December 2020

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.

Book Club Update

Friends 2021 Book Club Begins a New Season.

The Friends Book Club has wrapped up for the 2020 year. There is no December meeting.  

The January 2021 Friends Book Club will feature The Housekeeper and the Professorby Yoko Ogawa. 

This is an enchanting story about what it means to live in the present and the curious equations that can create a family. 

The Friends Book Club hopes you enjoy the holidays with a warm fire and a lovely book.

Email to reserve your spot.


Docent Confidential: Sheila-Marie Untiedt

A new column featuring insider notes from Mia Guides. This month we hear from docent Sheila-Marie Untiedt

Mia has so many great portraits and I try and include at least a few when I plan a tour. They spark the most engaging conversations and memorable experiences, perhaps because people see the faces through their own personal filters. Here are two of my favorites: 

Santos Dumont – The Father of Aviation II, 2009, Kehinde Wiley

Santos Dumont – The Father of Aviation II, 2009, Kehinde Wiley,  GIFT OF FUNDS FROM TWO ANONYMOUS DONORS

Kehinde Wiley is best known for his large-scale portraits of black men depicted in poses that cast them as kings, prophets, and saints in the tradition of “old master” canvases, reminiscent especially of Renaissance and Baroque painting. Wiley’s paintings transpose black bodies into the context of traditional European portraiture, challenging the racial marginalization of art history and questioning issues related to identity and self on a global scale. By depicting these black men as the pioneers of Brazilian aviation, Wiley instills his anonymous subjects with a powerful and heroic identity, essentially immortalizing them in oil paint. You may also know of Kehinde Wiley as the artist selected to paint President Obama’s official portrait.

Portrait of Sarah Allen, 1763, John Singleton  Copley

Portrait of Sarah Allen, née Sargent, c. 1763, John Singleton Copley, THE WILLIAM HOOD DUNWOODY FUND

Nathaniel Allen was a member of the new wealthy class in the mercantile and shipping business in Boston, and his wife, Sarah, was 34 at the time this work was painted. When commissioning portraits, successful American colonists wished to be portrayed in the manner of European aristocrats. Copley was largely self-taught, he was the first full-time painter in the colonies. With no attempt at idealization, Mrs. Allen is presented as a masculine-looking woman, appearing sturdy and confident as she daintily pulls on her glove. She appears to have a beard which has appeared over time as the primer base used by Copley has interacted with the pigments and oxygen. During her husband’s last moments, his clergyman was smoothing his path to the other world by asking him if he was not afraid to meet the King of Terrors—”No,” he whispered, “I have lived too long with the Queen.” 


Meet a Friend: Connie Sommers

Connie Sommers has been an active volunteer at Mia for over 20 years—as a Friends member and, more recently,  an Art Adventure Guide.  This month we get to know this mother (to an adult daughter and three-year-old rescue pup), a little better.

Connie Summers

Tell us a little about yourself.  

I have a lovely daughter, Whitney, and a terrific son-in-law, John, and a Cuban Havanese puppy, Oscar.  I’m a former elementary education teacher and taught in both the US and Canada. I also taught English as a Second Language (ESL) for a bit. My last teaching job was with the No Child Left Behind program in South Mpls. A corporate move brought our family to the Minneapolis area in 1994, and we never left this beautiful city.  I became a volunteer because we moved so frequently and it’s been a great way for me to meet people, make friends, and feel an attachment to a new community. The Friends have really anchored me to the Twin Cities.

How long have you been a Friend?  

Since the late 90’s when friends brought me to the museum. My first volunteer job for the Friends was working in the little room in the Friends office taking reservations for Art in Bloom with Carol Burton and Jane Johnson. My first Board position was working with Pauline Altermatt as Hospitality Chairs.  

What’s the most memorable Friends Lecture or event you’ve attended? 

There have been so many! The first event and my first visit to Mia was in 1997—the Chihuly Exhibition. It was magical.  One of the memorable lectures I attended was the Lonnie Bunch Lecture. He was so genuine and interesting.

Do you have a favorite artwork? 

My sentimental favorite, because of my first visit, has to be the Chihuly Sunburst, located in the third street lobby. 

Finish the sentence: I love being a Friend…

because of my Friends friends! 

What do you wish everyone knew about Mia? 

Mia fills your soul.  The art, the beauty, the knowledge, the staff, and the volunteers, all are wonderful.   

How are you adjusting to our current circumstances?

It’s a challenge, but taking it day by day.

Oscar is a cutie. How did you pick his name? 

His eyebrows reminded us of Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street. It’s not his personality.

Save the date for January lecture

January 14, 2021 11:00 am



Ticket Price: Free

Kick-Off the New Year with a Friends Lecture! 

Dr. Katherine Luber, Executive Director of Mia, will present “Beyond Durer: Becoming a Museum Director,” introducing attendees to Albrecht Dürer, the artist who was the subject of her dissertation.  Tickets are available to Friends members on December 15, and to the general public on December 17. Reserve online, or by calling 612-870-3000. 

Gift Ideas

Thoughtful gift ideas from the Mia shop with easy, contactless pickup or shipping. Friends get a 10% discount. 

Editors picks: A cookbook that reads like an essay collection and a Mexican artist’s stunning mural in puzzle form.

Heirloom Kitchen: Heritage Recipes and Family Stories, $29.99, Member price $26.99

Heirloom Kitchen is a stunning book that delves deeply into the rich cooking traditions of immigrant women and the immense legacy they have left on the American palate and food customs. The cooking of immigrants is the foundation of American food culture.”

– Jacques Pépin

Rivera: “Detroit Industry” 1000 Pc Jigsaw Puzzle, $22.00, Member price $19.80

One of Diego Rivera’s champions was Edsel Ford, the president of the Ford Motor Company. The vast Ford factory on the Rouge River, where Rivera spent days sketching, inspired murals he painted in Detroit.


Jackie’s picks (Mia Shop Manager and former Friends Administrator): Artwork inspired socks and rooftop honey!

Women’s Mia Sock Collection $50.00, Member price $45.00


These colorful cotton socks inspired by Mia’s collection are the perfect fit! 10 out of 10 stars on the fuzzy-wuzzy level!

Mia Rooftop Gold Honey 2020 12oz, 
$16.00, Member price $14.40


Mia Rooftop Gold Honey is not only a great pick for eating—perfect for local allergy sufferers—but I love it for gift giving. 10 out of 10 stars!