Mint Summer Open House

Join us for our annual Summer Open House to meet our Summer Workers, see their work in progress and much more.

We will have arts and crafts activities, refreshments and more.

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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!

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Freedom! Live life frugally this summer

Visit garage sales to find economical art supplies. (Photo: Lesley Epling / Morguefile)

This summer,  more than most, artists need to economize. They may find themselves with no art fairs, with galleries closed or gone and regular buyers feeling frugal themselves.  Unemployment is high and uncertainty is too.

So it’s the perfect time to learn to live and create on the cheap. Follow the lead of model and television star Tyra Banks, who said: “I’m frugal. I’ve always been this way. When I was young, my mom would give me my allowance, and I’d peel off a little each week and have some to spare.”

Create a more independent approach to living by cutting your spending – and increasing your future possibilities. Here’s some ideas for emerging artists:

Develop a frugal outlook.  Some people grow up with this, following their mom or aunt to yard sales. Others must work to ingrain a make the most with the least mindset in their lives and creative practices.  Start with a living life large on the cheap mantra, or borrow mine: “I live an abundant life on a modest paycheck.”

Get creative. Reuse items in your art. Develop a mixed media series glued and painted on old cookie sheets. Or concoct a project using blueprints as the backdrop. Create a list of possible materials:  Old windows and doors work well as canvases to paint and some artists create on records or books. Sculptors may remake old metal shelves or rakes and shovels.

Find joy in the journey.  Your approach to frugality should make it fun or an adventure.  Create a “cheapskate challenge” with your siblings or friends. Plant peppers or potatoes or find one of the many free food handouts that are all around these days. Plan dinner with four friends at home instead of heading to a bar or restaurant. Log how many days you go without buying anything online, and celebrate when you hit 30.

Find it for free on Craigslist and Nextdoor.  Search in a few areas, starting in the “free” section. Then look for garage sales, gigs and other items for sale.  If you are really looking for something specific, consider placing an ad as a way to land what you need. Be clear that your budget is tiny.

Head to estate sales or flea markets to find unconventional art supplies. (Photo Alexander Shustov / Unsplash)

Shop garage and estate sales.   You will find plentiful options in the summer and fall. Head to estatesales.net or download a garage sale locator app to identify where you’re going.  Look for multi-family sales or church sales for a wider array of items. We recommend showing on on the final day, when prices are discounted by 50 to 75 percent.

Find flea markets and junk yards.  Grab your mask and gloves and go after some real bargains. But don’t buy it just because it’s affordable. Buy it because you need it for your art, your family or your future.

And follow our other tips on smart and affordable paint brushes and materials.

Mint Virtual Art Fair

Join us for the first-ever virtual emerging artists art fair in Detroit: the Mint Virtual Art Fair. Buy work from seven current artists and alumni, or from Mint itself.  Choose art for yourself, your dad or the new graduate. Decorate your office or your home while you support creative youth who are eager to sell art and pay for college.

The Mint Virtual Art Fair will be live streamed on the Mint Facebook page – see the pinned post that says Virtual Art Fair near the top of our posts. Or go to Mint’s YouTube and the event will show up under Videos and Live Stream. (You may have to pull down or search for it on YouTube
. It’s easier to find on Facebook.) Please join us at 11 am this Saturday.

Preview and purchasethe artists’ work in the Mint Shop.  Artists receive 80 percent of the purchase price, and Mint keeps 20 percent, among the lowest commissions around. The art will be available through Friday night, June 12, though most are one-of-a-kind pieces so when they are purchased, they are gone.

We will share a videotaped version of the Virtual Art Fair afterward, but we hope to see you Saturday morning.

 

Cityscapes by Eleanor Aro will be part of the Virtual Art Fair.
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Five ways to make more time for your creative work

 

Some weeks fly by and at the end of them, we wonder why we never took time to sketch, to paint, to write or edit a poem.   Tests and college admissions essays, volunteer work and family commitments distract us from our creative work.  

Bosses ask us to work an extra day on the weekend, the day we intended to dig in and start creating. Yet we want to be artists and we long to create art.

So Mint Artists Guild wants to help you start to achieve your goals – they are written goals, right? – by sharing some time management techniques. Here’s five:

Create time blocks for creative projects.   Set up your creative routine around a regular time to work. This could be an hour a day, first thing in the morning, or four hours each Saturday.  It could be Friday evenings, as long as you are comfortable missing out on dates, art openings and more. Choose a time when your creative energies are strong, though there is scientific research that shows you can be very creative during non-peak times and when you’re tired. Create a must-create habit on specific days and times. “Attend to it everyday—the results are worth the effort,” wrote Sarah Rauch in a Tiny Buddha post.

Make work-in-progress visible.  Leave the paints and brushes in plain view or the uncut leather and tools to work it sitting on a side table. Having them right there will make it easy to resume creating. “When you walk into your space, they should be staring you down,” wrote Jeffrey Silverstein in The Creative Independent’s tips-packed piece  on balancing full-time jobs with creative work. Silverstein is a teacher, musician and writer.

Create a good neurochemical balance. This means creating when your serotonin and dopamine are high.  Reduce your stress levels with a quick meditation and eat some protein and healthy foods just before you start working – and your creativity may soar.

Develop real deadlines.   Deadlines can help focus your mind and your attention. And deadlines that matter work even better.  So when your work is due to be hung in a gallery show on Friday, you must have it finished and delivered before then. If you promised a collector they could pick up a piece on Sunday, you want it finished and ready to be wrapped up a day or two before then. For Mint Artists,  deadlines exist for the Youth Art Fair in Northville, our Abuela, Grandma, Bibi intergenerational show with Hannan Center and the Palmer Park Art Fair in Detroit.

Use your time well.   We all get the same 24 hours a day, so how much time do you spend on social media or watching Stranger Things or other Netflix shows? Oil painter Chelsea Lang writes of training herself to be a morning person so her art comes first (before her day job). She also  evaluated which activities distract from art-making without giving her leisure time joy.  Yes, this means cutting out marginal activities to make time and energy for your creative work.

If you need more inspiration to start creating regularly, read the Mint blog post about artist Judy Bowman setting one big goal and using that to guide her choices, and also Shirley Woodson’s approach of creating many paintings at once.

Start small, perhaps by setting aside three hours a week to make art and see how that blooms into a bigger commitment to your creative future.

 

Photo:Deva Darshan on Unsplash

Noel Night with Mint Artists Guild

Join us for a Noel Night pop up with Mint Artists and alumni and some emerging food businesses too.

We will offer hand made gifts and art by some of Detroit’s best emerging artists, plus Mint greeting cards and Mint prints.

Visit us at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Midtown Detroit as part of your Noel Night stroll and activities.

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Creative, beautiful art at Mint Masterpieces, Part 1

Mint alumni Maisha Rahman donated this piece called Beauty of Nature to Mint.

Guests at Mint Masterpieces on Oct. 19 will savor art that has been collected  by our co-hosts Judge Deborah Geraldine Bledsoe Ford and attorney Jerome Watson. And they will be able to bid on and take home some art created by Mint Artists as well.

Our silent auction features certainly work by well established artists including Anthony Brass, Donald Calloway, jeweler Jody Mitchell, Michael Willenborg, Ron Scarbough (donated by David and Linda Whitaker) and photographer Bill Sanders (donated by Vickie Elmer and Mark Loeb).  We will share some of their work in a future post or on Facebook.

Guests also will find pieces created by Mint Artists who sold work with us and who worked for us in our Creative Summer Jobs program, including this lovely piece painted over the summer by Bryan Wilson:

Mint Artists Bryan Wilson painted these swans over the summer in our summer jobs program.

We will offer limited edition prints hand printed on rice paper and some other pieces. Buy your ticket now if you want to see them all.

Mint also will recognize Mint alumni Damon FirstBorn Chamblis, who worked for Mint for two summers and is gaining a reputation as an artist who shows up at a wide variety of galleries, one-day art events and fairs. He was part of the Detroit Fine Arts Breakfast Club tent at the Palmer Park Art Fair, after being in the Mint tent there for two years. Here is Damon at a Mint gallery show in 2018:

Damon Chamblis graduated from Henry Ford Academy and dove into art and music making, with support from Mint, his grandmother and others. He is active in the Detroit arts scene and believes in Mint.

Artist Maisha Rahman, who was in the same first Learn and Earn cohort as Damon, decided to study graphic design at Wayne State University. She is a freelance designer as she finishes her bachelor’s degree. She agreed to donate the painting at the top of this post based on her gratitude for Mint’s guidance.

Mint helped both Damon and Maisha develop business skills and confidence. Open the doors for more young artists to grow with Mint by buying your Mint Masterpieces tickets today. And then be sure to bid on this adorable piece that Damon FirstBorn created while working for Mint Artists Guild:

This small painting Boy on a unicycle was painted by Damon FirstBorn in Mint Summer Jobs.

Belle Isle Art Fair

We bring two groups of Mint Artists to Belle Isle Art Fair – the Learn and Earn artists who show and sell their work and those in our Creative Summer Jobs program, who help the organizer with tasks such as arts and crafts or bringing artists snacks or breaks.

This fair is held near Scott Fountain, and it features more than 100 artists from 20 states.

Hours are Saturday, Aug. 3, 10-7, and Sunday, Aug. 4 from 11-5 (though it sometimes stays open until 6 if there are crowds)

Palmer Park Art Fair

This annual boutique art fair in a beautiful Detroit park off Woodward Avenue features a large tent full of Mint Artists. This year around 12 artists will sell a wide variety of handmade, creative work:  original paintings in watercolor and acrylic, clay tiles, duct tape flowers, felted animals, photographs and more. It is our largest group of Mint Artists showing and selling their work in one place all year!

The art fair hours are Saturday, June 1 from 10 -7 and Sunday, June 2 from 11-5

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Final four emerging artists at the Palmer Park Art Fair

© Oluwaseyi Akintoroye

© Selene Craddock

Mint Artists will have a full tent at the Palmer Park Art Fair this weekend.  We’ve been introducing you to our emerging artists bit by bit, blog post by blog post.

Here are the final four, who we hope you come buy and buy from in person on June 1 or 2:

Oluwaseyi Akintoroye creates photographs of nature, and increasingly of people and scenes from Detroit and around Michigan. She also sometimes works in water color or acrylic paints and she attends Cass Tech.

Selene Craddock makes felted animals that look very lifelike – from lambs to butterflies and elephants.  Appropriately enough, the CASA and Clawson High School student will work at the Detroit Zoo this summer.

Jessica Fligger is new to Mint, and also lives fairly close to Palmer Park. She creates both paintings and ceramic tiles and pieces, and works with Mint Ambassador Barbara Barefield as her mentor.

Lia Massey is graduating from Cass Technical High School this year. She designs and creates original fashions and gowns (including the prom dress shown) and paintings of women wearing fashion apparel.

Meet all our artists in person – and buy their beautiful work at the Palmer Park Art Fair ! Hours are Saturday 10-7 and Sunday 11-5.

Prom dress by Lia Massey

© Jessica Fligger