Date taken: September 24, 2012
Growing up in the small Georgia town of Barnesville, Erica Jamison viewed Atlanta from a distance. A self-proclaimed “weird kid” who was home schooled until seventh grade, Erica saw the big city as a place full of exciting opportunities, events and people. “I remember thinking ‘my people are there,’” she said.
After high school, Erica followed her intuition and moved to Atlanta, enrolling at Georgia State to study film. Slowly, she found her people – artists. Although she often felt out of place at formal art events, she loved being surrounded by this community of creative people. Many of her friends were artists who were trying to make a living at their craft and struggling to find venues to display their art. When a class assignment required Erica to work with a non-profit, she had a vision inspired by these artists and decided to start her own.
MINT Gallery, Erica’s non-profit, opened in 2006 with a postcard pin-up show, where any artist could come display his or her postcard-sized art on the gallery’s wall. The event drew 60 artists and 300 people. Erica’s vision was to create a space and community where artists could share resources with each other and share their art with an Atlanta audience. That first pin-up show provided proof that MINT was meeting an important need.
“We aren’t striving to be the next big thing,” said Erica, who works full-time as a video producer and runs MINT in her free time. “We want to be the springboard. I keep doing this because of those wonderful moments I get to witness – when an artist is so proud to have his or her first piece displayed in a gallery or so excited to sell a piece for the first time.”
MINT Gallery, which is located in the Old Fourth Ward, hosts events every month. In addition to shows open to all artists, such as the annual pin-up show, the gallery supports emerging artists through its Leap Year program, which provides a host of resources and mentoring opportunities to three artists each year.