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Thank you for the success of Art in Bloom 2017

A message from Kris King and Teresa Pfister                       
As Co-Chairs of Art in Bloom, we are very pleased to announce that 52,000 visitors attended Art in Bloom 2017, a new record attendance! We couldn’t have done it without you, whether you volunteered, donated, attended or just cheered from the sidelines.
The excitement and happy faces of our visitors as they perused the floral interpretations of 163 Mia masterpieces; the scents of the flowers; the lines at the Art in Bloom Shop; the crowds at Flowers After Hours, the Fashion Show, and Formal Luncheon; the splendor of the Preview Party and much more — all combined to create a festive four-day event we won’t forget. It may have been chilly outside, but inside Mia we celebrated spring.

Kris King and Teresa Pfister
Kris King and Teresa Pfister

We are grateful for the many, many volunteers who made Art in Bloom such a success in its 34th year. Special thanks go to our Art in Bloom committee members, who worked tirelessly as a team for much of a year, planning and preparing for this rite of spring. And it shows! Events like this take a village; our village encompassed every volunteer and the wholehearted support and enthusiasm of the Mia staff. We thank you.
Special thanks are owed to Connie Sommers, Friends President; Kate Smith, Friends Operations Manager, and Lydia Klismith and Jackie Figueroa, our Friends Project Assistants, for your patience and tireless responses to the needs of this massive event.
Of course, none of this would be possible without the generous support of our sponsors, donors, and patrons, who continue to contribute to the Friends of the Institute and Art in Bloom each year. We are rewarded by the enthusiastic acceptance of our community as we celebrate the joys of timeless art and floral fantasies.


The Friends of the Institute are excited to introduce a brand new series: The Art of Power/The Power of Art.
The Friends Outreach Committee, started this year and ably led by board member Molly Van Metre, is reaching out to organizations that share the values of the Friends. Our common goal is to share information and grow membership. The committee has begun to develop relationships with the American Swedish Institute, Friends of the Minnesota Orchestra, and The Woman’s Club of Minneapolis. We look forward to more associations in the coming year.
We’re excited about collaborating with these like-minded organizations to bring our respective members together to celebrate arts and culture. To that end, we plan to arrange a number of gatherings for the Friends, with varying venues and goals.
The first events will take place this summer in partnership with The Woman’s Club of Minneapolis. You’ll be able to socialize with members of both organizations and hear inspiring speakers. Mark your calendar for the first two events and watch for more information on the Friends website and by email. We encourage you to bring a friend to each event.
Lyndel KingFriday, July 28
Lyndel King, Director and Chief Curator
The Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum
“WAM: Approachable, Alive and Smart!”
The Woman’s Club in Minneapolis
Lyndel King has led The Frederick R.  Weisman Art Museum for more than 30 years and guided it through the design and construction of its current building, designed by prominent architect, Frank Gehry. She has served on the boards of the American Association of Museums, the Association of Art Museum Directors, and the International Council of Museums-US and serves as co-chair of a task force for the protection of university museum collections. Ms. King has been a reviewer for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute for Museum and Library Services and presents international seminars on museum management.
Drinks and appetizers from 5:30 PM, lecture at 6:30 PM, and the option to stay for dinner and make it an evening! Tickets are available for $25. To reserve your’s follow this link:
Deborah Strebel PierceThursday, August 10
Deborah Strebel Pierce
“Art Theft and the FBI”
The Woman’s Club of Minneapolis
Deb Pierce retired as Deputy Assistant Director of the Criminal Investigative Division of the FBI in 2006. Among her responsibilities was the oversight of the FBI Art Theft Team. Prior to her position in Washington, DC she was the Special Agent in Charge of the Minneapolis Office for three years. Since retirement, her international contacts have taken her to places such as Tajikistan and Peru to promote leadership for women in public service. She is a partner of the Pierce-Weber Partnership and among other responsibilities is the International Vice President/Secretary of The Consortium for Women Leaders in Public Service. These achievements make Ms. Pierce uniquely qualified to address our Art of Power/Power of Art series!
Please plan to join us for drinks and appetizers on Thursday, August 10th at 5:30PM, with lecture following at 6:30PM at The Woman’s Club of Minneapolis. Tickets are $25 and will be available by following this link:
Future events in The Art of Power/The Power of Art series will be announced this summer — we think you’ll love them.

Summer Book Club Opportunities

lab girlThis summer, we’ll meet informally at 5PM each 4th Thursday at the tables by the Chinese Rock Garden in the General Mills Lobby. We’ll discuss the month’s book, enjoy refreshments, then take the 6:30PM public docent tour. Contact Friends member Marilyn McGraw,, if you have questions. Please join us!
May and June titles are as follows. Later refer to this site for July and August titles.
larose-pb-largeThursday, May 25 – Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
Thursday, June 22 – LaRose by Louise Erdrich
The Friends Only Book Club’s morning meetings resume in September.

Pedestal Florists Were a WOW — Take a Bow!

Wow! 2017 Art in Bloom was a year of:

  • Floral arrangements from the Far East to Europe and back to Minnesota with James J. Hill, tornados over St. Paul, and rainy days on Hennepin Avenue
  • Marvels of Ikebana and 250-year old bonsai treasures along the 2nd floor corridor
  • Languid ladies in their undergarments and in bathtubs, as well as in their lovely formal gowns.
  • Boys with butterfly nets, noblemen, and warriors
  • Rivers, grand canals, winter landscapes, and lovely pastoral vignettes
  • Respectful homages to religions throughout the world, and memorials to loved ones

As is the case each year, the diversity of talented pedestal artists was inspiring! Generations spanning from grandmothers, mothers, and down to daughters and sons… husbands and wives… teachers and students…artisans of clay, wood, glass, and metal… garden clubs… book clubs…and friends dreaming up ideas over cups of coffee or glasses of wine!
The creativity of 163 pedestal floral artists took the imaginations of tens of thousands of Art in Bloom visitors to great reaches in 2017. They demonstrated the amazing possibilities with flowers, foliage, and engineering filling the galleries of Mia with a breath of springtime!
Here is a glimpse of the amazing blooms with photos taken by James Nash:
With some 3,500 ballots cast, our People’s Choice Awards go to the following:
Best Interpretation of a Work of Art
Winner: Mayumi Redin for Portrait of Catharina van Voorst
Honorable Mention: Dixie Nelson & Nancy McNee for Tempest in Yellow
Most Creative Floral Arrangement
Winner: Mary Ann Morgan for City Night
Honorable Mention: Mary Rossi & Kristina Schultz for Black Place 1
Personal Favorite
Winner: Diane Enge for Springtime of Life
Honorable Mention: Deborah Saul & Susan Skach-Bejarano for Bronze
The Friends send congratulations and our heartfelt thanks to all our Pedestal Floral Artists for making Art in Bloom–well, Art in Bloom!

Fashionable Flowers, After Hours

It was a convergence of fashion and flowers at the Art in Bloom Thursday night event, Flowers After Hours. Floral attire walked across the Pillsbury stage to a full house at both the 6PM and 7PM Floral Couture Reveal presented by Bachman’s.
Emcees Jason DeRusha, WCCO morning co-anchor & food critic, and Karen Bachman Thull from Bachman’s enlivened the show with their floral puns, “color commentary,” and banter.
daisyAcross the stage came a dress made entirely of daisies, complete with matching shoes and headband; a tutu festooned with ferns, orchids, spray roses; a shawl with calla lilies and dendrobium; an evening dress bedecked with peonies, ranunculus, and spider mums, and even a floral ensemble in “greenery”, the Pantone color of the year. Men’s fashion was not left out as the audience was treated to a manly moss vest with matching cap, as well as a suit jacket, pants and tie in monstera and ti leaves.
While the flowers were both exotic and local, the 10 models were local Bachman’s employees (including the boiler operator!) and even a couple of family members. Designers and models were available for photo opportunities and questions after the shows.
The delightful Bachman’s shows plus the 163 pedestal floral artists available in the galleries made for a fashionably fun (and free) evening!

Spring Trends: Fashion, Food, and Friends

The Art in Bloom Fashion Show and Luncheon on Friday afternoon April 28 was a fun-filled celebration with champagne, beautiful fashion, and tasty Italian-inspired cuisine. At 11:30AM guests were warmly greeted with bubbly and small bites in the Regis Fountain Court. They were then ushered into the Pillsbury Auditorium for a colorful “spring trends” fashion show. The show was produced, styled, and emceed by the nationally-acclaimed host, Grant Whittaker. The Friends were honored to collaborate with both Grant and the Galleria team.
Following the fashion show, guests were lead through the museum to the Reception Hall. Near the entryway, guests could pose for pictures at the “step and repeat” before heading in to enjoy the D’Amico catered luncheon. It was a lovely, fashionable event enjoyed by all.
Sponsored by Galleria Edina.

Friends, Families and Flowers: A Perfect Match

The Art in Bloom Family Event on Saturday, April 29, was a sweet success, with more than 1,000 kids, parents, and friends at this colorful occasion celebrating the ice cream cone. Three times, storyteller Mary Ann Strom read The Ice Cream King by Steve Metzger to a standing-room-only crowd. She entertained kids of all ages with two assistants in costumes, special effects, painted backdrops, a six-foot inflatable ice cream cone, and treats.
Children at craft tables lavishly decorated cone-shaped May baskets made even more beautiful with colorful flowers donated by Bachman’s. Art in Bloom visitors enjoyed seeing these charming, flower-filled May baskets all over Mia.
Seven face painters were kept busy applying colorful designs onto little cheeks and hands. A scavenger hunt coaxed adventurous young art detectives seeking cone shapes in art objects through the galleries. What a great introduction to the joys of Mia!
Finally, participants decorated the entire 20-yard sidewalk leading to the Target Wing with stunning pastel chalk designs. The great success of our Family Event was made possible by a talented crew of 26 volunteers. Everyone had a marvelous time–kids, parents, friends, and volunteers.

AfterBloom: Generosity and the Art of Delivering Delight

AfterBloom volunteers make May Day bouquets with an abundance of donated flowers.
AfterBloom volunteers make May Day bouquets with an abundance of donated flowers.

It was “amazing, beautiful, and overwhelming.” That is how AfterBloom volunteer Lisa Flynn described the bounty of still-fresh floral product donated by commercial and pedestal floral artists on the Monday morning following Art in Bloom.
Ten volunteers were on hand in Mia’s lobby, clean vases in hand, waiting and wondering about the quality and quantity of flowers that floral artists would share. Karla Newman, AfterBloom volunteer said, “It is hard to predict what we will receive; we don’t get prior commitments, so we cross our fingers and hope for plenty.”
In 2015, AfterBloom’s first year, 25 bouquets were made and delivered; in 2016 the number was 50. This year the goal was 75. “Imagine how grateful and surprised we were to have reached our goal of 75 bouquets with many blooms and greens to spare. It was a feast of flowers, and it was the day after Art in Bloom!” commented Therese Blaine, lead on the project.
Boxes of AfterBloom bouquets ready for delivery by volunteers. The card reads: Our gift to you: Art that Blooms.
Boxes of AfterBloom bouquets ready for delivery by volunteers. The card reads: Our gift to you: Art that Blooms.

On May Day, a waning tradition was revived: over 100 floral bouquets were made with care and delivered by volunteers to metro area long-term care facilities, hospices, and shelters. Bouquets brought sunshine throughout the Twin Cities area, from Families Moving Forward in North Minneapolis to Bloomington nursing homes to Interfaith Outreach, and Community Partners in Plymouth. “No one is expecting a bouquet, so when I arrive at a facility door, I am met with sheer delight by the receptionist,” said Jenn Hovland, an AfterBloom volunteer who delivered several bouquets in Stillwater.
AfterBloom is a particularly fitting way to end the wonderful Mia event that is Art in Bloom. We are fortunate to have a world-class museum in Minneapolis that allows floral artists to pair floral arrangements with priceless artworks. This year, in particular, we were blessed to have as our signature artwork, Still Life with Anemones, a gift of Bruce and Ruth Dayton. The Daytons’ generosity is known throughout the community and is literally visible on the walls and in the halls of our museum. Many benefactors secure Mia’s vital presence in Minnesota. AfterBloom shows how a small expression of kindness can also advance Mia’s mission of enriching the community.

Generous Volunteers Deserve Thanks

Teresa, pictured here, is just one of the many volunteer to whom the Friends extend tremendous thanks.
Teresa, pictured here, is just one of the many volunteers to whom the Friends extend tremendous thanks.

This year’s Art in Bloom volunteers were great! Many attended our Volunteer Training Sessions; we welcomed first-timers who weren’t already Friends, and who joined the Friends as a result. We were also thankful to have many veteran volunteers support our effort. New Friends member and volunteer Jane was a sales star in the shop, while long-time volunteer Barbara made new Friends at the Membership table. Every volunteer has a story and everyone brought their time and zest to making this the best Art in Bloom ever. We couldn’t have done it without all of you! Thank you for enabling the Friends to share Art in Bloom 2017 with more than 52,000 visitors.

Friends Annual Report 2016-2017

Connie SommersGreetings Friends!
Spring has arrived and we helped usher it in with our glorious Art in Bloom 2017.  Congratulations! This is such an exciting time to be a Friend of the Institute. Our organization’s history is strong and the horizon bright with creative and innovative members. Before the new board takes office July 1st, I’d like to share the past year’s achievements. The annual report follows in its entirety for all members to read. I am privileged you have allowed me to be your President. Thank you.  
Wishing you sunshine and roses.
Take care,
Friends Annual Report 2016-2017
The 94th Annual meeting of the Friends of the Institute is now in session.  
I would like to recognize the past Friends Presidents who are with us today. Jane Nelson, Sheila Morgan, Carol Burton Gray, Linda Goldenberg, Suzanne Payne, Katie Searl, Carolyn Dahl and Pam Friedland. This very special, accomplished group represents 32 years of outstanding Friends leadership.
The past twelve months have been a significant year for our organization. Many new initiatives, through creative thinking and tireless work from outstanding members, will assure the Friends organization’s viability as we approach our 100th birthday in 2022, and beyond. Our goal is to be an innovator and leader not only in the Twin Cities but in the nonprofit world. I have no doubt we will accomplish our goals because we are privileged to work in such a supportive environment, thanks to the staff and administration of Mia. The Friends are fortunate to have the special friendship of Duncan and Nivin Macmillan Director and President of Mia, Kaywin Feldman; the guidance of Director of Advancement and liaison to the Friends, Julianne Amendola; the support of Maurice Blanks and the Mia Trustees who all stand with us.
Two weeks ago we were hosting thousands of guests at Mia for the 34th annual Art in Bloom. To be exact we had a record setting crowd — 52,000 guests in four days! We were all enjoying flowers, lectures, shopping and good cheer throughout the museum. AIB is the largest fundraising event of the Friends and takes over 300 volunteers and 165 pedestal florist to make sure our spring gift to the community is the best ever! The financial figures are not finalized but we are hopeful with the funds raised we will be able to bring more children to the museum, support more programs for Mia and expand the business of the Friends. Thank you to all who helped make AIB 2017 a success.
AIB was not the Friends only fundraising event this past year. We successfully offered two new opportunities to enjoy Mia. On October 7 the Friends hosted a cocktail reception and then heard Kaywin Feldman share her thoughts on the Art of Wonder.  On December 1, the Friends hosted a second cocktail reception during the Martin Luther exhibit. Deanna Thompson, a published Luther expert and Hamline University professor spoke to our guests about Luther from her perspective as a woman. Many of our guests experienced a docent led tour of the Luther exhibit. Both evenings were most enjoyable and quite successful.
The Friends continued the tradition of free monthly lectures. The lectures were sponsored by the generous gift of the Mark and Mary Goff Fiterman Lecture Fund. I’m sure none of you will be disappointed with today’s lecture or the line-up of speakers beginning the fall of 2017.
The Friends Transportation Fund has had a successful year bringing thousands of students to the museum. All students receive a docent led or Art Adventure tour. There is nothing like the excitement of school buses pulling up to the front of Mia and discharging all the excited school children for a visit to Mia. It may be noisy but it’s good noise. For the first time, the Friends will be bringing children to Mia in the summertime under a new initiative called the Transportation Program. Friends are partnering this summer with the North District YMCA to bring 16 buses of summer campers for a visit. This is exciting for the Friends and we hope to expand the program to other non-profits, like the Boys & Girls Club, with the funds raised through AIB 2017 Fund-a-Need.
And more good news. The 2016 AIB Fund-a-Need was so successful we were able to triple the number of scholarships awarded last summer to underserved campers for Mia’s arts camps and will be able to bring campers to the arts camps this summer, 2017, too!
The Friends Children’s Programs funded the second phase of the Community Mural project at Centro Tyrone Guzman Community Center. Many of the Friends went to its dedication last fall. The multi-generational Latino Community Center now has a beautiful, colorful facade created by their members fronting Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis. The Friends are committed to sponsor a third Community Mural to be completed in the fall 2017 in the Hope-Whittier neighborhood. Also this fall, a group of Friends will be trained to be Art Adventure “Picture People” at Whittier School. These volunteers will share the marvels of art and the kids will come to Mia for a visit. This is all very exciting for our neighborhood.
The Friends Endowment for Education contributes nearly 12% to Mia’s educational department’s budget, Learning Innovation. Mia’s LI department and the Friends organization are dedicated to providing programming for children and adults.
The Friends Membership Committee successfully started an Outreach Initiative this year. It developed into an active sub-committee and next year the Outreach Committee will be a new voting voice on the Friends Board. The plan is to reach out to other Twin Cities like-minded organizations and explore what we can do together to make ourselves stronger. So far, Friends of the Minnesota Orchestra have come to the March lecture and members of the Swedish Institute joined us for the April lecture. Just this Monday a group of Friends went to a Kinder Konzert at Orchestra Hall. We hope this is the beginning of mutually beneficial relationships.
There are summer plans for the Friends to do an exchange of speakers with the Minneapolis Woman’s Club. We are calling this initiative The Art of Power/The Power of Art. On Friday, June 2 Friends are invited to a luncheon at the Basilica of St Mary’s with guests from the Vatican. We will visit a special exhibit: A Day in the Life of the Swiss Guard. That’s just what’s happening this summer. Stay tuned and check out Friends Newsletter for future opportunities to participate in Outreach activities.
Another successful idea that came out of the Outreach Initiative was “Buy-a-Bus.” It started as a wonderful gift idea for Christmas giving. However, it proved to be so popular that we have extended the idea of purchasing a bus for other celebrations in the year like birthdays or maybe Mother’s Day! And with each bus purchased a tiny toy bus is awarded to you for your donation. This endeavor allows the Friends to bring 50 children in a bus to Mia.  
The Friends Art & Architecture trip is in June. Twenty Friends will “Skedaddle off to Seattle” for a wonderful, fun trip to that beautiful city, their museums and other points of interest. Safe travels Friends!
The Friends Only committee plans events for your enjoyment of the museum, to meet new friends and get acquainted with Mia curators. In the fall we had Friends #101, informing new and present Friends members about our organization’s activities, followed by a tour with Assistant Curator of Textiles Nicole LaBouff, focusing on textiles. We also toured the Guillermo del Toro exhibit with Curator and Head of Contemporary Art, Gabriel Ritter. The Friends Only Committee organizes the docent led pre-lecture tours each month and the Friends book club.
We could not possibly plan all these exciting Friends events without the support, professionalism and tireless enthusiasm of our Operations Manager, Kate Smith. Kate, along with her team of Project Assistants, Lydia and Jackie, are the liaisons to our members, our Board and to Mia’s staff. They are dynamic young women and a joy to work with. Stop by the office any time to say “hi.” Kate keeps the candy dish full of chocolate just for you.
My term as Friends President will conclude next month, on June 30. I want to thank you all for your Friendship and support over the past two years. I do not look at the completion of my job with sadness, but with happiness for the privilege I have had, being your President. Thank you!

Connie Sommers