Remembering Ann Birt

It is with great sadness we announce the passing of our dear friend, Ann Birt, on June 9th. Ann was an active member and supporter of the MIA and the Friends organization, serving in numerous positions on the Friends Board. Art in Bloom 2012 was successfully co chaired by Ann. The Friends are grateful for her capable leadership in many positions. We will miss her warm heart, friendly smile and charisma. The Friends will continue to follow her example of a can do spirit!

Art and Architecture in Duluth

The Friends enjoyed an insider’s tour of art and architecture in Duluth on June 17 and 18, highlighted by a visit to the historic Glensheen mansion and the home of renowned architect David Salmela.
It was a cool overcast day in Duluth, upon arrival, and showers were predicted. The view was spectacular as we sat above the clouds and mist looking down on the vast Lake Superior; its tributaries and the ore docks.
After a brief and refreshing stop we progressed to the Glensheen Mansion where we were treated to a personal tour from Glensheen Director Dan Hartman our charming, enthusiastic and visionary host. Dan has made amazing progress in restoring it to its original glory and opening it up to visitors in many new and exciting ways such as Kayak Tours.
Historians Penny Petersen and Rachel Peterson from Hess Roise Historical Consultants brought out Ms. Condon’s WWII Red Cross uniform and a 1920’s white silk beaded “flapper” dress from the Glensheen collection along with treasured porcelain dishes and historical world maps. The clouds dissipated and the sun shone as we toured the gardens that were in full bloom and a month behind the cities giving us a second dose of spring.
Architect David Salmela and homeowner Dave Arvold greeted us at the Arvold home. Salmela explained how his designs bring light inside from all angles and use familiar classical elements alongside modernist forms.  The home is filled with soft light and feels warm, comfortable and inviting. One Friend commented, “if that were our master bedroom perched in the sky above Lake Superior we’d never get out of bed.

David Salmela explains his design vision.
David Salmela explains his design vision.

As we prepared to leave we discovered that our bus was hung-up in the steep turn- around at the end of the street and a tow truck was on its way….and what a tow truck it was; a $400,000 piece of serious machinery with an operator who was all business until he turned in to a Teddy Bear upon completing the extrication. While we waited we “lollygagged” on the Loll chairs on the deck and sunbathed on the lawn. Problem solved we made our way to the historic Fitger’s Inn.  Donning our required “coats and ties” we dined in the “Great Room” at the historic Kitchi Gammi Club.
After a restful night at Fitger’s we embarked upon our second day with perfect temperatures and sunshine.
David and Gladys Salmela welcomed us to their home and studios. Gladys is a seamstress extraordinaire.  Her top floor sewing room has 180° of windows and was much admired (and coveted) by the seamstresses in our group. The house sits on a rocky hill along with several Salmela designed homes looking down on Duluth and Lake Superior.  Although it’s quite a distance from downtown and the Lake it feels as though you could reach-out and touch them. David’s studio is full of meticulously built models. We proceeded next door where the Halls welcomed us to their home, which was built right in to the enormous rock using a foundation from an original house. It’s another award winning architectural gem with an art collection and treasures from world travel to match.
On to the award winning Bagley Classroom Building at the University of Minnesota Duluth’s Bagley Nature Center.  It is the first and only U of M building with a LEED Platinum designation. Located in the Nature Reserve, students can now attend class in the midst of what they are studying.  We loved the outdoor area complete with well-used fireplace.
We ended our day with tours of the HAWKBOOTS and Loll manufacturing facilities. Begun as the maker of skate parks they now use the same materials to produce Epicurean cutting boards, kitchen utensils and Loll outdoor furniture.
After being filled with beautiful sites, extraordinary vistas and most of all warm and charming hosts we fell in to our comfortable bus for a sleepy, relaxing ride home.
Enjoy the photos posted in folders for each tour site: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/iqvfdd9k36asc74/AABUar7Y7INCLCI2gqNOx2Eda?dl=0
“The Job of the Architect” about David Salmela by Horacio Devoto is beautifully done. (The video we weren’t able to play on the bus.) http://www.horaciodevoto.com/projects/vimeo-project-2/
 
 
 
 

The 32nd Art in Bloom!

The 32nd Art in Bloom was a welcome gift to the community. It was made possible because of the outstanding volunteer efforts of more than 500 volunteers! Thank you to our dedicated Art in Bloom Committee which has been planning all year. Thank you also to the volunteers who worked tirelessly to ensure that all the events and activities ran smoothly. Much appreciation goes to the Pedestal Floral Artists and the Commercial Florists for their beautiful arrangements and displays. They captured our imaginations and delighted us with their creativity! Kudos to Kate Smith, Friends Office Administrator, for her hard work and superlative organizational skills, along with all the efforts of the Friends interns, Caroline Byrd and Kaitlin Gross. What great support they provided! We thank Friends President, Pamela Friedland, for her valuable guidance throughout the planning process and we also acknowledge the amazing support of our Art in Bloom Advisors, Carolyn Dahl, Betsey Whitbeck, and Carol Burton Gray. Our appreciation would not be complete without thanking the hardworking staff of the MIA who worked with us to help ensure that Art in Bloom would be successful. We could not have done it without their topnotch teamwork. In closing, we are pleased that Art in Bloom raised much needed funding to support transportation for K-12 students to come to the MIA. A big thank you to all the volunteers who helped make the 32nd Art in Bloom so successful!
JeanMarie Burtness and Arna Yetter Art in Bloom 2015 Co-Chairs
Lead Sponsor: Bachman’s
Honorary Chairs: Teresa Pfister and Joan T. Smith
Generous support provided by Gabberts Design Studio & Fine Furniture, Lakewood Cemetery, Martha Head, Nordic Ware, SpartanNash, Lucy and Bob Mitchell, and Tom and Lynn Schaefer.
Additional support provided by E.M. Birt, Edina Eye Physicians & Surgeons, Olson Law Firm, Caldrea, Helen W. Leslie, Mary Grau, Patty and Sam McCullough, D’Amico Catering, Acendas, Len Busch Roses, Susan Arndt, JeanMarie Burtness, Pamela Friedland, Julie Holland, Katie Remole, Connie Sommers, Arna Yetter, Maxine Wallin, B.T. McElrath Chocolatier, and Prism Research.
Media Partner: OUTFRONT Media

A Letter from Friends President Pamela Friedland

Portrait of Friends President Pam FriedlandI look back at the last two years of my life and of course recall all the personal fortunes in my life such as moving into a new home my husband and I helped design and welcoming our first grandchild Greyson, into our lives. This would certainly be enough to fill anyone with happiness it would seem. But I have had the good fortune of continued fulfillment by leading the Friends of the Institute through an incredible two years. Doing it with the most loyal, diligent, and genuinely warm group of board members I have worked alongside, has so greatly added to these successful two years. Seeing our Office Administrator Kate Smith everyday, has given me great support and introduced me to someone with the most amazing smile ever and incredible competency to boot! Our Friends Lecture Series has enjoyed a year of tremendous success. As the auditorium fills each month, our members have learned an incredible amount about so many different art topics. We continue to be grateful to the Mark and Mary Goff Fiterman Fund for its generosity in supporting this enormous endeavor. We look forward to a stellar lineup, beginning once again this September. Our Transportation Fund this year is spending nearly $17,000 for 90 buses bringing almost 4,500 schoolchildren through our doors for guide-led tours. Our goal in the next year is to offer transportation to older children also, exposing and capturing their future interest in the arts. We continue our long tradition of decorating the front MIA lobby with lovely fresh flowers weekly calling upon the generosity of the Harris/Phelps Fund. This year, like so many others, we generously provided via our Friends Endowment for Education Fund over $80,000 to the Learning and Innovation Department, allowing them the proper outreach to the community the museum prides itself on. Our Children’s Fund works closely with this department also targeting specific projects. Perhaps Friends is most proud this year of speaking up first to become one of the MIA’s three top Presenting Sponsors honoring the museum’s 100th Birthday Year. We are proud to say we have now paid off $250,000 of our $500,000 gift to the museum! We have our members to thank for helping raise this kind of money. Your belief in our mission, tireless support of our fall fundraisers and our annual community favorite Art in Bloom, as well as countess volunteer hours, allows us to be this generous. This organization is nonexistent without all of you, not only your time, financial support, but personal interactions so important to the success of a volunteer organization. We certainly have the MIA staff to thank also. Our partnership with everyone in the museum is cherished and enjoyed. I leave you all in great hands as Connie Sommers takes over as president in July. I certainly hope I may speak for all of you, as we plan to bop into the Friends office often to see Connie and Kate, and continue to be a part of the growth and success of the Friends.
With very warm wishes, Pamela Friedland

Glenn Lowry “In Between Places: Contemporary Art and the Middle East”

For nearly 20 years, art historian Glenn Lowry has directed New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the most influential modern art museum in the world. He came to MoMA as an acclaimed specialist in Islamic art. Lowry returns to his scholarly roots for this lecture. Contemporary art in the Middle East can be seen as the continuation of the historical tradition or as a radical break with the past; as a market driven phenomenon fueled by the wealth of a new Gulf-based clientele; or as a searing critique of the social and political conditions of the region often made by artists living in a diasporic condition. Dr. Lowry will explore how a number of artists from this region, including Wael Shawky, Shirin Neshat, Walid Raad, Rania Stephan, and Shahzia Sikander, navigate these complicated and highly charged issues through their varied practices that range from film-making and photography to painting and animation. Dr. Lowry became the sixth director of the Museum of Modern Art in 1995. He has significantly developed the Museum’s holdings in all mediums, adding entire collections of contemporary drawings, Fluxus, Conceptual Art, and the archives of Frank Lloyd Wright. A strong advocate of contemporary art and artists who are shaping art, he has overseen acquisitions by artists such as 2 Matthew Barney, Louise Bourgeois, Richard Serra, Gerhard Richter and Robert Rauschenberg. Dr. Lowry’s initiatives include the successful merger of The Museum of Modern Art and P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center (now MoMA P.S. 1). He also established the Contemporary and Modern Art Perspectives in a Global Age Initiative (C-MAP), a research program for the exchange of knowledge and ideas among arts experts around the world. He is currently leading a renovation and expansion project that will offer visitors a more welcoming and participatory experience and unprecedented access to MoMA’s collections and programming. Dr. Lowry received his B.A. from Williams College and an M.A. and Ph.D. in art history from Harvard University. He began his career as the first director of the Joseph and Margaret Muscarelle Museum of Art at the College of William and Mary. He was curator of Near Eastern Art at the Smithsonian Institution’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and Freer Gallery of Art. He was also director of the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Bring on the Yellow School Buses!

The Friends of the Institute plays a key role in bringing students to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Our Transportation Fund, an endowed fund, annually awards MIA transportation grants to Twin Cities public and private schools. This school year, the Fund, bolstered by additional funding from the Friends, extended grants totaling $16,835 to 54 schools. The Friends’ generosity will allow approximately 4,500 students in grades K-8 to take advantage of tours of the MIA’s outstanding permanent collection and special exhibitions. As a Friend of Institute member, you helped make this happen! The Transportation Fund grant application for schools K-8 will be available in August on the MIA website at
https://friends.artsmia.org/discover/school-tours/
Transportation Fund Co-chairs, Joan Kampmeyer and Mary Bachhuber

Hudson River School Artists in Arkansas? Who knew?

I recently visited Crystal Bridges, the American art museum founded by Alice Walton. The museum designed by Moshe Safdie, opened in 2011 and it is well worth a visit. Set over a body of water, it is architecturally quite stunning. From inside the museum, one can see the water and outdoor environment as one walks the hallways between the galleries. The restaurant is also set over water, and is very open and filled with light. A large metallic gold colored Jeff Koons heart hangs from the ceiling and reflects the interior of the restaurant. The collection covers painting and sculpture from colonial times to present day. One of my favorite galleries at the museum consists of an extensive collection of Hudson River school artists. Several of the artists in our MIA collection are represented so I got to see works by old familiar friends such Jasper Cropsey, Thomas Moran, and Albert Bierstadt. One of the gems in the collection is Asher Durand’s Kindred Spirits, a painting he made in homage to Thomas Cole after Cole’s death. Walton purchased it from the New York Public Library in 2005 when the library sold it to raise money for its endowment fund. Many New Yorkers were not happy about the sale. Walton’s deep pockets also allowed her purchase of Georgia O’Keeffe’s Jimson Weed (White Flower No.1) in 2014 for 44.4 million dollars, the highest price ever paid for a painting by a female artist. The museum’s modern collection also includes some of our MIA artists such as Marisol, Grace Hartigan, Larry Rivers, Roy Lichtenstein, Nick Cave, and several others. To complete my day at the museum, I walked outdoors around the grounds and saw several outdoor sculptures by Mark di Suvero, Robert Indiana, and Paul Manship. They were surrounded by flowering red buds, magnolias, and peach trees. A spring visit to Crystal Bridges was just what I needed after a Minnesota winter.
Article by: Laura Miller,  Art Adventure Guide

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