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More beautiful ways Mint practices ‘Generosity All Around’

“Sometime when we are generous in small, barely detectable ways, it can change someone else’s life forever.” – Margaret Cho, a stand-up comedian and singer-songwriter

Generosity may not keep covid-19 at bay but it can open the doors to new jobs and new perspectives on the world. It also can surprise and delight individuals in a difficult or challenging time.

Mint Artists Guild believes in the power of creativity and generosity and we are sharing some more of the ways we practiced that in 2020 here.

Inspiration in challenging times.   In challenging times, the world needs more heroes. We created them over the summer. Then in the fall, Mint shared our new exhibit Heroes: Now and Then  at the Scarab Club and then onto the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center.  Before long, they may be available on our website and we expect to install them at other galleries or museums in 2021.

These Heroes paintings were created by summer workers Michael Johnson and Jessica Fligger.

Youth development and youth jobs. Mint gave 15 young people this year paid work experience this year, in our Creative Summer Jobs program and in our marketing internships. This is almost 40 percent more than in 2019. Among them was Seyi Akintoroye, who led Team Rocket one of our two workers teams this summer and created two Heroes paintings. Hear her interview in this video:

Art gifts.  Mint gave away sidewalk chalk in the spring to encourage participation in our Cheerful Chalk Challenge. We gave away art in Free Art Fridays in Palmer Park and several other places in Detroit.  Mint and Mint Artists’ Oluwaseyi Akintoroye organized our youth artists, who created and donated art to The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History online fundraiser. And Mint has a few pieces of art set aside to donate to 2021 nonprofit fundraisers.

Inspiration in challenging times. Mint assisted with with two murals this year, assisting Mint co-founder artist Hubert Massey. The first one was Power to the People in downtown Detroit and second mural was Revolutionary Love in Southwest Detroit.  Watch this six-minute volunteer-created video about the second mural now:

Beautify Detroit.  Mint shared our art gladly in the community to beautify Detroit neighborhoods.  Two examples of that showed up in the October Mint Showcase on Livernois and Metro Detroit Youth Arts Competition winners’ art in local businesses in November and December. We hope to expand this in 2021, and with your generosity, we will.

Mint youth art in the window at Motor City Brewing Works on Livernois.

We know that Detroit and the Midwest are full of nonprofits who do good work. And we know that you may already have given to some of them. But we ask you to help make Generosity All Around part of your approach to 2021 and give generously to Mint Artists Guild. Our online donation portal is fast, easy and secure. And that circle of generosity will look beautiful as it grows and grows.

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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.

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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)

Paint Detroit with Generosity exhibit opening

We invite you to the fourth annual Paint Detroit with Generosity exhibit opening at the magnificent Fisher Building / Fisher Bakery on Tuesday, Nov. 19.

Meet some of the artists in the Mint Creative Summer Jobs program who were paid to create these beautiful pieces and learn more about the wide variety of charities in and near Detroit.

Guests may nominate a nonprofit organization to receive one of the three paintings that were not specifically painted for a charity. The Fisher Bakery will sell baked goods and light meals, and Mint will have greeting cards available for purchase.

Sponsors and partners are welcome to support this initiative. We are grateful to our current sponsors: Blossoms florists, Collected Detroit, the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs, Eric’s I’ve Been Framed Shop and Sherwood Forest Gallery. And we are very thankful to The Platform and The Fisher Building.

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Sounds sweet, looks beautiful: Mint at the DSO

Mint Artists Guild has reached another milestone:  A piece of our art now belongs in a major arts institution’s collection.

Success sounds sweet after we donated a Paint Detroit with Generosity painting to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

The painting, created last year in the Mint Creative Summer Jobs program by worker Charles, will hang in the DSO’s new education wing.

Mint’s Paint Detroit with Generosity  initiative in 2018 was underwritten by a Michigan Council for the Arts grant, with Culture Source and the National Endowment for the Arts, and supported by Blossoms, a full service florist, and many individual donors.

We give original paintings to more than 25 local nonprofits, from Mercy Education Projects to Ronald McDonald House to the Greening of Detroit. Several others beyond the Detroit Symphony Orchestra celebrate music, performance and culture:

  • Crescendo Detroit
  • Heritage Works
  • Mosaic Youth Theatre
  • YMCA Y-Arts.

And the Boll Family YMCA in downtown Detroit hosted our exhibit last year where thousands of people saw the paintings created by Mint workers.

To support this year’s summer jobs program, where these lovely paintings are created, please give to our spring fundraiser today.  Give $250 or more and you may choose a small Mint painting as your reward.

 Paint Detroit with Generosity is worth a standing ovation and a big donation!

Painting © Mint Artists Guild, 2018

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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

 

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Giving Tuesday, join us for tea

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Giving Tuesday is a special day, when Americans who have shopped all weekend take time to donate to a worthy cause.  It’s a warm day, and one that encourages generosity and community.

So Mint Artists will spend the afternoon of Nov. 29 – one week from today – at SocraTea in Midtown Detroit, a place that generously gave us an exhibit earlier this year.  We hope to connect with you from 2-5 p.m. – and may give away a few things as well as accept donations.  (If you cannot join us for a cup o tea, you also are welcome to donate online or mail us a check to PO Box 21667 Detroit, MI 48221.)

Mint Artists builds confidence, business and life skills – and community. Our artists become better problem solvers and more engaged and generous citizens, as several of our artists will show.

Please join us for Giving Tuesday – and keep our creative futures engaged and growing.

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Join us Thursday for our fall opening. And if you know a worthy nonprofit in Detroit or nearby, consider nominating a nonprofit to receive a made-in-Detroit painting from Mint Artists.

The Carr Center is in Paradise Valley, in downtown Detroit, and our exhibit is on the second floor.

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Our deadline for raising money for Mint’s startup and summer jobs program is just around the corner. We’ve already hired one young person to work for us – and hope to hire two more. So give today, whether it’s $10 or $100 or $1,000. The first paintings created this summer go to an array of Detroit nonprofit organizations.

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We want to encourage generosity in Detroit – so we’re practicing it in our fundraiser.

Anyone who gives $20 or more receives a Mint card – ‘starry, starry night.’ We have art pieces too for those who give $100 or $313.

And for those who are really generous, live a lot. Tour The Whitney – or tour Motor City Brewing or Detroit Bikes! We call these our ‘Inside Creative Detroit’ series of appreciation gifts. Seriously beautiful and part of the win, win, win approach to our fundraising efforts. 

Then we will turn around and donate paintings, created by Mint artists, to 25 local nonprofits including Junior Achievement, Mosaic Youth Theatre, the Ruth Ellis House and many others.  Generosity really could grow like mint in Detroit.