A Letter from Our Friends President, Katie Remole

The Mark and Mary Goff Fiterman Fund was established in 1990. Mary Goff Fiterman’s gift to the Friends is a lasting testament to her generosity and curiosity about all that is art.

Mary Goff Fiterman.

Dear Friends,

The Friends are grateful for our many generous and dedicated members throughout our 96-year history. One of those stood apart—Mary Goff Fiterman. Many Friends had the pleasure of knowing Mary, but many newer members only know her as the namesake of the Friends lecture series.

Mary Goff Fiterman was a lifelong lover of the arts with a soft spot for Mia.  Prior to Mary’s passing in 2010, she would often recall childhood Sunday visits to the museum with her mother, getting to know and love the collection.  Mary came to embrace all forms of art, including books, theatre, architecture and music and was a passionate supporter of artists.

She was also a devoted member and supporter of the Friends of the Institute.  When Mary established the Mark and Mary Goff Fiterman Fund in 1990–and later bolstered it with a substantial legacy gift–she wanted to bring the people behind the art to Mia, in order to enrich all of us. Her gift is a lasting testament to her generosity and curiosity about all that is art.

Mary Goff Fiterman wasn’t content to merely write checks.  In the early days of the fund, she used to delight in brainstorming ideas for speakers, and she loved to entertain them during their visit to Minneapolis. Mary invited film stars, designers, artists, art historians, princesses, ballerinas, entertainers, collectors and cultural icons. The fund’s roster has included people from varied artistic disciplines—designer Gloria Vanderbilt, arts champion Kitty Carlisle Hart, Fabergé expert Archduke Dr. Geza von Habsburg,  ballerina Suzanne Farrell and actress Debbie Reynolds. After their visit, Mary often continued to correspond with our speakers and became close friends with many of them.

As Friends of the Institute continue her tradition of inviting interesting and engaging speakers, we wish to invoke Mary Goff Fiterman’s quick wit, twinkling eyes and engaging smile.  She wants us to, and I quote from her bequest, “…focus on well-known celebrities in their fields…” She went on to say,  “I want the lecture series to be exciting, unusual, eclectic—all resulting in a big draw and attendance, as it has been since its inception.”  

The first two lectures of the Friends 2018-19 Lecture Series were sponsored by the Mark and Mary Goff Fiterman lecture fund.  Aileen Riberio and Amanda Lucidon were immensely successful in a way Mary Fiterman would have approved. It is our hope that Friends continues to meet and exceed Mary Goff Fiterman’s expectations.

Warmest wishes,

Katie Remole
President, Friends of the Institute