Posted on

Mint’s successes and miracles: A yearend letter from our director

Alexis, Natasha and other Mint Summer workers learn painting techniques from our teaching artist. (Photo Seyi Akintoroye for Mint)

Dear friends of Mint,

Mint Artists Guild is finishing a year of successes and firsts. We are proud of these – and we see how many more opportunities and challenges we could tackle in 2020 and 2021, with your support and donations from individuals, businesses and foundations.

Some of our successes have names: Seyi, a photographer, learned to paint with acrylics in our Creative Summer Jobs program, and has three paintings on display in the Fisher Building through Jan. 3.  Alexis took a leadership role in our Summer Jobs program and joined our board of directors.  Journey landed a paid marketing internship with Mint, and is being mentored by an amazing marketing expert. Through Mint, De’Shaia’s work is for sale at the Detroit Artists Market and she will have another piece in the DAM All Media Show,

Others show up in places that seem like minor miracles for a small nonprofit. Mint’s greeting cards for the first time are for sale in the Detroit Institute of Arts Museum Store, through mid March. Mint’s Paint Detroit with Generosity show is hanging in the Fisher Building, one of the architectural giants and my favorite building in Detroit. And Mint sold greeting cards and brought along an alumni to sell his art at an artisan market in New Orleans, through our collaboration with the Palmer Park Art Fair

Mint Artists summer worker Bryan looks over the Paint Detroit with Generosity show at the Fisher Building opening in November. (Photo: Journey Shamily for Mint)

Our Learn and Earn artists sold a record amount of art at Mint pop ups and in the Mint tent at art fairs: $11,500, or about 20 percent more than in 2018. We hired our first Wolverine Pathways interns, a University of Michigan program that boosted our Summer Creative Jobs staff to ten, twice as many as two years ago. Another first: Several alumni graduated from universities and started creative careers in costume design, graphic design and more.  (We plan to profile a few of our alumni in 2020 and recognized Damon FirstBorn Chamblis at Mint Masterpieces in October.)

Yet we also faced sadness and setbacks. We worked with artists who lost a close family member and several who could not find transportation to workshops or a summer job. We did not create any large public art pieces this year, nor did we add to our butterfly mosaics in Palmer Park.

Mint will spend time in the year ahead setting goals and strategic plans looking ahead for five years. We see many opportunities and growth possibilities, and many beautiful partnerships with other nonprofits, foundations and businesses.

Our emerging artists want to plan more creative community service projects, and we are committed to supporting them. And we want to develop more entrepreneurship workshops and training, perhaps by collaborating with other organizations.

We need your generous gifts to keep growing and giving and opening doors to creative careers and community art projects. A donation of $75 supports a Mint pop up, and includes buying snacks for our young artists. A yearend gift of $250 will support three weeks of a youth’s Creative Summer Job. Give $5,000 and we will bring free weekly arts and crafts activities to a second Detroit park next summer.

So please find the donate button near the top of this page and give generously. If you prefer to send a check, please mail it to Mint Artists Guild, PO Box 21667, Detroit, MI 48221.

And thank you for being part of our successes and our growth.

Vickie Elmer
Mint executive director and co-founder

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

Creativity, serendipity and Live in the D

Mint Artists Guild’s Vickie Elmer and Alexis Bagley are interviewed by WDIV’s Kim DeGuilio.

Mint Artists Guild is featured on WDIV’s Uniquely Detroit, and on Live in the D, thanks to a visit by journalist Alex Atwell.

Atwell, who is known as Camera Guy Al, strolled into the Mint tent at the Palmer Park Art Fair, and he spotted a story: Mint.

So he asked us for interviews, and of course, we agreed.  It wasn’t clear at first who he worked for, or how the interviews would play out. He looked a little scruffy, yet he was low key and easy-going so away we went.

It turns out Atwell is also an Emmy-award winning journalist who has worked in Tampa, Flint and Cadillac before moving to Detroit. He has produced stories on sled dogs, hurricanes, the Final Four and a lot more.

The result of his visit to the Mint tent is this Uniquely Detroit story, which opened the door to a Live in the D interview on WDIV Channel 4, which aired July 16.

We teach entrepreneurial skills and Mint lives and grows with an entrepreneurial mindset, which seizes opportunities.  Yet we also grow through individual donations, which allow us to develop youth and creative youth jobs in Detroit. Nine jobs this summer, plus plans for a paid marketing internship launching in the fall.

So if you appreciate our story and our efforts to develop entrepreneurial and generous artists, please make a donation today.

Or buy a ticket to our Oct. 19 gala Mint Masterpieces and really help us grow and seize even more opportunities for Alexis, Lia, Michael and others in the year ahead.

We are grateful to Alex Atwell, to WDIV, and to all the individuals who donate to Mint, or volunteer with us!  Join us as we grow; make a gift today.

 

Posted on

Beautiful spaces for meeting places

Mint Artists Guild’s board of directors meets in the most creative and beautiful spaces. In October, we gathered at Art in Motion, a creative shop on Livernois in Detroit.

We almost always have something tasty to eat – donated by board members, or other volunteers. The Mint board is comprised of artists and creatives, entrepreneurs and one emerging artist who has been active in Mint. Current board members include artist Hubert Massey, vice president; attorney Erika Davis, secretary; Walker Miller CFO Cornell Batie, treasurer, and Espacia Marie Fotiu, young artist.

We hope to add two new board members in coming months, one from business and one from the arts. Of course, we’re creatives so draw us a picture of someone else who belongs and we’re sure to be enthusiastic.

The board meets on average every other month and board members are actively engaged in Mint’s growth. If you’re interested in learning more, please contact Vickie Elmer, Mint board president and executive director.  Email: mintartistsguild@gmail.com

Posted on

Today is the International Day of the Girl, as designated by the United Nations. So we are highlighting some young women who grow and prosper with Mint Artists Guild. They learn business and career skills and they seize opportunities and show increased confidence.