Newly acquired artworks in the Africa galleries are the subject for May’s Friends Only tour.

May 20, 2021 11:00 am



Ticket Price: Free

Dr. Jan-Lodewijk Grootaers, Curator, Art of Africa and the Americas

Curator Jan-Lodewijk Grootaers will lead the last Friends Only tour of the season

Friends Only is delighted to announce its final event of the season: Jan-Lodewijk Grootaers, Curator of African Art and Head of the Arts of Africa & the Americas, will present a virtual talk about newly acquired artworks on view in the African art galleries.

Jan-Lodewijk came to Mia in 2008 as its first curator of African art.  He led the innovative reinstallation of Mia’s African galleries in 2013 and has broadened the collection through numerous acquisitions. A native of Belgium,  Grootaers studied cultural anthropology at the University of Chicago for his PhD, specializing in Central Africa.  

At Mia his “iAfrica” show in 2009 experimented with multisensory experiences. More recently he has focused on artistic expressions in the African practice of Islam, leading up to the current exhibition “Khatt Islāmi: Sacred Scripts from Islamic Africa,” curated in collaboration with Amallina Mohamed from the Somali Museum of Minnesota. Later this year, Grootaers will open a new gallery dedicated to Islamic Africa, adjacent to the existing gallery of Islamic art. 

Space is limited so reserve soon by emailing 

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

Join The Friends

Friends Book Club May selection is “The Library Book” by Susan Orlean 

May 21, 2021 10:00 am



Ticket Price: Free

Head back to the 1980’s in Susan Orlean’s Los Angeles based story.

The Book Club is nearing the end of our COVID Season, but there’s still time to join two more docent led discussions. May will feature “The Library Book” by Susan Orlean. Wrapped inside the story of the great fire in1986 at the Los Angeles Central Library, this book is a sweet ode to libraries and librarians. 

Please join us!

To reserve your spot, email

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

Join The Friends

Get Tickets

The last Friend’s Book Club of the season features “Less—A Novel”

June 18, 2021 10:00 am



Ticket Price: Free

Andrew Sean Greer’s witty tale is June’s book. Because who doesn’t need to laugh?!

June will conclude the pandemic-edition of the Book Club with “Less—A Novel” by Andrew Sean Greer.  A Pulitzer prize winner, the novel is at once a travel narrative, a satire, and a coming-of-age novel for its protagonist—a middle-aged homosexual writer. Arthur Less learns that his former lover, Freddy, is about to marry someone new. And the romp goes on..

One New York Times writer said about the novel, “Convulsed in laughter a few pages into Andrew Sean Greer’s fifth novel, “Less,” I wondered with regret why I wasn’t familiar with this author. My bad.”

Please join us!

To reserve your spot, email 

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

Join The Friends

Art and Architecture in-person activity coming in June

The only screen you’ll need is sunscreen!

The Friends Art and Architecture Committee is excited to announce an early June outdoor, in-person, activity! Sculptor Bruce Stillman transformed his dairy farm homestead in Minnetrista into landscape art—that is, Big Stone Mini Golf and Sculpture Garden. A group of Friends will experience a playful, interactive art experience followed by an outdoor lunch nearby.

We are complying with State of Minnesota COVID safety recommendations.

More information and sign-up to follow in the mid-May special edition of the Newsletter.

Looking back: Peggy Hawks

Remembering a devoted arts volunteer and “beauty with brains” 

Mrs. Stanley (Margaret) Hawks

Friends President from 1946-48

 Mrs. Stanley (Margaret) Hawks was best known to all her friends as Peggy. She was born in Florence, Italy in 1894. Her father, Dr. William W. Baldwin practiced medicine in Florence where Peggy was raised as the youngest of six children. Her death came in 1983. What a life she led in those 89 years!

Peggy married Stillwater native, Mr. Stanley Hawks and began a life of travel and providing goodwill gestures. Stanley was an ambassador to several countries as well as the U.S. Legation Secretary in Guatemala where Stanley and Peggy had the delightful opportunity to meet Charles Lindbergh. Eventually, the Hawks settled back in Minnesota with Stanley, in time, retiring as vice president of the Minneapolis Star & Tribune newspaper. Many tales have been told recollecting the grand Italianate house on Lake of the Isles Boulevard where they resided.

The Minneapolis Times columnist, Brenda Ueland wrote in 1946 of the “Franciscan monastery with iron gates and cloisters and walled gardens on different levels, a rectangular pool full of aquamarine water, and a little tiled pavilion.” Ueland knew the Hawks because, during WWII, the Hawks gave endless parties for Nisei soldiers (second-generation Japanese Americans who fought bravely during WWII, despite moral dilemmas they may have faced) as she took scores of these men under her wings. Peggy also had a special place in her heart for exiled people from Poland, as well as others fleeing Yugoslavia and Germany. Her house was open to so many in need of her open arms. In Peggy’s drawing-room there hung photographs of Chief Justice Hughes and Elihu Root. Root was the former Secretary of State under President Theodore Roosevelt and also the Secretary of War under Roosevelt and President William McKinley. Apparently, Stanley as a young man, was the private secretary to both these gentlemen.

Peggy’s brother, the head of the Herbert Hoover American humanitarian mission in Poland, had offered Peggy the task of food distribution. It was in Poland that Peggy began to see the tragedies associated within this country. She witnessed open boxcars crowded with people dying as the result of Russians sending captured Polish citizens homes. Frustrated that she could not speak the language of these suffering people, Peggy decided to learn the Polish language.

Upon returning to the United States, Peggy met Hugh Gibson, the first U.S. Minister to the new Second Polish Republic. Gibson heard of Peggy’s recent engagement to Stanley and arranged for Stanley to go to Poland for the State Department. There began years in government service for the Hawks. Peggy credits her years in the diplomatic service for teaching her the art of hospitality. She stated she was taught to lift her head, perfect her clothing, her kindness, alertness, and above all learn the importance of responsibility towards others.

Once settled in Minneapolis, Peggy became involved with the Minneapolis Institute of Art and the Friends of the Institute, taking on the job of Friends President from 1946 to 1948. The one event, in particular, she was quite proud of was the Hamlet event at the Lyceum Theater located in downtown Minneapolis held in February of 1948. The Friends were sponsoring the opening night benefit that featured the esteemed Maurice Evans playing Hamlet. Working with event chair, Mrs. Leo (Rosalynd) Pflaum, the benefit raised money to fund color reproductions of some of the most important paintings in the museum’s collection. This was a popular program the museum was quite excited about allowing visitors to purchase these pieces at affordable prices to hang in their homes. Opening night was quite the extravaganza! Peggy arrived wearing a black velvet and gold gown, Rosalynd wore her black gown and mink coat. Minnesota governor Luther Youngdahl arrived with his wife donning a red crepe gown. Minneapolis mayor, Hubert Humphrey and his wife Muriel were also in attendance.  As this event also marked the 25th anniversary of Friends, many loyal and long-standing Friends members attended, such as the Friends first president, Mrs. Carolyn Christian. Again, Minneapolis Times columnist Ueland acknowledged Peggy mentioning the splendid after-party at the Hawks residence. The Hamlet cast was invited to the Franciscan monastery like home with the “snow filling the cloisters and swimming pool, and a worse-than- Danish wind whistling off Lake of the Isles.”

Peggy’s relationship with Rosalynd continued to 1949, with the beginning of WAMSO, the Minnesota Orchestra’s volunteer organization (currently called FOMO.) Rosalynd served as the founding president, as she was unable to convince Peggy to take on the job. Rosalynd and Peggy stated it took two years to convince some of the men on the orchestra’s board that a women’s organization could raise money and be a beneficial partner to the orchestra.

The Minneapolis Institute of Art still occupied a large part of Peggy’s heart. With the passing of her husband, Stanley in 1971, the Stanley Memorial Fund was established. Approximately 86 works of art have been gifted to the museum as a result of this fund as well as gifts from Peggy herself. From Mayan fabrics to a Japanese sword with a snake engraved on it, to a wonderful collection of James Van Der Zee photos, many different cultures and art forms have been enjoyed by so many visitors.

Barbara Flanagan, legendary columnist for the Minneapolis Star and Tribune called Peggy in 1973, “…a beauty with brains plus.” Be reminded of Peggy’s contributions to the city and to the museum as her name and her husband’s name are proudly noted on so many favorite pieces seen in the museum’s collection.

Centennial History Publication Committee
Pamela Friedland
Linda Goldenberg
Mary Merrick
Suzanne Payne
Connie Sommers

Top Ten Reasons to attend virtual Art in Bloom

Art in Bloom Chair Barb Champ channels David Letterman with her “top ten” list.

Barb Champ, Art in Bloom 2021 Chairperson

10. No social distancing or masking required

9. No need to search for parking

8. Jumping on the website in your pajama’s is cool

7. Seasonal allergies will not negatively impact your experience

6. Eating a meal or enjoying a cup of coffee or cocktail/mocktail while participating is completely acceptable

5. Creating a beautiful fresh floral arrangement at home without ever having to leave your house

4. Your visit to Art in Bloom will not be cut short to let your pet out

3. Partake in lectures and docent tours, all free of cost

2. View beautiful floral arrangements any time of the day or night

And (drumroll, please) the number one reason to attend virtual Art in Bloom? You can help keep this tradition alive and easily donate via the website from your personal device.  You can feel good that your gift will support and sustain Mia’s collections and programs during this year of extraordinary pandemic disruption.  Know that your contributions to the Friends are more welcome and gratefully accepted than ever this year.

2021 Virtual Art in Bloom 

Enjoy the spirit-boosting floral interpretations, speakers, and workshops you expect, in virtual form. 

Virtual Art in Bloom

April 28–May 2, 2021

The beautiful blooms, creativity, camaraderie, and more move online this year!

Join us for our perennial spring fundraiser presented by the Friends of the Institute at Mia. Now in its 38th year, this beloved event offers the same caliber of day-brightening floral interpretations, speakers, and workshops you expect, only this year all the fun will be found online at


Wednesday, April 28

View photos of nearly 100 floral interpretations of Mia artworks 

View Art in Bloom signature DIY cocktail/mocktail recipe, crafted by Norseman Distillery

Daily docent-led Zoom tours (must pre-register)* 

Thursday, April 29

View photos of floral interpretations of Mia artworks 

Daily docent-led Zoom tours (must pre-register)*

10AM – 6PM Commercial Floral Artist displays open for viewing at select Twin Cities locations

11AM Bachman’s floral ZOOM workshop with delivered-to-home kits ($75, must pre-register)*

7PM  Panel featuring Holly Young, creator of Floral Legacy,  artist Graci Horne, and Jill Ahlberg Yohe, Mia’s associate curator of Native American art (must pre-register)*

Friday, April 30

View photos of floral interpretations of Mia artworks 

Daily docent-led Zoom tours (must pre-register)*

9AM – 6PM Commercial Floral Artist displays open for viewing at select Twin Cities locations

11AM Bachman’s floral ZOOM workshop with delivered-to-home kits ($75, must pre-register)*

7PM Lecture by retired FBI agent Deborah Pierce on floral art heists (must pre-register)*

Saturday, May 1

View photos of floral interpretations of Mia artworks 

Daily docent-led Zoom tours (family-friendly, must pre-register)*

9AM – 5PM Commercial Floral Artist displays open for viewing at select Twin Cities locations

Sunday, May 2

View photos of floral interpretations of Mia artworks 

Daily docent-led Zoom tours (family-friendly, must pre-register)*

*Registration for all events will open here starting April 5.


Pedestal Floral Artists lean into digital Art in Bloom

Mia curators offer an unprecedented number of artworks to PFAs 

Art In Bloom floral artists at work

Pedestal floral artists (PFAs) are the heart of Art in Bloom. They enthusiastically plan and execute floral interpretations of Mia artworks and engage with Art in Bloom visitors. 

This year is no exception, and all the more remarkable, because nearly 100 PFAs will be creating floral arrangements that can only be viewed online, starting April 28. 

PFAs feel honored to create floral arrangements that are admired in situ next to beloved artworks. In a typical year, the weight of this privilege coincides with apprehension that their floral work is a worthy complement to the artwork interpreted. For virtual Art in Bloom, PFAs have the added challenge of designing a floral arrangement that translates well to a two-dimensional photograph. This is no small feat. 

Many thanks are due to the generous PFAs who continue to contribute their artistry and time to make Art in Bloom special every year.

This year, Mia curators offered an unprecedented number of artworks for PFAs to select from. No fresh flowers in the museum means no water, no pollen, and fewer rules, allowing the curators to make textiles, photographs, and works on paper available for interpretation. As a result, half of the works selected by PFAs this year are “not on view” in the galleries. Our Art in Bloom 2021 PFAs, by pairing florals with rarely seen works, will expose visitors to a new perspective on Mia’s encyclopedic collection. 

The enduring support of Commercial Floral Artists (CFA)

CFA’s offer a special treat for Art in Bloom 2021!

Have you ever wondered about the commercial florists at Art In Bloom—the ones who create the large, awe-inspiring floral installations in the main spaces at Mia? They are professional, retail florists from our community who volunteer their time and talent to enhance the beautiful art at Mia and heighten the Art in Bloom experience for visitors. 

The tradition of having big floral displays at the entrances and hallways of Mia started back with the very first Art in Bloom in 1984. There were nine commercial florists that participated that year and this wonderful tradition has lived on to this day. 

We are thrilled to continue to involve our Commercial Floral Artists during this unprecedented year when we cannot have floral displays at the museum. Twelve local florists have agreed to safely display their beautiful installations at their place of business.  These floral displays will be a gift to Mia and to the community and allow us to enjoy flowers and plants in person.

We hope you will visit and enjoy each commercial florist’s creativity and generosity. While you are admiring the flowers, take a photo or a selfie and tag it #ArtInBloom and share it with your friends and family!

Public viewing hours: 

Thursday, April 29  10AM- 6PM
Friday, April 30   9AM- 6PM
Saturday, May 1   9AM – 5PM

Art In Bloom 2021 Commercial Florists:

Gerten’s Greenhouses & Garden Center
5500 Blaine Avenue East
Inver Grove Heights, MN  55076

Acanthus Floral Art
3932 Cedar Avenue
Minneapolis, MN  55407

Joy De Fleur Floral Design Studio
32 Dunlap Street S.
Saint Paul, MN 55105

Lake Harriet Florist
5011 Penn Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN  55419

Martha’s Gardens
1593 Selby Avenue
Saint Paul, MN  55104

575 SE 9th Street Unit 91
Minneapolis, MN  55414

Studio Louise Flowers
310 Main Street South
Stillwater, MN 55082

Ergo Floral
516 Selby Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55102

Arts and Flowers Design Studio
6011 Excelsior Boulevard
Minneapolis, MN  55416

Best Wishes Floral
689 Winnetka Avenue North
Golden Valley, MN  55427

Tangletown Gardens
5353 Nicollet Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55419

Bachman’s Floral, Gift & Garden
6010 Lyndale Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN  55419


Zoom Floral Design Workshop 

Design your own floral masterpiece with help from a Bachman’s design expert via ZOOM or give the gift of a workshop!

Two workshop dates. Limit 25 participants each. 

$75 per person

Thursday, April 29, 11AM


Friday, April 30, 11AM

Click here to reserve tickets.

Take a virtual stroll through the 2021 Art in Bloom pedestal artists gallery — and then become part of the experience yourself! Design your own floral masterpiece with help from a Bachman’s design expert via Zoom. Try something new and learn design techniques to craft bountiful blooms and glossy greenery into a lovely vase arrangement.

Workshop registration will be open through noon on Monday, April 26, unless the workshops sell out prior.

Ticket and Delivery Information:

  • Ticket covers all flower and foliage materials, as well as a vase.
  • Workshop kit will be delivered, by Bachman’s, to the address you choose, provided it is within Bachman’s delivery area. For more information about the delivery area, please visit
  • Flowers and materials will be selected and delivered on Wednesday, April 28th for the Thursday, April 29th workshop or on Thursday, April 29th for the Friday, April 30th workshop.
  • Workshop participants will receive an email with log-in credentials to take part in the ZOOM workshop.
  • One person per ticket. No tickets will be mailed. Workshops are designed for adults and children ages 13 or older.
  • Picture shown is for illustration only and subject to change due to product availability.
  • All proceeds from the workshops are donated to Friends of the Institute.

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