President’s Letter

Dear Members,

In late November the ambient light has changed and moody skies invite reflection. It’s a special time for families and friends to gather, celebrate traditions and share savory meals. I am thankful for many things including my talented Board of Directors, our Operations Coordinator Claire Goulson, and the supportive staff at Mia. 

We are looking forward to Mia resuming regular hours. Starting Tuesday, November 23, Mia will be open every day from 10-5, and open Thursday evenings until 9 pm (closed on Mondays).

In December, Friends will have the opportunity to mingle in person at our appreciation sale. This happens on Wednesday, December 1 and Thursday, December 2 in the Wells Fargo Room from 10am – 5pm. This sale is open to Friends members and Mia staff. These are new items purchased for the AIB 2020, an event that was canceled due to Covid-19.

On January 20, 1922, 45 women met in the museum’s boardroom to officially form Friends of the Institute. On January 20, 2022, exactly one hundred years later, Friends plan to celebrate in a very special way. Look for your invitation to an in-person lecture and birthday luncheon to arrive in the mail. Dr. Eike Schmidt, Director of the Uffizi Galleries, will be the speaker. Current members will receive a beautiful complimentary coffee-table book Friends for 100 Years. Ticket sales open December 10. Don’t miss this festive event. 

I look forward to seeing you in person very soon. 

Centennial History Publication Column: Stepping Back in Time

Holiday Shopping on the Mind?

In 1956, Friends were asked to be in charge of ordering and sales of artwork reproductions primarily sold at the museum’s Sales and Information Desk. So, it was a natural transition to be asked by then Mia director Richard Davis, to run the museum’s gift shop. Friends agreed to take on this huge responsibility. Until the mid-1990s, Friends managed all hiring, staffing, accounting, selling, buying, and payroll duties for the museum shop. Profits were designated for Mia to cover costs of special projects. At the height of this time period, more than 60 Friends volunteers filled scheduled hours.

To maintain consistency in the duties and performance of volunteers, each volunteer received “The Museum Shop Volunteer Book of Knowledge.” As mentioned in the first page of the manual, “We are not a small shop run ‘for fun.’ We are a major contributor to the Acquisitions Fund of Mia. The Friends are extremely necessary to the well-being of the shop.”

The manual continues with general advice regarding restroom breaks, mentioning a volunteer never goes to the restroom or takes a break when there are 50 people in the shop. Also, volunteers are “never afraid of rain, sleet, snow, spiders, or dust!” In terms of expected attire: “We love to see you looking beautiful, but practicality must reign. Our new carpet is very nice to stand on, but comfortable shoes are a must. The climate of the shop varies quite a great deal. The best way to dress is in layers–you never know—sometimes we take off and sometimes adding on is a necessity.” Food is discouraged in the shop proper, and cigarettes may be enjoyed with the available coffee in the staff lounge. 

The manual continues to state that volunteers are not expected to know everything, but please ask if an answer is needed: “Never lie to a customer—they may know more than we think.” Never express negative comments to a potential buyer trying on jewelry. “We all have different tastes…keep comments in your head. And she who slammeth jewelry drawers, spendeth long hours straightening them!” And most importantly, we all know jewelry is lovely, but try them on while you are not working! And finally, keep those jewelry drawers locked: “We trust no one!”

One additional comment from the extensive volunteer manual recommends volunteers do not shop while on duty. “While you shop, so does the shoplifter. Thanks be to those who do not!”

Lastly, but perhaps most important, the volunteer manual stresses  “development and maintenance of a professional attitude in interactions with customers, staff members, and other museum shop employees. A positive outlook is contagious!”

Over the years, many treasures and gifts have been purchased in the museum’s gift shop to celebrate special occasions.  Now it’s time for Friends to commemorate and celebrate its own treasures on its 100th birthday that will take place on January 20, 2022. What better way to celebrate this milestone than attending the January lecture featuring Dr. Eike Schmidt, director of the Uffizi Galleries in Florence, followed by a ticketed luncheon filled with celebration. At this luncheon, each current Friends member will receive a complimentary copy of the Friends centennial publication, Friends of 100 Years, A Lasting Legacy.

 Centennial History Publication Committee

Pamela Friedland
Linda Goldenberg
Mary Merrick
Suzanne Payne
Connie Sommers

Delacroix Pledge Update

The Friends of the Institute, in celebration of their 100th anniversary, pledged a gift of $1,050,000 for the Eugene Delacroix’s Still Life in Dahlias, Hollyhocks and Plums (detail), c. 1835.

$1,050,000 goal will bring the Delacroix into full bloom! $747,613 raised to date!




$747,613 raised to date





As the Friends celebrate their legacy with this beautiful gift to Mia in their centennial year, the progress made towards fulfilling our commitment will be featured by bringing the painting into full bloom with generous gifts from you! Thanks to those who contributed $2,000 since last month!

Checks can be made out to “Friends of the Institute” and sent to the Friends office. Please indicate that your donation is for the Delacroix Fund. For gifts other than checks, please contact the Friends Office for assistance by calling 612-870-3045.
Our address is: Friends of the Institute, Minneapolis Institute of Art
2400 Third Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55404

December Friends Lecture

December 9, 2021 11:00 am



Ticket Price: Free

Rose B. Simpson

Rose Simpson’s work is powerful, earthy, with an independent voice.  Born in 1983, she comes from the Santa Clara Pueblo in New Mexico, famous for ceramics the women have produced since the 6th century, C.E.  She is a mixed-media artist, whose work includes ceramics, sculpture, metals, fashion, performances, music, installation, writing, and custom cars.

Rose still lives and works in the pueblo where she was born. It is the center of her world, the center of the earth, and where she finds inspiration.  Her life and her work goals are to find the tools to use to heal the damages she has experienced as a human being in our postmodern and post-colonial era objectification.  These tools are sculptural works of art that have a healing function that she hopes will become useful for everyone.

She is the daughter of Roxanne Swentzell, a renowned sculptor, and metal artist, and Patrick Simpson a wood, and metal sculptor.  Rose received an MFA in ceramics from the Rhode Island School of Design, an MFA in creative nonfiction from the Institute of American Indian Arts, and while an artist in residence at the Denver Art Museum, she acquired a certificate in auto body in the New Mexico College automotive science program.  With that knowledge she customized a lowrider car, painted it in the black on black style of Maria Martinez, another well known pueblo artist, named it “Maria,” and installed it at the entrance to the Hearts of our People exhibit at Mia a few years ago.

It can be said that Rose Simpson’s work is ultimately about the human condition.  She is forced to grapple with cultural insensibility, but sees the fight against the racial determination of her work as a privileged engagement.  Some of the decisions she makes are intentional to deconstruct stereotypes around culture and gender.

Rose B. Simpson is an exciting, creative, expressive, skilled, thoughtful person who uses her art to express her thoughts, ideas, and feelings about the issues that are important to her and, she hopes, to everyone.

We have the privilege of seeing, and hearing her virtually December 9 at 11 am via Zoom. Please join us.

Get Tickets

You’re Invited: Friends Appreciation Sale

Mark your calendars! To show our appreciation, the leadership of the Friends of the Institute are hosting a holiday sale exclusively for Friends members and Mia staff.

Stop by the museum on December 1 or 2 when merchandise from the 2019 and 2020 Art in Bloom shops will be sold at 50% off. Come and browse large and small home décor, kitchen items, garden tools, and women’s apparel and accessories. Note that 2019 merchandise has already been marked down to sell, and 2020 merchandise was never sold publicly.

December 1–2
10 am to 5 pm

Wells Fargo Community Room

Minneapolis Institute of Art
2400 3rd Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55404

More information on directions and parking here.

What you need to know:
Credit card purchases only.
All sales are final. No refunds or exchanges.
We are unable to hold merchandise.

We strongly encourage you to bring your own bags. Limited paper bags will be available. Wrapping stations will be available if you wish to wrap your purchases.

Please reach out to the Friends office at if you have additional questions. We hope to see you at the sale!

Friends Only Tour with Mia Guide Mary McMahon

December 1, 2021 11:00 am



Ticket Price: Free

Join us to “Journey into Blue” 

You’re invited to our December tour on Wednesday, December 1 at 11 AM on Zoom. This month, we welcome our speaker, Mary McMahon, from the Mia 2015 Docent class.

Mary will join us for the hour to present this month’s topic: “Journey into Blue.” Through an art history lens we will explore the color blue and its never-ending fascination for artists through the centuries.

Space is limited to 30 participants. RSVP by Monday, November 29 to or phone: 612-870-3045.

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

Join The Friends

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  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

December Friends Lecture

December 10, 2020 11:00 am



Ticket Price: Free

The December lecture features architect Sam Olbekson

In the Anishinaabe language, there is no word for “architecture” or even “art” because they believe that art, beauty, function are not separate concepts but interwoven into daily life. In other words, everything is related.

Sam Olbekson is Principal of Native American Design at the national architectural firm Cunningham Group and founder of Full Circle Indigenous Planning. He has spent more than 20 years working with Native American clients on culturally significant planning and design. Sam brings the perspective of a member of the White Earth Nation of Ojibwe who grew up in Native communities. The Anishinaabe are a culturally related indigenous people and the Ojibwe are a specific Anishinaabe nation.

As a youth with a strong interest in art and social issues, Olbekson’s Native American mentor encouraged him to consider architecture, believing it may be a way to contribute to Native culture and community building. An Ojibwe language teacher gave him the Ojibwe phrase to describe his profession that translates to, “I draw the houses, the ones that will be built, for my work.”

Olbekson often reconciles dualities. For example, he was the lead architect for the $110 million casino and hotel in the Cherokee River Valley that will have a lasting impression of the region on millions of visitors for years to come. A typical casino with Native looking symbols doesn’t honor anything so Olbekson tried to find form and aesthetics in deeper cultural places. He connected the mountain landscape and sense of place with the excitement a casino is meant to evoke, while honoring the Cherokee culture. His goal is to help Native communities in their economic development projects to ensure design and planning is done in a culturally appropriate way. 

Olbekson has worked on many economic growth and community building projects. Among them is the decade-long ongoing development of the American Indian Cultural Corridor that has transformed a decaying neighborhood into a safe and vibrant cultural destination with Native housing, stores, eateries and art galleries. Take Migizi Communications, a 40-year-old nonprofit organization that nurtures the development of Native American youth and is full of the energy, hope and spirit of the community’s future. Olbekson was a graduate of the program himself. The organization recently purchased and renovated a small building after a long capital campaign. Olbekson “was honored to design the space as a pro bono effort to say thank you for the personal impact they had on me as a youth.” 

Unfortunately, a fire destroyed the building that was located a block from the 3rd Precinct police station during the protests and ensuing destruction over George Floyd’s death. It was a sad and devastating loss, but the community is determined to rebuild. 

As they and other businesses in the Twin Cities rebuild, what should be on the forefront as architects and designers reimagine their communities? How can buildings and neighborhoods be designed to encourage equity, celebrate cultural identity, honor diversity while challenging divisive structural systems? Perhaps the word “placemaker” fits here. A placemaker works on the creation of quality public spaces that contribute to the health and well-being of the community. This architect sees his role as placemaker with a vision for an equitable and just future.

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