December 2016

Letter from the President

December Greetings!
Connie SommersA very, merry December!  Before we get totally caught up in the hustling and bustling of the season I want to pause and wish each and every one of you a happy, healthy holiday.  ‘Tis the season to gather and be merry but also a perfect time to reflect on our blessings and, for me, many of those things involve the Friends of the Institute.

As President of the Friends I am continually amazed and inspired by the efforts of so many wonderful volunteers, Friends members, working tirelessly to make our mission a reality.  We are a unique organization made up of intelligent, unique individuals.  This past year, Friends rose to twenty-first century demands while taking direction from ninety-four years of traditions.  A challenge we met, the Friends usual way, with panache and elan.  And don’t forget the light-hearted comradery we share while pursuing our accomplishments.  How lucky I am to be a part of this amazing organization we call “Friends.”
Warm Wishes!
Connie Sommers

December Lecture, Kevin Kallaugher (KAL) with Christiane Andersson: “Critical Cartoons: The Reformation and Today”

Thursday, December 8, 2016 Pillsbury Auditorium 11AM

Christiane Andersson
Christiane Andersson

Join the conversation between Kevin Kallaugher, KAL, political cartoonist for The Baltimore Sun as well as The Economist, and Christiane Andersson, Professor of Renaissance and Baroque art history at Bucknell University. Andersson’s publications have centered on such diverse themes as censorship of art and images of women.

Kevin Kallaugher (KAL)
Kevin Kallaugher (KAL)

A limited number of Pillsbury Auditorium tickets for this lecture are still available. To reserve a ticket follow this link or call 612.870.6323. Those without tickets are invited to view a live HD video stream of the lecture while enjoying coffee and treats in the Wells Fargo Community Room.
The Mark and Mary Goff Fiterman Lectures are presented by the Friends of the Institute and Mia.


January 12, 2017 Pillsbury Auditorium 11AM

Tim Gunn
Tim Gunn, photo by Scott McDermott

Those who knew Tim Gunn as a child would not have predicted he would become  the American fashion legend, author, and TV personality he is today. Growing up in Washington, DC with a father who worked as an FBI agent and a mother who helped found the CIA library, Gunn was a shy child with often debilitating social anxiety. Sensing a love of the arts, he enrolled in Washington’s Corcoran College of Arts and received a bachelors’ degree in fine arts. Soon afterwards, he accepted a job at Corcoran College teaching design. Several years later that experience led him to a position at Parson School for Design in NYC as Assistant Director of Admissions. There he stayed until 2007, eventually achieving an assistant dean position.
While Assistant Dean Gunn was catapulting Parsons’ fashion department into an extraordinary and well-respected department, reality television approached him to join the team of Project Runway during its first season in 2004. Receiving a primetime Emmy Award in 2013 for the television program proves Gunn’s affinity for mentoring young people with his frank criticisms delivered in a kindly manner. His tag phrases such as “Make it work” and “Carry on” touch a large audience in a positive way.
Sunday routine for Gunn includes a trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, to which he always wears a suit, because, “when looking at incredible works of art, you can’t stand there in shorts and flip flops… It’s a sacred place for me, with all this incredible history and gorgeous work. I want to present myself properly. I just feel it’s an honor and a tribute to the work.”
Recently, Gunn has begun to learn the fine art of fencing, loving the mental and physical challenge of the sport. When he retreats to the Met, the arms and armor galleries beckon him. Surely Gunn lives by his own advice when he says, “Be insatiably curious about everything…you can add an entire new dimension to your life.”
Reserve your ticket, starting December 15 for Friends Members, at 612.870.6323 or  Tickets will be available to the public on December 17thTicketing information is available at
Additional overflow seating will be provided this month in the Target Reception Hall. Overflow seating is filled on a first come/first serve basis.  No ticket is needed for overflow.
The Mark and Mary Goff Fiterman Lectures are presented by the Friends of the Institute and Mia.


Please join us for a Friends Only pre-lecture tour complementing Tim Gunn’s January 12 lecture, “Gunn’s Golden Rules: Life’s Little Lessons for Making It Work.” Tours begin promptly at 10AM, so please arrive early at the Mia meeting place in the Third Avenue Lobby under the Chihuly Sunburst. Seats will be reserved in the auditorium for tour attendees.
To reserve a place on this tour:
• Call 612.870.6323
• Request your lecture ticket and request a ticket for the tour.
Each member may reserve a place on the tour for the number of individuals listed on their account. Tour reservations, which are limited in number, are filled on a first come/first served basis. If you have reserved a place on the tour, it will be reflected on your lecture ticket.


At all Friends monthly lectures during the 2016–2017 season, guests will enjoy coffee and treats provided through funds donated by the Rochester Friends. Both the Regis Fountain Court and lecture overflow room will enjoy this gracious benefit!
Please thank them for this welcome gesture of hospitality.

Join us on an Art & Architectural trip to Seattle…Don’t delay, book TODAY!

Seattle skyline
Seattle skyline

The Annual Friends Art & Architecture trip will take place June 19-June 22, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. We’ll enjoy Bainbridge Island (by ferry, of course), as well as tours of the FRYE Art Museum, 5th Avenue Historic Theater and Chihuly Gardens & Glass. Attendees will be staying at the centrally located Sheraton Hotel, downtown.
Reservations are being taken now to enjoy this fabulous four-day trip. Please contact Christine Miller, Acendas Travel Agent, at 952.831.3525 ext. 7740.
Come saunter your way through the Seattle area with other Friends members, or explore on your own! For more details on this exciting opportunity, please contact the A & A Chair, Carrie Kilberg at Brochures are available in the Friends Office.


Join us on Friday, January 13 to explore Beryl Markham’s memoir West with the Night. Our 10:30AM docent-led book tour is followed by discussion and light treats from 11:30AM-12:30PM. We meet in the Curtis L. Carlson Family Foundation Studio (114). Please call the Friends Office, 612.870.3045, to register. We have spots for up to 25 members.
Looking ahead…
February 17th: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
March 17th: My Antonia by Willa Cather
April 14th: Geography of Genius: Lessons from the World’s Most Creative Places  by Eric Weiner

Double the Friends, Double the Fun!

November and December are Friends membership BOGO months! If you choose to renew your Friends membership any time during these two months, you can add a friend or family member for FREE. What a great way to show appreciation, celebrate a birthday, or stuff a stocking!
If it’s not time for your annual renewal, no worries! Your next succeeding membership renewal date will be extended one year from its current renewal date.
This exceptional offer will be processed BY PHONE ONLY! Please contact 612.870.6323 (Mia’s central ticketing line) or 612.870.3045 (Friends office) Monday-Friday between 9AM and 4:30PM. Be sure to mention this BOGO offer and the name of the individual to whom the free membership is being given. Additionally, please have your friend or family member follow up with the Friends office (612.870.3045) at the time they receive your gift to ensure the Friends have all of the vital information on the new member.


Finding the perfect holiday gift is sometimes challenging, turning an opportunity to be caring and generous into a chore. This year the Friends has the perfect gift-giving solution for you!
Do your parents, spouse or kids already have everything? They don’t have this!
Do you want something really big? This is it!
Do you want something small? This can hold about 72 little ones!
Do you want something warm? We’ve got it!
Do you want something totally cool? This is totally cool!
Curiosity piqued? The perfect gift this year is a school bus to Mia! For $175 you can sponsor a bus to bring school kids to our museum. For $50 you can put wheels on the bus!
Building ViewsThe Friends Transportation Fund, along with the proceeds from the 2015 Art in Bloom Fund A Need, will bring more than 2,500 school children to Mia this year — many of whom have never been to a museum. These little ones will ride that really big, warm bus for a totally cool time with our amazing museum guides.
If you’re interested in this one-of-a-kind gift-giving opportunity please contact Robin at 612.418.8138 or One hundred percent of your gift will fund a bus and is tax deductible.

Art in Bloom Honorary Chair Is Announced

Art in Bloom co-chairs Teresa Pfister and Kris King are delighted to introduce their Honorary Chair for Art in Bloom 2017, Mary Agnes McQuinn.

Annual MIA Member Party Soirée au MIA; for the exhibition "The Louvre and the Masterpiece"; October 17, 2009
Annual Gala in celebration of “The Louvre and the Masterpiece”; October 17, 2009

Mary Agnes’s commitment to the Friends, to Mia, to philanthropy, and to our community makes her the perfect fit for this exciting and important position.
After her husband, Al, finished his military service in 1958, their family moved to Minnesota. After all these years, Mary Agnes still finds Minneapolis wonderful and stresses that moving here was by choice. She and Al are pleased their children and families have all chosen to live here as well.
Amidst the busyness of raising four children, Mary Agnes joined Mia and made time to volunteer as a substitute at the information desk. “It was a very busy place,” she remembers, “and I liked knowing what was going on.” Mary Agnes was a member of the Decorative Arts Council for years. After Al sold his business they began to be involved philanthropically, especially in the Silver Gallery. The McQuinns enjoy being engaged at Mia and with the Friends; Mary Agnes says she is humbled that she is able to help.
“Art in Bloom has grown and done nothing but get better over the years,” she comments. She enjoyed volunteering and being involved with this important event. Daughter Susan Arndt, a member of the Art in Bloom Committee as well as the current docent class, collaborated with her dad to surprise Mary Agnes with her honor. “I was shocked! Floored! I just went for drinks at my old friend Teresa Pfister’s home, not knowing that my daughter got in cahoots with Al,” said Mary Agnes.
Mary Agnes and Al have always been gardeners, so her delight in Art in Bloom is no surprise. They grew a big vegetable garden and lots of flowers and enjoyed giving garden tours for various organizations. “We loved just getting outside,” she laughs, “and the garage and basement just fell apart till winter!”
Asked what she is most looking forward to at Art in Bloom, Mary Agnes smilingly said, “the whole beautiful thing – flowers, friends, people I haven’t seen in a long time. Art in Bloom is one of the most delightful parties to raise money for kids to get to Mia and I love being part of this.”
Please join Teresa and Kris in welcoming Mary Agnes McQuinn as Honorary Chair of Art in Bloom 2017.