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2017-2018 Annual Report

Katie Remole, Friends of the Institute President
Katie Remole, Friends of the Institute President

Saluté Friends,

As our 2017-2018 year draws to a close, I want to celebrate all of you and what you have done for Friends and Mia. This year’s Annual Report touches on a few of the outstanding aspects of a year we can all be proud of.

Although the highlight of the year was Art in Bloom 2018 Honorary Chair Nicki Lewis’s unveiling of the Delacroix masterpiece purchased by Friends for Mia, the numerous gatherings throughout the year that make up the work of Friends have been the core that touches us in our volunteer efforts. I invite you to read on for more.

Kind regards,

Katie Remole

The 2017-2018 Annual Meeting as read by 1st Vice President, Julie Holland.
Good morning and welcome to the Friends of the Institute Annual Meeting and the May lecture.
Friends of the Institute has been very privileged to work with an outstanding Mia administration and staff. We are grateful for the leadership of Kaywin Feldman, the Nivin and Duncan MacMillan Director and President of Mia, and we are thankful for the guidance of Julianne Amendola, Mia’s Chief Advancement Officer. Their contributions to Friends cannot be overstated.
The Friends greatly appreciate our invaluable Operations Manager, Kate Smith Williamschen. Kate was instrumental in helping Katie through her first year as Friends president. Kate has an ever-ready smile and quick laugh that amplifies her organizational skills and ability to keep the Friends office running smoothly.
This year we were fortunate to have great support in the office with two very capable Project Assistants, Jackie Figueroa and Frannie Kuhs. Their contributions enabled Friends to put on a very smooth Art in Bloom. Thank you.
We are also thankful for our strong Friends affiliate groups in Rochester and St. Cloud. These members help us support Mia through their networks of friends who enjoy the many benefits of the museum through group tours of Mia’s collection and curator lectures. We thank them for their important community leadership on our behalf.
I now want to recognize our wise and talented past presidents. Will you please stand when I call your name: Carol Burton Gray, Suzanne Payne, Carolyn Dahl, and Connie Sommers. Thank you for joining us today and thank you for your contribution to Friends.
Friends of the Institute had a very eventful year. Here are a few of the highlights:

      • Two weeks ago we were in the midst of Art in Bloom. This was our 35th year celebrating art and flowers. The event brought more than 52,000 visitors to Mia. I want to recognize our co-chairs Lezlie Pinske and Barbara Proeschel; the Art in Bloom committee; all the volunteers, patrons and Mia staff who make this event possible.
      • Art in Bloom was filled with energy and beauty, but the biggest star of the event was Mia’s new acquisition and Art in Bloom’s signature piece of art, Eugène Delacroix’s Still Life with Dahlias, Zinnias, Hollyhocks, and Plums. In celebration of Friends 100th anniversary in 2022, Friends was given the opportunity to raise the funds needed to acquire this masterpiece. Last year Patrick Noon, Mia’s Elizabeth MacMillan Chair of Paintings, and the world’s leading expert on Delacroix, learned of its availability and confirmed its authenticity as a Delacroix. It had never before been displayed to the publicly. Kaywin Feldman and Patrick Noon immediately thought this painting would be a perfect way for Friends to celebrate our upcoming centennial. I am happy to announce we are well on our way to our fundraising goal, thanks to lead donations by Friends members Nivin MacMillan, Mary Agnes and Al McQuinn, Sheila Morgan, Mary and Douglas Olson, Carol Burton Gray, Nikki Lewis and many others. With ongoing fundraising, we expect to reach our goal by our Friends Centennial Celebration in 2022.
      • Each year we work hard to enhance our endowed Transportation Fund through our Buy A Bus campaign, and this year was no exception. We brought 121 buses filled with 5,121 school children to Mia for a docent or art adventure guide-led tour, and that number does not include our busiest months of May and June. We can be proud of the numbers of lives we touch with this program, exposing young minds to our world-class collection at Mia.
      • The Friends continued the tradition of providing nine exceptional lectures, free to the public, on the second Thursday of the month, September through May. The Mark and Mary Goff Fiterman Lecture Fund generously support two of these lectures. Speakers this year were diverse as always and ranged from Apollo art magazine’s editor Thomas Marks to tattoo scholar and historian Anna Felicity Friedman.
      • The Friends Newsletter Committee continues to deliver a very informative monthly online newsletter to our members. This year we added a special edition dedicated exclusively to Art in Bloom. All tickets for Art in Bloom events were a simple click away.

Those of you who are Friends members enjoyed some special perks including Friends Only events:

      • In the fall, we held a Friends 101 class informing members about our organization, followed by a behind-the-scenes look at rarely seen Andy Warhol prints in the Prints and Drawing Library, given by Mia’s John E. Andrus III Curator of Prints and Drawings, Tom Rassier.
      • Our Friends Only Committee planned and executed five Friends Only tours, including Mia’s new “Gate of Prosperity”, highlights of Mia’s collection of jewelry and curator-led tours of “Eyewitness Views”, “I am Somali”, and “Horse Power”. Our sixth Friends Only tour is scheduled for Tuesday, June 12 at 11AM. Marla Kinney, Fellow in Mia’s Prints and Drawings Department will led us through the exhibit “The Rabblerouser and the Homebody:  Minnesota’s Elizabeth Olds and Wanda Gag”. Please join us!
      • Friends Only Book Club met monthly for lively book discussions, docent-led tours, and refreshments.
      • The Outreach Committee started a new program with members becoming Picture People for the Art Adventure program. Friends volunteers went into the schools as Picture People and chaperoned the students at Mia for their guided tours. Friends also donated art supplies to these students.
      • On Wednesday, June 6, Friends will embark on the Art and Architecture tour of Washington, DC. The itinerary includes exclusive tours and receptions of great museums and government buildings, plus the trip is a great opportunity to enjoy friendships and camaraderie.

Again, this is a short list, but you can tell from all that goes on here, being a Friends member is a tremendous opportunity to enjoy the museum, build friendships and be part of something that enhances our communities. I strongly encourage you to think about joining us, if you are not already a member.

For Luck, What does it mean to you?

Examine Rick Bartow’s drawing at a most personal level in this month’s Collection Connection.

By Susan Arndt, Mia docent

For Luck, 2003
Rick Bartow

What do you see when you look at Rick Bartow’s drawing, For Luck?  How does it make you feel?  What do you see that makes you say that? Take a minute and really look.
To people who are not familiar with the contemporary artist Rick Bartow, he can seem to be an enigma.  His work can be pleasingly puzzling or downright unnerving, and capable of taking any viewer on a journey, if you are willing to go.
Friends of Bartow’s have described his process as intuitive, frenzied, consuming, messy.  Bartow seemed to thrive on the mystery of the origin of inspiration.  To him, it was a cherished gift that passed through him to the viewer.  Bartow said, “Once it begins, the battle is on! The many marks go back and forth until the war is done. It must play out until resolution, and make cognitive the blindly thrashing marks, line, and color.”  What is left in the wake of creation is to be interpreted personally by all.  The meaning will be the one you attach to it.
Music was also an inspiration to Bartow and a big part of his life. He was both a writer and performer and called music another extension of expression.  A musician from a young age, Bartow was tasked with playing music to the dying during his tour of duty in Vietnam.  The exposure left him broken.  It was his art, music, and heritage that he turned to for healing.
Themes in Bartow’s work have dealt with the emotional pain mined from his life.  PTSD, addiction, loss, personal transformation, and redemption.  Charles Froelick, who represented Bartow when he was living and now represents his estate, has called Bartow “an artistic omnivore, constantly searching the internal and external worlds for emotional, spiritual, intellectual, and poetic inspiration.” Bartow was influenced by artists such as Fritz Scholder, Francis Bacon, John Bevon Ford, and Joe David.  He had also traveled extensively, to Mexico, Japan, Germany, and Africa. Collaborating with others,  studying storytelling traditions and world mythology added to the rich traditions embedded in his Native American roots.
As a member of the Mad River Band of Wiyot from the Humboldt Bay area of northern California; his visual language included the shape-shifting tricksters Raven, Owl, Coyote, and Bear. Though his work contains Native American imagery, it defies categorization.  The genius of Rick Bartow is that he was a careful observer bringing together many influences and drawing on universal truths to create stories that speak to our very being. His travels teaching him that in this world, people are more alike than not.

Friends Valentine Luncheon

Following the February 8, 2018 lecture please join the Friends in the Reception Hall for our special Valentine Luncheon.  
Our menu will be sautéed salmon with peas, fingerling potatoes and charred tomato relish. This will be served along with freshly baked breads with sweet butter.  White cake with raspberry-studded mousse filling and vanilla buttercream icing and dark roast coffee & hot tea complete this delicious meal.  
You may request a vegetarian option when you reserve.  
To RSVP call 612.870.6363 or click here.  The luncheon cost is $30 inclusive of tax and gratuity.  All reservations must be received by 5PM, Monday, January 29, 2018.

Catch an insiders glimpse into the life of a Curator this January

On January 11, Ghenete Zelleke will speak at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, as part of the Friends Lecture Series sponsored by the Friends of the Institute.
As Mia’s James Ford Bell Curator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture, and head of the department of Decorative Arts, Textiles, and Sculpture; Zelleke oversees a collection of well over 18,000 works of porcelain, glassware, textiles, furniture, sculpture, miscellaneous decorative art treasures, as well as the Purcell-Cutts House and Mia’s period rooms. Zelleke comes well prepared to curate this extensive collection with her recent experience as the curator of European decorative arts at the Art Institute of Chicago since 1998. Previous to working in Chicago, Zelleke received her MA in the History of European Decorative arts from the Cooper-Hewitt Museum/Parson School of Design and her BA in the History of Art from the University of Cambridge.

Ghenete Zelleke; James Ford Bell Curator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture
Ghenete Zelleke; James Ford Bell Curator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture and head of the department of Decorative Arts, Textiles, and Sculpture.

While at the Art Institute of Chicago, Zelleke curated “Eighteenth-Century French Vincennes-Sèvres Porcelain,” “Spiritual Expressions: Art for Private Contemplation and Public Celebration,” “Arts and Crafts in Vienna: Furniture Designed by Josef Hoffman,” and “Charles Rennie Mackintosh.”
Zelleke’s passion for these great time periods and artists fuels her interest in Mia’s vast collection. She has repeatedly said the Modernism collection is a great example of the community’s spirit in philanthropy and Mia is so fortunate to have all of these fine examples of such an important period of art. She exclaims it is so unusual to have a car like the Tatra T87 four-door sedan on exhibit and for all to enjoy. Zelleke comments that even though the car may to some seem so dominant and massive in a small gallery, its flowing and sleek lines wonderfully complement the French Art Deco pieces surrounding the car.
When asked if she could sit anywhere in the museum and have dinner with any historical guest she would like, Zelleke quickly responds she would love to dine beneath candlelight in the Grand Salon from the Hôtel de la Bouëxière with Madame de Pompadour, the official chief mistress to King Louis the XV.  She states this was a woman of exquisite taste and knowledge of the times. Perhaps she would have the table decorated with a dessert presentation surrounded by elegant 18th century Meissen porcelain pieces. Or perhaps, Zelleke exclaimed a meal with Nelson Mandela would be a dream come true, table similarly set.
Maybe Zelleke would end her meal in the Grand Salon by inviting her guest to view her favorite piece in the whole museum, the Yoruba Shrine Head, which Zelleke simply describes as “sublime.” It captures her soul every time she witnesses its majestic and noble presence.
Mia has provided Zelleke an opportunity to participate in one of her favorite pursuits, spontaneously conversing with museum visitors. Often she happens upon guests in the galleries, approaching them stating she works at the museum, and simply asks them what they are enjoying during their visit. She also loves to go into the Family Center engaging parents and children in conversation discovering the art they have witnessed.  As for future plans at Mia, Zelleke hopes to build on the strength of the elegant silver collection as well as 18th century lovely German and Italian porcelain pieces. Her love of worldly travel will aid in this pursuit no doubt, as she continues to explore and relish the beauty of each destination.
Free tickets are available for this lecture starting December 15 for Friends members through or 612.870.6323. Tickets are available December 17 for the general public. Overflow seating is available in the Wells Fargo Community Room.

Send Us Your Holiday Card

We’d love to have a little display of our member’s holiday cards this year. They are so much fun to see, and we would like to add yours to our collection!
Please send your holiday cards to:
Friends of the Institute
2400 3rd Ave South
Minneapolis, MN 55404
Make sure to stop by and take a look at what others have sent in.


You may already be a Friends member but this is the perfect time to spread the word to your circle of family, friends, and acquaintances.
From November 15 to December 22, we are offering a 25% discount on a one-year Friends membership for NEW Friends.
Friends members enjoy many benefits including the Friends Lecture Series, Book Club, and other Friends Only activities, as well as the opportunity to volunteer at the Friends annual fundraiser, Art in Bloom, welcoming more than 50,000 visitors to Mia each spring.
Additionally, Friends membership helps support Mia’s educational programs, special projects, and exhibits, as well as the acquisition and conservation of art. Membership helps to support the ever-growing Transportation Fund which covers bus costs for many
children from Twin Cities schools who visit Mia for educational tours.
Spread the word about our 25% discount on a one-year Friends membership for NEW Friends! For more information or to purchase, please call Mia at 612.870.6323.

The Power of Sacred Art: Beauty that Saves and Shatters

Thursday, September 28, 2017
Johan van Parys, Director of Liturgy and the Sacred Arts
The Basilica of St. Mary

Johan van Parys
Johan van Parys

Johan van Parys, Ph.D is the Director of Liturgy and Sacred Arts at the Basilica of Saint Mary in Minneapolis. His book Symbols That Surround Us was published in 2012. He teaches in the School of Theology at St. John’s University. He is the current chair and founding member of the Minnesota chapter of the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums.
Drinks and appetizers at 5:30PM, docent-led tour at 6:00PM, and talk at 7:15PM.
Tickets are $45 and will be available by calling Mia at 612.870.6323. Tickets will go on sale August 28.

Sensational Shopping Success

This has been a remarkable year for the Art in Bloom Shop.  Compelling merchandise assortments of jewelry, scarves, home decor, gift items, and Art in Bloom branded items such as note cards and posters drove record numbers of customers to the shop. This resulted in more than 2,000 purchases during the 4-day event and a 65% increase in sales over last year!
The Shop was truly a team effort. A talented team with an excellent eye for selection and display as well expert training and staffing led the service and selling strategy during the event. The check out process was streamlined this year and more efficient due to improved staffing, utilization of an experienced team and new cash registers.
Customers shared their excitement about the shop when making their purchases.  This combination of excellent merchandise assortments, and strong customer service within the shop improved service at checkout lead to a very positive customer experience overall.
Sponsored by SpartanNash Family Fresh Markets.

Wanted: Pedestal Floral Artists

While the January weather in Minnesota is frigid and blustery, start thinking about fragrant flowers!
Consider becoming an important part of Art in Bloom as a Pedestal Floral Artist (PFA). This is an opportunity to volunteer your creativity by interpreting with flowers an art object in Mia’s world class collection.
After our long winters, Art in Bloom is a gift to the community. This year Art in Bloom will be April 27-30. Join us as a PFA to select an artwork you will interpret with flowers: Thursday, January 26, 5:30PM-8PM or Friday, January 27, 10AM-Noon in the 3rd floor Villa Rosa Room.