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.

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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

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Great questions for creative verbal self-defense

Leadership coach Laura Khalil (photo from Khalil’s website)

 

Artists may never have the most admired or respected profession; that goes to doctors, lawyers and engineers, according to the Varkey Foundation.

Yet emerging artists do not need to be berated or disrespected, at an art event or anywhere.  Mint Artists have experienced this, just a couple of times, in what obviously was an illegal and discriminatory hazing based on race or religion.

So they must learn the art of verbal self-defense.
Recently, we heard leadership coach Laura Khalil share her approach to fending off dismissive statements or comments that belittle, sexualize or undermine us.
She has two immigrant parents; “I’m the whitest Arab you’ll ever meet,” Khalil told InterMitten conference attendees. So she may have experienced commentary that minimized her talent or marginalized her.
Her verbal self defense technique is simple, and requires the artist or young person to remain outwardly calm and collected. “When you are stunned by a statement…. Ask a question in response,” Khalil said. Questions such as these:

  • “Did you really just say that?”
  • “Would you speak to your daughter that way?”
  • “Do you know how that makes you sound?”
  • “Why are you so emotional?” (Or judgmental or whatever it is the person has just accused you of being.)

Her approach is simple, direct and worthwhile – and aimed at anyone. Here’s some questions developed by Mint that are specific to emerging artists’ denigrating comments:

  • “Where did you earn your Ph.D. in visual arts?” Say it with a smile.
  • “If you’re going to give me a lecture, could you wait until I enroll in your class?”
  • “When are you moving along to quash someone else’s dreams?”
  • “When you dismiss my work, how do you think that reflects on your attitude and outlook?”

Address the comment head on, and attempt to de-escalate and disarm the person who is saying unkind things, Khalil said.

And count on Mint and the artists around you to build up your courage and confidence and appreciate the beauty of your work.

© Vickie Elmer 2019

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Meet this trio of Mint Artists at the Palmer Park Art Fair

© Eleanor Aro

© Journey Shamily

Today we introduce you to two newcomers to Mint Artists Guild and one artist, who at 16, is a seasoned pro.

Eleanor Aro joined Mint in 2017, and has been going and growing ever since then. She attends Western, paints mostly cityscapes in watercolor and acrylics. Her work has sold at a the Detroit Artists Market gala and many fairs.

Journey Shamily joined Mint last fall, and has been at a couple of Mint pop ups with us with her digital art. Home schooled, Journey mainly likes to depict women.

Kamiri Williams is new to Mint, and is a digital artist who likes cartooning and showing. She attends Arts Academy in the Woods and this is her first fine art fair.

These three are our third trio of artists featured in the blog previewing the Palmer Park Art Fair. Read about Trinity, Anne and Alexis in this post and about our second trio of artists, all from Cass Tech.  And most importantly, come by and buy from all the artists June 1 or 2 in Palmer Park.

© Kamiri Williams

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Second trio of Mint Artists attend Cass Tech; that’s where similarity ends

© Prince Matthews

© Dawāyna. Banks

These three Mint Artists all attend Cass Technical High School – and yet they got to know each other through Mint.  All three will be in our group tent June 1 and 2 at the Palmer Park Art Fair.

They are:

Dawāyna Banks  draws and works in digital arts, often showing people, in love or in other emotions.  Dawāyna is heading to Michigan State University in the fall, and plans a career as an animator or graphic designer.

Prince Matthews creates appealing abstract paintings using acrylics, alcohol, salt and other tools.  Quiet and hard working,  Prince recently had his work in the professional show All Together Now, and was introduced to the curator by Mint.

De’Shaia Ventour  works magic with duct tape, creating flower pens, accessories – and original art canvases.  Smiling and organized, De’Shaia has an entrepreneurial approach to art, and she recently joined the Mint board of directors.

Read about the first three artists featured in this post. And watch for more posts about the rest of our 13 Mint Learn and Earn artists who will have such a wide variety of work for sale June 1 and 2 at the Palmer Park Art Fair.

© De’Shaia Ventour

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Mint is partnering with Art Road, another Detroit area nonprofit, to create original art in Edison Elementary School in Detroit  Mint Artists will create a painting backdrop on the theme ‘Detroit is” and work with the kids to create a collage of photos and other elements. Some of the work may be featured at Mercedes Benz Financial Services regional offices in May. This is what Mint likes – the win-win-win arrangement, and a beautiful and fun one too.

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We depend on volunteers to make Mint grow.

Join us this evening to learn more about volunteering with Mint Artists Guild. 

Or if you want to help out with fundraising, marketing or during the Belle Isle Art Fair this weekend or the Art of Resilience on Aug. 13, please contact Vickie at mintartistsguild@gmail.com or fill out this online volunteer info sheet.

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We depend on volunteers to make Mint grow.

Join us this evening to learn more about volunteering with Mint Artists Guild. 

Or if you want to help out with fundraising, marketing or during the Belle Isle Art Fair this weekend or the Art of Resilience on Aug. 13, please contact Vickie at mintartistsguild@gmail.com or fill out this online volunteer info sheet.