.

Creativity at home for children.   Early in the pandemic, an artist-friend suggested the need for creativity kits for Detroit children. Mint immediately saw the value and connected with our stellar partners Arts & Scraps and Brilliant Detroit.  We found a sponsor MCCI to help us pay for 10,000 coloring pages – an astounding number for us to print! And thanks to the generosity of foundations and individuals and amazing work of our partners, since late March, we have given away 4,500 of them to families with children and teachers.   

Beautify Detroit. Two of our youth workers chose as their personal paid project for the summer to paint the Little Free Library in Palmer Park. Mint encouraged this as a project because our executive director always fills this Little Free Library with books. Hear about how and why they did it in this wonderful volunteer-created video.

Inspire and share:  Mint launched the first Metro Detroit Youth Arts Competition to engage, inspire and connect creative youth, with lots of support from Mint board member Will “The Poet” Langford. Our prompts encouraged them to share art based on resilience, Detroit’s beauty and art as a unifying force. And with support of our community and the W.K.Kellogg Foundation, we were able to give our 11 winners some $2,400 in cash plus many prizes to young artists and poets and more.  Please listen to Ife Martins’ beautiful winning poem Silence in this post.  These artists and poets created so much beautiful art that we hope to share all of it here over the winter.

Children loved creating with Mint and some came back week after week. (Photo: Vickie Elmer for Mint)

Joy and creativity for children: Mint produced seven youth led arts and crafts in Palmer Park this summer and early fall, thanks to the Detroit Pistons and two foundations. We sent home almost 100 art supply kits and books and more.

This Generosity All Around list sounds ambitious, yet it represents less than half of the projects we have completed since mid-March.  We will share more in a couple of weeks – and we hope you will share some dollars  in a year-end gift. Please give generously.

New volunteer orientation

Children really enjoy Mint’s free arts and crafts in Palmer Park in the summer. (Photo: Vickie Elmer)

Mint Artists Guild seeks volunteers to assist us with many tasks, from free arts and crafts activities to leading a business of art workshop to fundraising and more.

Our big need over the next three months are creative types who could commit to assist with free arts and crafts in Palmer Park, working with our talented teen artists.

Mint Summer jobs interviews 3

Free arts and crafts in Palmer Park, summer 2018. (Photo © Vickie Elmer)

If you are interested in working for Mint Artists Guild this summer, start by registering with Grow Detroit’s Young Talents.

Then show up, with your resume, references and at least three work samples, for an interview with Mint. Your interview will take 20-30 minutes and you may bring a parent or relative, though that person will not be part of the interview.

This is the last of our three April interview dates. All hiring will be finished by May 15.

For interview tips, read this Mint blog post.

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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.

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Art for all: Make more Mint crafts and coloring pages

Free arts and crafts in Palmer Park, summer 2018. (Photo © Vickie Elmer)

Mint Artists Guild believes in crafts – and we offer them to children in Detroit regularly.

Seven times this summer, we hosted a free arts and crafts activities for families and individuals in Palmer Park, with support from the Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency and individual donors. We set up right outside the Mint Studios and children showed up in swimming suits from the Splash Park or after a family outing.

We will offer it at Eastern Market three times – Dec. 1, 8 and 22 – and with the People for Palmer Park at future events. We showed up at Youth Design Day and welcome other opportunities to get creative in the community.

Often these events include coloring pages created by Mint Artists.  One of our newest beauties is called “Rabbit feast” and it was created by Mint Summer worker Jessica:

We create these to engage children in art and creativity and to show off ours.  We know that creativity and art inspires altruism, creative problem solving – and youth to stay in school.

You can help us create more free art opportunities. Here’s three ways:

  1. Invite us to your event. We will bring coloring pages and /or crafts, for children or adults. Cost starts at $37 an hour, three hour minimum, to bring  in two emerging artists.  Please be in touch at least two weeks before the event or conference.

2. Download a coloring page You may use our Rabbit feast coloring page or else our Ladybug Coloring page. Please print seven copies or fewer for free, our gift to you. If you need more than that, please donate $25 or more to Mint first!

3. Underwrite a new coloring page by Mint Artists. This support gives youth work – and gives your company visibility. Imagine your company name at creative events and arts and crafts throughout 2020. This sponsorship starts at $375 for an independent business with one location. Please contact us if you are interested. (We have other business sponsorship opportunities too.)

We love getting creative with our emerging artists and children as young as 2, and hope you will come along as we give more coloring and craft opportunities throughout Detroit next year!

If you want to talk to us about any of these, please stop by and see us on Friday at the TechTown Detroit pop up from 11-3. Or drop us a line and we will schedule a conversation. We will even bring along a coloring page and crayons!

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Help us create more good in Detroit

Give to Mint Artists’ spring campaign today so we may hire more youth.

Mint Artists spring fundraiser underwrites a lot of good – good opportunities for Detroit youth, good summer jobs, good art that is donated to local nonprofits, good fun in our free Art in the Park arts and crafts in Palmer Park – and more.

The fundraiser supports all our programs, and in particular the Creative Summer Jobs program. In three years, we have created and donated close to 75 original paintings through our Paint Detroit with Generosity initiative, which is funded through this campaign.

This week. we start interviewing candidates for those jobs in our fourth summer. And Mint has a list of almost 60 young people who want to work for us. So the demand for jobs is there.  We expect to hire about 10 or 11 emerging artists, up from six in 2018, provided this fundraiser is successful.

That’s why we need your gift now – so we can offer jobs to creative young people such as Mint alumni Damon FirstBorn, who worked for us for two years, and others who sharpen their skills through our summer program.

Give online today, and if you wish to receive a gift for your donation, please select the option under Choose a Perk with a pink select button.  Or if you prefer to send a check, please mail it to Mint Artists, PO Box 21667, Detroit, MI 48221.

Our next post will share some details of the nonprofits that receive our Paint Detroit with Generosity paintings. Like our young artists, they appreciate our goodness – and your generosity in supporting Mint Artists Guild.

 

© Vickie Elmer for Mint Artists Guild, 2019