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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.

Paint Detroit with Generosity exhibit

Our fifth annual Paint Detroit with Generosity exhibit will take place from Nov. 11 through Dec. 27 at the Durfee Innovation Society.

Durfee is a small business and nonprofit incubator space that offers many activities for children and youth. Guests must wear masks and have their temperatures taken before coming in to see the Mint art on the first and second floors.

Hours are Monday through Friday 7:30 am to 7 pm and Saturday 11 to 5.

Guests may nominate a local child-serving nonprofit to receive two of the Paint Detroit with Generosity paintings.

Painting shown was created by Mint Summer Worker Eleanor Aro, 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

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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)

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Children are our future, our beautiful inspiration for 2020

Girl with a heart painting by Alexis Bagley

 

Children flock to Mint’s free arts and crafts, led by Mint Summer Workers. (Photo: Vickie Elmer)

 

Mint Artists Guild sees the future and it is our children.

Mint just announced that its 2020 Paint Detroit with Generosity  initiative will give paintings to nonprofits that serve children and youth, and families in need in Detroit. For the fifth year of this program, Mint will focus all our generosity on youth, instead of donating to a wider variety of nonprofits.

“Children create joy by living in the moment;  yet they face real hardships in Detroit. They deserve our love and support,” said Vickie Elmer, Mint co-founder and executive director.

Mint already has honored the work of a variety of youth-serving nonprofits through the Paint Detroit with Generosity initiative, including Brilliant Detroit,  Crescendo Detroit, Downtown Boxing Gym and Ruth Ellis Center  among others.  (Please visit our exhibit at the Fisher Bakery, in the Fisher Building through Dec. 30 to see these beautiful images)

Mint chose children as the theme for the fifth Paint Detroit with Generosity  because most of our work focuses on youth and children, from the free arts and crafts to the youth-created art on our greeting cards to the entrepreneurial training for high school age artists.  And we know children and youth today face many challenges and deserve inspiration and support.  

Almost one in six children in the United States live in poverty, according to 2018 U.S. Census Bureau estimates. That means 7.5 million families living in poverty, with one-fourth of them led by a mother or grandmother or other female relative. The numbers are far higher in Detroit.

More than half of U.S. parents worry that their children will be victims of violence, of bullying, of depression or anxiety, according to Pew research.  Seven in 10 teens say anxiety and depression is a major issue for youth, and a more serious one than bullying, drug addiction or poverty.

In Detroit, more babies are born prematurely than in any other area.  Children go to sub-standard schools and struggle with learning to read. Only 10 percent of third grade students read at their grade level.

Yet all is not bleak. Community groups, individuals, foundations and nonprofits are developing after school programs, summer jobs, sports and other services to lift up Detroit’s children. Youth themselves create opportunities to learn and grow.

Nonprofits serving children and youth in or near Detroit may request to be considered for Mint’s 2020 Paint Detroit with Generosity initiative. Please contact Mint  by Feb. 15, 2020 and include details on the number of youth served each year (and where they live).  Nonprofits will be asked to sign a standard memorandum of understanding, or MOU, and share some details about their programs.

Mint welcomes individuals and businesses to support Detroit youth and this initiative, so we may hire more youth in 2020 and donate more paintings. So please give today.

We will paint our children’s future, beautifully.

Girl with a heart painting by Alexis Bagley

This Paint Detroit with Generosity painting was created in 2019 by Mint worker Alexis Bagley. © Mint Artists Guild, 2019

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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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.

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Big dreams, jump in right now: Our story in The Creative Armory

Mint co-founder Vickie Elmer shares our creative reuse of an Italian ice lid, turned palate, turned art chain. (Photo © The Creative Armory)

 

Mint Artists Guild has long believed in the “start small, dream big” approach to creating an organization. We see power in moving forward, with our emerging artists as our colleagues and our inspiration.

 Jess, the founder of The Creative Armory blog, captured that in an interview with our co-founder and executive director Vickie Elmer. It came out just in time for the Funky Ferndale Art Fair this weekend and as we have an array of events queued up through the fall.

Elmer talked about the impact training young artists in entrepreneurship and community and community service.

“If we start them on the path now and stress community service, generosity, and mutual support, we are going to create a powerful ecosystem of artists and creative entrepreneurs that are going to spread beauty and success around Detroit and the world. I’m going to bask in the reflected glory of all that they do,” Elmer told The Creative Armory.

Mint is basking in the glory of our story being told by a creative entrepreneur who hustles and cares. Read the entire piece here and if you feel your creativity or energy stir, please share it with your creative community.

A Mint Mantra and some of the many pieces of youth art in the Mint Studios in Palmer Park. (Photo: © The Creative Armory)

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Summertime wish list: Give us mosaics and gift cards and more!

We wish for art supplies. Photo: MorgueFile

Mint is getting ready for a busy summer of art making – and free arts and crafts in Palmer Park.
And as they say it takes a village, so we are asking our village to give us some supplies.  These all will be used by our teen artists for creative community art projects.

Here’s our summertime wish list:

Art supplies:

  • Artist sketch pads
  • Canvases 8 x 10 or 18 x 24, or other sizes
  • Mosaic materials – high quality hot-fired smaller tiles in blues, purple, white, yellow, green, orange. (We have plenty of reds)
  • child-friendly, washable markers for arts and crafts
  • Acrylic paint mediums and gels
  • Paint brushes, variety of sizes, new or gently used
  • A glue gun

Other needs: 

  • Rolls of paper towels and tissues, for our studio / summer workers and apprentices
  • Digital camera, prefer one with video capabilities
  • A coat rack
  • Sturdy, heavy duty table (for artists to create on)
  • Gift cards to Meijer, Kroger, Costco, Blick, BJs – to buy snacks, art supplies, cleaning supplies, miscellany
  • Gently used socks – for creating sock puppets
  • Two or three old dictionaries  – for community art projects

You may drop any of these off at the Mint tent at the Jazzin at the Vanity on June 29-30.  Or arrange a time to deliver this to our studio in Palmer Park by contacting us.

If it’s easier to donate money, please give us some today!  And look for details on our Wednesday afternoon free arts and crafts in Palmer Park, starting in July. Open to all!