Posted on

Why Will Langford believes in our new Youth Arts Competition

Will Langford visits a Sheefy McFlymural in Eastern Market. (Photo by © Will Langford, using a tripod)

When we leap into something new and big, it helps to bring along an optimist and a make-magic-happen person like Will Langford.

Known as Will The Poet, he has a history of helping Mint and our young artists. And he also served as the voice of Michigan State University’s “Empower Extraordinary” campaign. He will use his positive energies and extraordinary network in Detroit to lead Mint in a new initiative: the Metro Detroit Youth Arts Competition.  It launched this week and runs through Aug. 4.

He was the first and best choice when Mint executive director Vickie Elmer came up with the idea to create a competition to engage and encourage children to be creative in these challenging times. He immediately said yes.

“I’ve engaged in the Metro Detroit Youth Arts Competition because I believe that Detroit is wealthy beyond our wildest dreams—in that our youth bear such light, intellect, and sheer talent,” said Langford.  “And Detroit is home to that undeniably spirit of hustle and hope, because when I look around me, I see artists, educators, parents, business owners, and co-conspirators who are committed to the growth of the Motor City.”

Children and youth who are age 21 or younger, as of Aug. 4, and live in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties in Michigan are encouraged to create visual art or poetry based on the three prompts Will wrote.

Those prompts and a lot of other information about the Youth Arts Competition are available on our website.  Completed poetry and art also may be uploaded there.

Will Langford is a Detroit native, a poet, teaching artist, and Fulbright scholar. He is the 2017 Motown Mic Spoken Word Artist of the Year. He divides his energy between education and community development projects in his hometown, East Africa, and the East Lansing area, where he is a Ph.D. student at Michigan State in curriculum Instruction and teacher education.

Will “The Poet” Langford (Photo: © Rachel Laws Myers, used with permission

Will joined the Mint board of directors in January.  Yet he already is well known as an active Mint supporter, a volunteer and ambassador who buys Mint art.

His idea for blackout poetry was featured in the Mint blog series Creative Ideas for Challenging Times.  And since Mint regularly brings poetry into its Creative Summer Jobs program, it was easy and smart to add poems to our competition this summer.

Now Will is working to bring in businesses and nonprofits that believe in children and creativity and will donate prizes, awards cash or promotion to our competition. He and Mint have landed some beauties including Arts & Scraps, Avalon International Breads, Confident Brands, Jo’s Gallery, North End Customs, Sherwood Forest Art Gallery and others.  We welcome your organization to join us in this joyful initiative; email us at mintartistsguild@gmail.com if you’re interested.

And we hope that you or your children, grandchildren, nieces, cousins, siblings, best friends, roommates and others who are 21 or less will enter the Metro Detroit Youth Arts Competition.  Will cannot wait to see what you write, draw or create!

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.

Posted on

Success! De’Shaia lands in pro shows with Mint

De’Shaia Ventour, a senior at Cass Tech, started making more elaborate duct tape painting after she joined Mint and sold her work at the Palmer Park Art Fair and other Mint events. 

She still creates beautiful duct tape flower pens and wallets, but her work has gotten bigger, more elaborate and in more venues.

Her duct tape painting Black Roses will be for sale at the All Media Exhibit, beside established artists including Darren Darby, Carole Morriseau, who taught art at Cass Tech, Bryan Tillman and others.

It’s her second time in the Detroit Artists Market. She had a few pieces in the Art for the Holidays show, which just ended.

For the All Media Show, Mint has a second piece at DAM too. The Mint Red Fish mosaic was created in the Mint Creative Summer Jobs program 2018, by a group of artists including Lakiya Ealey, Jordan Johnson and Lia Massey.  Someone who buys  the mosaic fish will support Mint in hiring 12 or more youth in our creative summer jobs program this year.  (All sale proceeds for Black Roses goes directly to De’Shaia Ventour.)

The Red Fish mosaic was created in the Mint Summer Jobs 2018.

The All Media exhibit opens on Friday and is up through Feb. 15 at the Detroit Artists Market, 4917 Woodware Ave., Detroit. The show is curated by Mint co-founder and Vice President Hubert Massey.

Black Rose, a duct tape painting by De’Shaia Ventour.

The De’Shaia video was created by Mint intern Journey Shamily and is © Mint Artists Guild, 2020.

Mint’s Generosity Tea

Tea for all

Join us on Tuesday, Dec. 3, Giving Tuesday, for tea and conversation around generosity in Detroit.

Mint will start with some examples and quotes – and a few good questions.

We believe in the power of generosity and will host this Generosity Tea at the Fisher Bakery, amid our Paint Detroit with Generosity exhibit. We will buy cups of tea for the first 12 people who show up and encourage everyone to bring ideas for a more connected and generous city.

Photo: Sabri Tuzcu and Unsplash

Posted on

Three ways Mint practices generosity in Detroit

 

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

 

“Every minute of every hour of every day you are making the world, just as you are making yourself, and you might as well do it with generosity and kindness and style,” said Rebecca Solnit, writer and activist and author of The Mother of All Questions and many other books.

 

Mint Artists Guild is striving to make the world a little more generous and kind. We want generosity to shine, beautifully, in Detroit and we want generosity to be part of our DNA.

It’s not always easy to do this, with a tiny budget and staff of one (plus teen artists and various interns). Yet we practice generosity often, with each other and in our community.

Here’s three big generosity moves by Mint:

Arts and crafts for all.  Through the summer, children and families flock to our free arts and crafts activities, held outside our studio in Palmer Park. They show up in swimming suits or leave picnics to get creative with our emerging artists. This year, we ran seven of them, and next year with your support, we will stage many more. (Hint: We’d love to develop the funds and buy a van so we could take these arts and crafts to more Detroit parks. Yes, we will use it to visit art spaces around the state too.)

Paint Detroit with Generosity.  For each of four years, Mint has donated 20 or more original paintings  to a wide variety of local nonprofits from Art Roads to Mosaic Youth Theatre to YMCA of Metro Detroit.  These paintings hang in nonprofit offices, homeless shelters, classrooms and more and are our gift to honor the work and missions of local nonprofits.

Community projects.  Mint volunteers at community projects several times a year, such as the big build of a playground in Palmer Park or free coloring pages and rafts for children and youth at Eastern Market during our pop ups. Next year, we plan to lead children in homeless shelters in creating cards and gifts for moms and grandmas.

And all our programs to develop business, entrepreneurship and career skills in talented teen artists are offered free of charge or on a modest sliding scale. We cover the application fees for events and we provide snacks to our artists, and sometimes meals too. 

If you believe in generosity, we invite you to give to Mint, whether you donate $1 a week all next year or give a $1,000 yearend gift or somewhere in between. We rely on generous individuals for some 55 percent of our budget and we know that individual giving and connections create opportunities for youth, beautiful paintings and so much more.

Or we invite you to host a Mint Tea  and invite a half dozen generous friends to learn more about us and support us.

For Giving Tuesday, we are hosting a Generosity Tea at the Fisher Bakery, and we will buy tea for the first 12 people who show up from 2 to 5 pm. Maybe that counts as another generous act by Mint, unless some very kind individual underwrites the tea!  Please join us and join the conversation about generosity in Detroit.

If you need more generosity or inspiration, we offer these 20 generosity quotes, gathered by writer Toni Bernhard for Psychology Today. Now please give generously to help Mint grow and be more generous in 2020.

 

Give generously, whether it’s art supplies, time or money. (Photo: Amaury Salas, Unsplash)

Posted on

How we are going to win a window on Woodward in 2020, with one minute of your help

Mint has a competitive streak and this time, we really want to win!

We are one of five nonprofit finalists in the Nonprofits in Action: 2020 Design Showcase, created by Co.act Detroit  and Design Core Detroit.   We already see ourselves featured in the Co.act window along Woodward Avenue next year.

Winning could be easy, with a little help from our friends.  Yes, that’s you! All it will take is one minute of your time, or if you’re feeling generous three minutes on three different days. Vote for us in this competition by scrolling to the very end of this voting tally and check Mint Artists Guild.

That’s it.  Just vote – any day and every day through Nov. 13.

Then look for representations of our work and of our creative, entrepreneurial and generous youth to show up at Woodward and West Grand Boulevard in 2020.

Photos: window by Alberto Lucas Perez on Up ; Mark Loeb for Mint Artists Guild

Posted on

Don’t miss out! Awesome art, one evening only

This painting by Hughie Lee Smith is part of the eclectic, international collection of attorney Jerome Watson and Judge Deborah Geraldine Bledsoe Ford.

If you love art, and want to see it – a lot of it – in an intimate setting, join us for our party and fundraiser in the art-filled home of Judge Deborah Geraldine Bledsoe Ford and attorney Jerome Watson. It’s one evening only, so don’t miss out.

The Detroit collectors have filled their home with works by internationally known artists Norbert Okpu Peju Aliaese, Hughie Lee Smith and Jacob Lawrence. Also  Detroit / Michigan artists LeRoy Foster, Henry Heading, Bill Murcko and Carl Owens. And many others, including Mint Artists Guild alumni Ackeem Salmon.  

This year, we honor as featured alumni artist Damon FirstBorn Chamblis. His art and offer original and limited edition art of other emerging artists and professional artists  in our Mint Masterpieces silent auction so guests may build their collections.

So “join us for the youth. Stay for the art!”  A limited number of tickets are available Buy your tickets to Mint Masterpieces on Oct. 19 now.

Don’t miss out!

This painting by Hughie Lee Smith is part of the eclectic, international collection of attorney Jerome Watson and Judge Deborah Geraldine Bledsoe Ford.

This painting by artist Hughie Lee-Smith is part of the eclectic, international collection of Judge Deborah Geraldine Bledsoe Ford and attorney Jerome Watson. Buy Mint Masterpieces tickets to see it and so much more.

Posted on

Creative, beautiful art at Mint Masterpieces, Part 2

A beautiful mixed media painting by Anthony R. Brass

 

Mint Artists Guild long has depended on artists to support our youth, our programs and our growth. They lead workshops, donate art supplies, give advice and mentoring. And they give their inventive, creative masterpieces for our Mint Masterpieces silent auction.

This year, we are fortunate to have work from artists who have supported us for several years, and some who are new to our creative circle of generosity and growth.

Jewelry maker Jody Mitchell is donating an original necklace made from Tibetan agate and brass. The brass Ashanti stool pendant was purchased at from the MBAD African Bead Gallery in Detroit; the golden stool is the divine throne of the Ashanti people and the ultimate symbol of power in Asante, now central Ghana.  Believed to house the spirit of the Asante nation, living, dead and yet to be born, a royal stool may belong to any chief or any person of consequence.  Mitchell slowly “evolved” an intuitive process for making her one-of-a kind jewelry for more than 20 years. She has a strong affinity for rare and ancient beads because they tell a story

 

 

A metal painting by artist Mike Willenborg.

Mike Willenborg, a machine repair expert and artist, has supported Mint before, by making us one of the beneficiaries of the Scrap Fest, held at the Lexus Velodrome.  He bought tickets to Mint Masterpieces, then donated two pieces of his copper and metal paintings to our silent auction.  Willenborg used to discard old parts and metal pieces, but now he allows them to speak, with “whimsey and weirdness.” Gears, bearings, chains and copper plates all have long lives and many stories to tell. How they become tarantulas and moons and elephants with spider webs for ears, Willenborg says, no one will ever tell.

 

Henry Heading has donated this beautiful heart painting.

Henry Heading‘s beautiful work combine his talent as an artist and as a carpenter. He creates his own frames, and they are works of art that flow from the intricately painted piece. He donated this beautiful heart piece to our silent auction. Heading is new to supporting Mint Artists Guild, and a regular working with Mint co-founder Hubert Massey on large murals and mosaic projects. He also is one of the favorite artists of Mint Masterpieces’ hosts Judge Deborah Bledsoe Ford and attorney Jerome Watson.

Anthony Brass, whose orange hand-tree piece came to us after the Palmer Park Art Fair, is a new supporter of Mint. He learned about our nonprofit from his partner, artist Espacia Fotiu, who is a Mint alumni whose career started in the Mint tent. Brass considers himself a “contemporary surrealist artist” whose work is sold at fine juried art fairs and events. His beautiful orange hand-tree piece is eye catching and will certainly be a beautiful part of the evening of Oct. 19.

The silent auction also is featuring work from collectors. We will offer a wild zebras piece by California artist YESNIK / Dave Kinsey donated by 1XRun co-owner Jesse Corey; one by Detroit artist Ron Scarbough, donated by collectors David and Linda Whitaker, and by photographer Bill Sanders, donated by Mint cofounders Vickie Elmer and Mark Loeb. Also look for many pieces by Mint Artists and alumni featured in an earlier post.

If you want one of these pieces, or you want to be part of the creative future of Detroit, buy your tickets today to our art-filled party on Oct. 19.

Posted on

Don’t Miss This: Their art collection goes on and on, and you may see it for one night only

If you’ve ever wanted to see an art collection that is as eclectic as it is international, Mint Artists Guild is giving you a wonderful opportunity, but only for one evening.
Join us on Oct. 19 for Mint Masterpieces, hosted by Judge Deborah Geraldine Bledsoe Ford and attorney Jerome Watson. They are two art collectors who fill their Palmer Woods home with art from Asia, Africa, Europe – and Detroit. Among them are pieces by artists Hughie Lee Smith, LeRoy Foster, Norbert Okpu and Detroit’s own Henry Heading.  Or consider Jacob Lawrence, who the Smithsonian Institution on American Art calls “the most widely acclaimed African American artist” of the 20th Century.

Watch this video for a tiny sampler of all the art in their home.  Then buy a ticket. A limited number of tickets to Mint Masterpieces are available now online. Each ticket purchased supports the growth of our nonprofit – and gives you access to an art collection that will inspire you to start or grow your own.