How do you make sure the teens are well supervised and safe?

We are parents ourselves and see ourselves as the aunts and uncles as well as the employers, educators and coaches of our young people. We meet in groups and choose our workshop and other spaces with safety in mind. Youth who are under 17 are always supervised and older teens are given clear rules that include safety and no harassment.

In addition, we are launching a volunteer and board screening process this fall that requires a background check and more.

Parents and grandparents are welcome to sit quietly in the background at workshops and events.  Please visit us during our summer jobs too, and we’re glad to share our rules and policies with anyone.

Is it even legal to use teens as workers or independent contractors?

Mint follows all state and federal laws and expects to be a “best places to work” employer in a few years.

We are mindful of the number of hours worked, especially during the school year.

We explain to our youth how the work world works and share details on the difference between independent contractors and workers. Mint explains overtime, employer expectations among other concepts.

I’m 27 and never learned this. How do I sign up?

Our focus is on artists who are in high school – or at least not quite grown up.  We may expand to college age artists in a couple of years.

However, Mint is licensing some of its materials and expertise to create workshops for other organizations. If you want to sponsor one and are able to bring in around 10 artists, please contact us.

What about transportation? I don’t drive and neither does my teen artist.

We know that transportation is one of the big issues many young people face in Detroit. So we’re discussing ideas with other youth nonprofits.  If you know an auto dealer or someone else who will donate a van to Mint, please tell them we’ll take it tomorrow – and it does not have to be Mint green!  In the meantime, we occasionally will offer rides to young artists to and from events and workshops.

What’s the cost of joining Mint Artists?

Mint is open to all talented young artists who already have a portfolio of creative work. For our ‘learn and earn’ programs which take teens to the Palmer Park Art Fair, youth who are selected donate one (or more) original pieces of work, valued at at least $50.

Then those invited to participate in pop ups and other art fairs including the Belle Isle Art Fair must reserve their space and pay 20 percent of their total sales that weekend to Mint. (This is below other nonprofit arts organizations in the area. Funds are used for supplies, promotion and to develop new workshops and support for the teens)

Mint’s summer creative jobs program pays participants $8.25 to $9.50 an hour – and a few youth may earn extra money by working extra projects outside assigned hours.

How can my 12 year old join your organization?

It’s a long shot. Younger artists will be considered individually based on demonstrated talent, maturity and parents’ support. We hope to add some workshops for younger artists in 2018; one of our advisors wants us to call this program Junior Mints!  And some of our volunteer activities are open to families – so please sign up!

How could my teen get involved with Mint?

Start by showing up at our pop ups and art fairs to get a first hand view of who we are and what we do. Introduce yourself to our staff and volunteers, or become a volunteer yourself. Check out our events page to find out where we’ll be next.

Then review our social media so you see who and what kinds of art are being created and sold.

We are a competitive program so teens must apply to be part of our fall and spring learn and earn program. Applications are accepted in August and September and again in December and January.  Teens submit samples of their creative work and explain why they will be an asset to Mint  – and why they long to join Mint.

For our summer jobs, please apply through Grow Detroit’s Young Talent which generally has a March deadline – and drop our executive director a note if you really want to join us.

Who may join Mint Artists?

Mint concentrates on young artists from Detroit, Highland Park and Hamtramck, and is open to any visual artist who lives in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb or Washtenaw Counties in Michigan.  Artists ages 13 to 20 who are not full-time college students are eligible to apply for the learn and earn program and the summer jobs program is open to artists ages 15 to 21.  <a href=”/contact/”>If you have questions, please ask.</a>

How are you going to prepare teens for such a tough field at artist and creative careers?

Practice, practice, practice.  And we will offer a lot of professional advice, coaching and insights.

We also will showcase and discuss a variety of career  paths that artists may take – from working for the federal government to learning web design programs or product design.

We expect some of our young people to decide art may be too difficult or competitive and pursue other careers. We hope they will become patrons of our Mint Artists, and engaged generous citizens who are creative in other ways.