Exciting Changes for Friends Membership

In anticipation of the Friends Centennial next year, membership will be complimentary in 2021. 


The Board of the Friends of the Minneapolis Institute of Art is happy to announce exciting changes to our membership process!

In honor of our 100th Birthday in January 2022 and to increase our membership to 1000 leading up to that momentous event, Friends’ memberships will be complimentary for all of our current members for the remainder of 2021. We will also extend this membership opportunity to all NEW friends who might like to experience the benefits of a Friends membership for the remainder of 2021.

How will this work?

If you paid membership fees during 2020, your complimentary membership will be extended from its expiration through December 31, 2021. Beginning in January 2022, all Friends memberships will be active from January 1 to December 31. This will help us track and remind members of renewal in a much more efficient way. Renewal notices will be sent to all members in November of 2021 and include information about our current membership levels. This new format will enable the Friends to streamline the membership renewal process and minimize the longstanding question, “When does my Friends membership expire?”

What do you need to do?

First, if your current Friends membership is active, your membership expiration date will be automatically changed to December 31, 2021.

In the coming week you will receive an email with a link that can be forwarded to friends and family who have not yet had the opportunity to enjoy all that a Friends membership has to offer. We ask that you PLEASE forward this to anyone who might be interested in joining. To ensure that the Friends endure for another 100 years, we have set a goal of 1000 members by the end of 2021.

Last year was a difficult one for everyone, and the Friends was no exception. But better days are ahead in 2021! April brings us virtual Art in Bloom, and the Friends will continue to host virtual lectures and Friends-Only events. Finally, the Friends are approaching our Centennial in 2022—100 years of partnership and support of Mia. In celebration, the Centennial Committee is planning a wonderful year filled with a variety of special events. Throughout 2021 you’ll find Centennial updates in our monthly Friends Newsletter that also features articles about Friends events throughout the year.

President’s Letter

A message from our Friend’s President Maria Eggemeyer

Dear Friends,

What does 2021 hold for Friends?

In 2020 we had to stretch our imagination, adapt, and learn to navigate the virtual world to stay connected to our members and the community in order to strengthen our mission of supporting, enhancing, and sustaining the collection, programs, and influence of the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

We’ve done this through virtual lectures that have drawn wide audiences from as far as India, Ecuador, and Argentina, curator-led virtual tours, virtual book-clubs, and more. Best of all, most of these events are recorded—expanding their reach beyond a specific date and time. 

I’m happy to report that 2021 will bring the return of  Art in Bloom, the Friends festive floral event and fundraiser! Stay tuned for all of the exciting plans. It’s sure to be great fun with no trouble parking in the virtual world. 2021 will also be a year for Friends to continue to create worthwhile events and programs and come together in a variety of venues, both virtual and in-person, post-vaccine.

Most of all, Friends can look forward to learning and growing while preparing the 2022 celebration for this great organization’s hundred-year-long history of supporting Mia. Happy New Year!

January Lecture

January 14, 2021 11:00 am



Ticket Price: Free

“Beyond Dürer: Becoming a Museum Director” is our first lecture of 2021

Dr. Katherine (Katie) Luber became the new director of Mia just one year ago in January. Luber, who goes by “Katie”, will share her journey to becoming a museum director. It began at Bryn Mawr with her Ph.D. dissertation on Albrecht Dürer’s paintings, and continued with a wide range of experiences, including work at the  Philadelphia Museum of Art and teaching at the University of Texas Austin, followed by an M.B.A. at Johns Hopkins University. Along the way, she founded and managed The Seasoned Palette, a successful start-up company that she ultimately sold before becoming the director of the San Antonio Museum in Texas. 

Katie’s determination and creative thinking allowed the San Antonio Museum of Art to substantially increase its membership and community reach, while also expanding its collection and breadth of exhibitions. That experience will be valuable as Mia continues to grow as an art museum in which everyone can learn about diverse cultures as well as see and engage with their own history. A fun fact about Katie’s own history is that although she is a 5th generation Texan on her father’s side, her great, great grandmother on her mother’s side emigrated from Norway and ended up in Minnesota. 

Katie has noted, “Throughout my career, I have demonstrated the importance and power of art to impact people and communities.” Her first year has been a baptism by fire with the pandemic and all the urban unrest in the community. She has spent the past year discovering the colorful mosaic of the Twin Cities communities. Katie finds it sad that the country is so divided and that there aren’t many places where we can have conversations. She sees the museum as one of those places to address those much-needed topics. 

David Wilson, President of Mia’s board described Katie as having “an authentic, passionate vision for how art can engage, educate, and delight us all.” Please join us as we kick off a fresh new year! “Zoom in” on January 14th to learn more about Albrecht Dürer, Katie Luber’s journey, and her vision for Mia.

Reserve your tickets online, or by calling 612-870-3000.

“Rembrandt in Conversation” is January’s Friends Only Tour

January 6, 2021 11:00 am


Ticket Price: Free

Join us for a curator-led tour of this special exhibition

Thomas E. Rassieur,  John E. Andrus III Curator of Prints and Drawings, Prints and Drawings Department Head

We’re delighted to have a Friends-favorite—Thomas Rassieur, John E. Andrus III Curator of Prints and Drawings and Prints and Drawings Department Head—lead our first Friends Only tour of 2021!

Mr. Rassieur came to Mia in 2009 from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston where he was Curator of Prints and Drawings. A respected scholar of Rembrandt, Thomas has published numerous writings on Rembrandt, German Renaissance prints, and Richard Holzschuh who is a talented storybook illustrator.  Thomas has also curated or co-curated thirty exhibitions, most prominently those showcasing Rembrandt.  While at Mia, he curated “Rembrandt in America” and “Martin Luther: Art and the Reformation.”  

This Zoom presentation will be limited to 15 to 18 participants. He is an animated and inspiring lecturer so make your reservation soon by emailing friends@artsmia.org

This event will be taped for those who are unable to attend the Jan. 6th Zoom tour.

This event is a Friends Only Event. Join the Friends today and attend the event!

Join The Friends

Friends January Book Club

January 15, 2021 10:00 am



Ticket Price: Free

Join Friends who love books via Zoom

Time to read again!

January Friends Book Club will enjoy, “The Housekeeper and the Professor” by Yoko Ogawa. This contemporary novel revolves around a young single mother (the Housekeeper) who, along with her son, comes to care for the elderly and amnesiac Professor and end up learning much about life and mathematics in the process.

The 2021 book list for the remaining season include:

February – Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague by Geraldine Brooks

March – Gun Island: A Novel by Amitav Ghosh

April -Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

May – The Library Book by Susan Orlean

June – Less: A Novel by Andrew Sean Greer

If you haven’t joined the Book Club, please consider doing so. Not only do we discuss the chosen book, but we also enjoy a Docent-led guide through the Mia artwork, which resonates with the books’ themes. To join, contact the Friends office to be added to the official list. The discussions are conducted on Zoom and are limited to 18. 

Email friends@artsmia.org to reserve your spot.

This event is a Friends Only Event. Join the Friends today and attend the event!

Join The Friends

Art in Bloom 2021

Art in Bloom is back for 2021 with everything but the smells! 

Holly Young, (Standing Rock Dakota, United States), “Floral Legacy,” 2019, Quills, beads, tin cones, brass sequins, thimbles, satin, calico, fabric, brass bells, feathers, elk hide. Gift of funds from Maria Eggemeyer, Maria Wagner Reamer, and Therese M. Blaine in recognition of the Friends of the Institute, 2019.65, © Holly Young

Chairperson Barb Champ is happy to announce that Art in Bloom will take place, April 28-May 2, 2021

The event will be virtual and a little different than past years, but the celebration of fresh flowers and art, and the opportunity to celebrate spring will be the same. 

The signature piece will be 2020’s “Floral Legacy,” by Holly Young. More details will follow in future issues of the newsletter! 


Stepping Back: The first Friends President

First in a series previewing the 2022 Friends Centennial

In just one year, Friends will be celebrating its centennial.  My committee and I have been busy for well over a year producing a book due out at the beginning of January 2022, documenting our extensive history. In our research, we continue to discover stories about the selfless, intelligent, accomplished, and entertaining women leading the way for Friends. Not all of this amazing information can fit into our book so we thought instead, we’d bring you the tales of these legendary people in this column. Smile, laugh, be astonished, and be proud of women strongly connected to our history. 

Carolyn McKnight Christian

 Carolyn McKnight Christian, 1875-1964

 When the much-admired Ethel Morrison Van Derlip died at an early age in 1921, 45 of her fellow community art supporters and friends felt Van Derlip’s legacy needed recognition. On January 20th, 1922, these women officially formed Friends of the Institute in her honor. With Carolyn McKnight Christian herself being a strong patron in the neighborhood and art supporter within Minneapolis, she was selected to become the first president of this cherished organization.

2200 Park Avenue. Photo courtesy of CARLOS GONZALEZ – STAR TRIBUNE

Carolyn was born in Colorado in 1875 to Sumner T. McKnight and Eugenie Manville. Mr. McKnight was in the real estate business as well as the lumber business. His vocation took the family across the Midwest and the West Coast, moving Carolyn 11 times as a child. Eventually, the family settled at 2200 Park Avenue in Minneapolis. 

In 1897, Carolyn wed George Chase Christian. Mr. Christian was the son of Leonora Hall and George H. Christian. George H. and Leonora had lost their oldest son Henry to tuberculosis at the age of 27. Perhaps because of this, Leonora devoted much of her time to supporting the fight against this devasting disease. In fact, they funded treatment camps and hospitals for patients with tuberculosis, engaging in a special interest for afflicted children. George H. Christian, himself involved in the Minneapolis flour milling industry, founded the Citizen’s Aid Society with a $1 million endowment in 1916, soon after his wife Leonora passed away. It was included in the articles of incorporation that patients with TB be treated. Later this Citizen Aid Society developed into the United Way.

2303 Third Ave

In 1917, Carolyn along with her husband George began construction of a three-story mansion at  2303 Third Avenue. The architect, Edwin Hewitt, already famously known in the Twin Cities, designed a home with a mixture of late English Gothic and Renaissance design. In 1919, before the house was completed, George passed away and this left Carolyn with the task of putting the finishing touches on the grand home.

Carolyn lived in the home, with her foster children who she met while traveling with her husband in Paris, until 1957. They had no children of their own but Carolyn also spent a great deal of time with her seven nieces and nephews. She maintained the role of the family matriarch and was often called, “Nana.” Often the home was filled with music, and many concerts were hosted in the fireplace room designed for this purpose. Carolyn’s golden retriever named Dennis would “dance” with Carolyn around the living and dining rooms, adding to the festivities. One of Carolyn’s foster daughters recalled perching at the top of the grand staircase, hearing the doorman announcing the guests for the evenings’ social gatherings. Aside from enjoying entertaining, Carolyn continued to demonstrate her passion for the welfare of the community in countless ways.

Before Carolyn’s death in 1964 at the age of 89, it was her wish to donate her home to the Minneapolis Institute of Art in 1957. Shortly afterward, the home was purchased by the Hennepin History Museum to house an increasing collection of the county’s artifacts. Jack Kabrud, museum curator has mentioned a lingering presence exists in the museum. It is unknown whether or not this is from the historic museum collection or previous inhabitants of the home. Past volunteers and staff of the museum have “experienced pockets of strong, unexplainable scents, and many people—especially women—have gotten a strange, unsettling sensation at the top of the main staircase.”

No doubt, Friends feel the presence of Carolyn Christian when continuing its passion for serving the community and the mission of the museum. Her legacy as Friends’ first leader has set an extraordinary example of generosity and the spirit of giving.

Friends Centennial History Publication Authors

Pamela Friedland
Linda Goldenberg
Mary Merrick
Suzanne Payne
Connie Sommers

Meet a Friend: Nikki Lewis

Nikki and Ron Lewis









Tell us a little about yourself  

I had a successful 38-year career with NSP/Xcel Energy, where I attained the position of Managing Director, Corporate Risk Management.  Later in my career, I realized that I needed to plan for life after work so, I joined the Friends and plunged into duplicate bridge. It is definitely working. Sadly, my husband Ron died in 2019. He loved my Mia arts activities because he saw that it was a lot of fun and no work!  

How long have you been a Friend? 

That information is lost in the mists of time, maybe 30 years?  I joined the Decorative Arts Council, then was recruited onto the Friends Board where I eventually held almost every position except for President and Hospitality, which are the hard ones! The Programs and Treasurer positions were my favorites. I also served on many AIB Committees, serving as Co-chair in 2010 and Honorary Chair in 2018. 

What’s the most memorable Friends Lecture or event you’ve attended?  

David Garrard Lowe, The Glamour of Art Deco New York! David’s stunning 2012 lecture earned a standing ovation from the audience, which I have never seen happen before or since.   Simon Schama was a close second. 

How about a favorite artwork? 

How about a favorite child? I could never choose a favorite! Nevertheless, what comes to mind when pondering this question is the ancient Yoruba Shrine Head.  She evokes serenity, strength, and beauty. 

Finish the sentence: I love being a Friend because __________ . 

Thanks to the Friends, I have made strong, life-long friendships with whom I’ve traveled. I have learned many things in many ways that have enhanced my life, and all while doing a little good for art and my community.

What do you wish everyone knew about Mia?  

Mia is a place that holds joyful surprises around every corner no matter how much or how little you know about art. 

How are you adjusting to our current circumstances? 

I am not a Zoom virtuoso, but I’m grateful that it allows me to attend Friends and VocalEssence board and committee meetings.  I play BBO bridge (and some in-person bridge, safely of course).  The Frick Cocktails with the Curator is a delight.  And of course, wine helps! 


Letter from the President

Dear Friends,

Have I ever shared the story of how Still-Life with Dahlias, Zinnias, Hollyhocks and Plums, by Eugene Delacroix came to Mia? 

Four years ago, Patrick Noon, retired Elizabeth MacMillan Chair of the Department of Paintings, was in London to supervise an exhibition he organized, Delacroix and the Rise of Modern Art, at the National Gallery.

During his visit, Patrick was asked by a French art dealer to authenticate a recently-discovered rare floral still-life by Delacroix.

During the authentication process, several discoveries were made using X-radiography. One was that the artist stretched and primed the canvas himself,  evidenced by the odd, low-grade construction. Patrick surmised that the Delacroix might have been painted away from his studio—at the country estate of a relative or a friend far from Paris, requiring the artist to use whatever materials were available.

In any case, Still-Life with Dahlias, Zinnias, Hollyhocks and Plums was deemed authentic, and Patrick knew Mia would want it. The Friends, in celebration of our centennial in January of 2022,  offered to purchase it as a gift to Mia, honoring our legacy of helping the museum acquire works of art.

We still have a ways to go to fulfill our financial commitment associated with this sublime painting, so I ask you to please consider a gift of any amount. Simply indicate that you’d like to contribute to the Delacroix fund and call 612-870-3000 to donate over the phone or send a check to:

ATTN: Advancement Office
Minneapolis Institute of Art
2400 3rd. Ave. S
Minneapolis, MN 55404

Thank you. I wish all of you a bright, joyful, peaceful, and healthful holiday season.

Maria Eggemeyer

December Friends Only Tour

December 8, 2020 11:00 am



Ticket Price: Free

Casey Riley

Casey Riley, Curator and Head of the Department of Photography and New Media, will present the third Friends Only tour this month, exploring the beautiful and heartbreaking “Just Kids” exhibit before it closes.  

Casey oversees Mia’s collection of 14,000 photographs and works of new media.  She came to Mia in 2018 from the Boston Athenaeum as the assistant curator of the special collections. She also served as consulting curator for the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. A graduate of Yale University, Casey also holds graduate degrees from Brown University, Middlebury College, and a PhD from Boston University. She is a specialist in the history of photography and is passionate about highlighting the work of women photographers.

Casey is a dynamic speaker so make your reservations soon by emailing friends@artsmia.org.  The event will be recorded for those who are unable to reserve a place.  


This event is a Friends Only Event. Join the Friends today and attend the event!

Join The Friends

Just another WordPress site