December 2017

Who Are Our New Friends?

We have a new way to highlight our new Friends and to highlight our most recent generous gifts.
Every month we welcome new Friends to our lively group. This month is no exception!
If you look to the right at the top of this page, we are noting the generous gifts of our Friends as well as new Friends in our newsletter sidelines. These lists will be updated monthly.
We are so happy to include and celebrate these additions each month. We can’t be Friends without you!

The Power of Art tickets are now on sale

Last chance to join the Friends and guests in kicking off the holiday season by attending the fourth in the new and highly regarded series The Art of Power/The Power of History.
The special event, on Friday, December 8, at 5:30PM begins with wine and appetizers in the Reception Hall, Target Wing, followed by the tour of “Eyewitness Views: Making History in Eighteenth-Century Europe” and is followed by a talk by Professor Atkins. The Power of History will set the stage for Professor Atkins to intrigue guests with her provocative view of history from Mia’s Fort Snelling painting to Confederate statues.
We encourage you to be a Friend and bring a friend.
Tickets are now at a special price of $50. Register at or by calling 612.870.6323.

Catch an insiders glimpse into the life of a Curator this January

On January 11, Ghenete Zelleke will speak at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, as part of the Friends Lecture Series sponsored by the Friends of the Institute.
As Mia’s James Ford Bell Curator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture, and head of the department of Decorative Arts, Textiles, and Sculpture; Zelleke oversees a collection of well over 18,000 works of porcelain, glassware, textiles, furniture, sculpture, miscellaneous decorative art treasures, as well as the Purcell-Cutts House and Mia’s period rooms. Zelleke comes well prepared to curate this extensive collection with her recent experience as the curator of European decorative arts at the Art Institute of Chicago since 1998. Previous to working in Chicago, Zelleke received her MA in the History of European Decorative arts from the Cooper-Hewitt Museum/Parson School of Design and her BA in the History of Art from the University of Cambridge.

Ghenete Zelleke; James Ford Bell Curator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture
Ghenete Zelleke; James Ford Bell Curator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture and head of the department of Decorative Arts, Textiles, and Sculpture.

While at the Art Institute of Chicago, Zelleke curated “Eighteenth-Century French Vincennes-Sèvres Porcelain,” “Spiritual Expressions: Art for Private Contemplation and Public Celebration,” “Arts and Crafts in Vienna: Furniture Designed by Josef Hoffman,” and “Charles Rennie Mackintosh.”
Zelleke’s passion for these great time periods and artists fuels her interest in Mia’s vast collection. She has repeatedly said the Modernism collection is a great example of the community’s spirit in philanthropy and Mia is so fortunate to have all of these fine examples of such an important period of art. She exclaims it is so unusual to have a car like the Tatra T87 four-door sedan on exhibit and for all to enjoy. Zelleke comments that even though the car may to some seem so dominant and massive in a small gallery, its flowing and sleek lines wonderfully complement the French Art Deco pieces surrounding the car.
When asked if she could sit anywhere in the museum and have dinner with any historical guest she would like, Zelleke quickly responds she would love to dine beneath candlelight in the Grand Salon from the Hôtel de la Bouëxière with Madame de Pompadour, the official chief mistress to King Louis the XV.  She states this was a woman of exquisite taste and knowledge of the times. Perhaps she would have the table decorated with a dessert presentation surrounded by elegant 18th century Meissen porcelain pieces. Or perhaps, Zelleke exclaimed a meal with Nelson Mandela would be a dream come true, table similarly set.
Maybe Zelleke would end her meal in the Grand Salon by inviting her guest to view her favorite piece in the whole museum, the Yoruba Shrine Head, which Zelleke simply describes as “sublime.” It captures her soul every time she witnesses its majestic and noble presence.
Mia has provided Zelleke an opportunity to participate in one of her favorite pursuits, spontaneously conversing with museum visitors. Often she happens upon guests in the galleries, approaching them stating she works at the museum, and simply asks them what they are enjoying during their visit. She also loves to go into the Family Center engaging parents and children in conversation discovering the art they have witnessed.  As for future plans at Mia, Zelleke hopes to build on the strength of the elegant silver collection as well as 18th century lovely German and Italian porcelain pieces. Her love of worldly travel will aid in this pursuit no doubt, as she continues to explore and relish the beauty of each destination.
Free tickets are available for this lecture starting December 15 for Friends members through or 612.870.6323. Tickets are available December 17 for the general public. Overflow seating is available in the Wells Fargo Community Room.


You may already be a Friends member, but this is the perfect time to spread the word to your family, friends, and acquaintances. From December 1 – December 22, 2017, we are offering a 25% discount on a one-year Friends membership for NEW Friends.
Friends members enjoy many benefits including the Friends Lecture Series, Book Club, and many Friends Only activities.  Volunteer opportunities are available as well.  All Friends members are invited to volunteer at the Friends annual fundraiser, Art in Bloom, welcoming more than 50,000 visitors to Mia each spring.
Additionally, Friends membership helps support Mia’s educational programs, special projects, and exhibits, as well as the acquisition and conservation of art. Membership sponsors the ever-growing Transportation Fund which covers bus costs for many children from Twin Cities schools who visit Mia for educational tours.
Spread the word about our 25%  discount on a one-year Friends membership for NEW Friends! For more information or to purchase contact the Friends office at 612.870.3045.

Enjoy the holiday spirit with lecture and lunch

Ready for the Holidays? Or overwhelmed by all there is to do? Take a break with a friend at this month’s post-lecture luncheon!
Bring a friend and join us at the Friends December luncheon. The luncheon, which follows the December 14, 2017 Friends lecture features:

  • Balsamic-glazed short ribs, with roasted garlic potato puree,
  • Winter vegetable medley along with freshly baked breads and sweet butter,
  • Triple chocolate torte with layers of chocolate ganache and chocolate mousse, with a chocolate buttercream icing and
  • Dark roast coffee and hot tea

You may also request a vegetarian option when you reserve.
To RSVP for you and a friend, please call 612.870.6323 on or after November 15.  The luncheon cost is $30 inclusive of tax and gratuity.  All reservations must be received by 5PM, Monday, December 4, 2017.

A Yellow School Bus: The Perfect Gift

A recent thank-you card from a fourth-grade class whose school experience was enriched by the Buy a Bus program.
A recent thank-you card from a fourth-grade class whose school experience was enriched by the Buy a Bus program.

Barb Proeschel, Co-Chair of Art in Bloom 2018 and former Co-Chair of the Friends Transportation Committee, knows how to use her valuable time well. “Last year during the usual busy December,” she says, “I decided the best present for my hard-to-buy-for husband would be a bus from the Friends.  Steve liked showing off his little yellow bus to family at Christmas, telling them the bus would bring kids to Mia. A thank you note from one of the schools was a wonderful way to close the loop on his present and added to his enjoyment of the gift.”
The teacher writes, “Thank you so much for sharing the world of art with our fourth graders.  It was the first time experiencing a museum for many of them and they loved it. We look forward to getting more students excited about art.”
Consider buying a bus for someone you care about and share the love with 45 kids! It’s $175 (or $50 to buy the wheels on the bus). Contact the Friends office (612.870.3245) or Robin ( for more information.

Sign Up Soon: Art and Architecture Tour filling up fast

Art and Architecture Tour promises to be a Capitol Time!
Washington, DC here we come! The 2018 Arts and Architecture trip (open to all Friends members) goes to Washington, DC this June 6-10 and we want you to join us.  We have planned private Friends Only tours of some of Washington’s best knows museums and cultural venues as well as private tours of several hidden gems.
The trip promises dinners and receptions in settings you can’t get into on your own as well as a special event: Cori Wegener, a former assistant curator at Mia will host us at the Society of the Blue Shield, a division of the Smithsonian. Here she will tell us about many success stories saving national treasures in war torn areas around the world and show us around their conservation lab. We’ve even obtained tickets to the Phillips Collection After Hours to hear live jazz set among their collection!
We have planned exclusive and private events on each of the 5 days/4 nights while we are in Washington, D.C.  The focus is on the unique qualities and history of the city, and the center of our country’s government. Here is just a sample of the events planned:

  • A historical behind the scenes tour of the Willard InterContinental Hotel (every President since Abraham Lincoln has stayed there—oh, the stories these walls could tell!)
  • Private tours of the U.S. Capitol, Library of Congress, and the National Cathedral
  • Private tours of the Kreeger Museum and Gardens, the National Gallery of Art, The National Museum of African American History, and Hillwood Estate and Gardens
  • Exclusive talk, behind the scenes tour, and reception at the Society of the Blue Shield in conjunction with the Smithsonian.

Click on this Mia 2018 Brochure DC to answer your questions and register for the trip.  If you have any further questions, please call Vanessa Blaisdell at Carrousel Travel 612.866.2503.  Call soon as it promises to be a great trip and there are only a few rooms left.

In Time for the Holidays: AIB Dedications

Gift Giving 101: ART IN BLOOM dedications just in time for the holidays!
New this year: if you are interested in purchasing a dedication in honor, or memory of, a friend or family member to be posted on a  floral interpretation during Art in Bloom 2018, you will be able to do so in the very near future!
Dedications will be available for $150, $100, and $50. The more you are willing to contribute, the more direction you can provide to us about where you might like your dedication to appear in Mia’s galleries. Those who wish to contribute $150, will have the opportunity to select a specific piece if they wish, once the full selection of pieces is known in January. Also available at any level of giving, let us select the work for you: our pedestal floral artists never disappoint! We are excited to extend this important Art in Bloom fundraiser to those who may be less familiar with the artworks but very DEDICATED to supporting the Friends.
Let our AIB committee make the final selection of the work upon which your dedication will be displayed and you can give the person who “has everything” a lovely holiday gift with a fun surprise in April.
Please contact the Friends Office for more information or check back with the newsletter for updates in mid-December.

Friends Only Tour in January: "I Am Somali: Three Visual Artists from the Twin Cities"

Friends Members are invited for a special curator-led tour of Mia’s African Art including the special exhibition, “I Am Somali: Three Visual Artists from the Twin Cities”.
Friends members have the unique opportunity to learn more about African Art in Mia’s collection, and also for a guided tour of the special exhibit “I Am Somali: Three Visual Artists from the Twin Cities.”
Curator of African Art, Jan-Lodewijk Grootaers, will lead a tour on Wednesday, January 17, from 11AM to 12NOON. He will share insights about the African art galleries that were closed for a year and underwent a complete overhaul, reopening at the end of 2013. He will explain the underlying philosophy of the reinstallation while commenting on recent acquisitions there.
The tour will conclude with “I Am Somali: Three Visual Artists from the Twin Cities,” which is the first exhibition of contemporary, US-based Somali artists, in any major art museum. All three of the featured artists share stories of exile, memory, identity, pride, and resiliency.
This special curator-led tour for Friends members only is free. Call the Friends Office at 612.870.3045 to register. Participants will meet at the information desk in the General Mills Lobby.

Mark Your Calendars! Art in Bloom 2018 Announced

Get ready for our premiere Friends Celebration of Spring from April 26-29, 2018!
Though spring seems so very far away, we know you’ll want Art in Bloom 2018 to be on your calendars now!
Save the Date for the 35th annual Art in Bloom celebration, which runs from April 26 to April 29, 2018.
Start off with the Preview Party on the evening of April 25. It is sure to be extra special; we’ll be featuring a debut surprise! You won’t want to miss it.