Friends Lectures Begin September 12 with “A Contemporary Hmong Aesthetic in Cloth”

September 12, 2019 11:00 am

Pillsbury Auditorium

Ticket Price: Free

The Friends of the Institute welcome artist and writer Geraldine Craig as she discusses overview and history of Hmong textile traditions at Mia.

Please join the Friends of the Institute in September for Geraldine Craig’s lecture: “A Contemporary Hmong Aesthetic in Cloth.”

This lecture will provide an overview and history of Hmong textile traditions, including the dramatic shift to narrative story-cloth production in Thai refugee camps after 1975. Craig will highlight the work of two contemporary Hmong artists: Laos-based artist Tcheu Xiong and the late Ia Yang. Despite diverse childhood experiences, their work similarly reflects the influence of ritual or Amish quilts, contrasting frameworks of tradition and modernity, innovation and empowerment—an aesthetic hybrid.

Geraldine Craig is an artist and writer whose research focuses on the intersections and relationships between textile history, theory/criticism, curatorial work, and studio practice. Her writing is formed by modes of knowing as a maker, with primary research interests in contemporary art/craft and Hmong textiles. Craig has exhibited her work and been artist in residence at many national and international locations. She is a professor of art and associate dean at Kansas State University.

Tickets are available for Friends members on July 15, and the general public on July 17. Reserve your ticket by following the link below or by calling 612.870.6323.

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Reservations open for September Luncheon

September 12, 2019 12:30 pm

Target Reception Hall

Ticket Price: $30

Join your Friends for lunch following the September lecture

Fall is coming and so is the first Friend’s luncheon. On September 12, following the lecture by Geraldine Craig, there will be a lovely meal of vegetarian butternut squash soup with crème fraiche, red butter lettuce salad with apple cider vinaigrette, toasted pumpkin seeds, pomegranates, and blue cheese, followed by a dessert of pumpkin spice cake with cream cheese mousse. This experience is $30, including tax and gratuities.

Please join us as we get caught up and welcome the fall season.

All reservations MUST be received by Thursday, September 5, 4PM. To reserve your spot online, follow the link below or call 612.870.6323.

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

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Join Friends September 13 for Book Club

September 13, 2019 10:00 am

Mia Library

Ticket Price: Free

Join your Friends who love books every month at the Friends Book Club and check out this season’s preview!

Friends members who love books are encouraged to come to a gathering of the Friends Book Club this year.  These intriguing book discussions are held September through April (except December) on the third Friday of the month and follow selections for Mia’s Inspired by Books monthly tours in the Mia Library. The program is a free benefit for Friends members. Reservations are recommended.

The first Friends Book Club meeting on Friday, September 13 at 10AM for Fall 2019 will focus on an exquisitely written book, An Odyssey, by Daniel Mendelsohn.  A one-hour book discussion led by docent Elizabeth Winga will be followed by a one-hour book-related tour of the galleries, custom-designed by one of Mia’s docents. Beverages will be provided courtesy of the Friends. 

Hearing the title An Odyssey no doubt conjures up school day memories of the Greek poet Homer. Reviewers have assured us that rereading the classic is not required to enjoy this memoir.  The focus is, instead, on a father and son relationship that highlights  experiences when the father decides to audit his professor son’s college course at Bard College. 

The Los Angeles Review of Books describes Mendelsohn’s book as “heartfelt, touching…a dazzling rich story of identity and recognition from an exacting critic and award-winning memoirist…”  As one might suspect, the author’s narrative comes to echo Homer’s epic poem, The Odyssey.

To make a reservation please call the Friends office at 612.870.3045 or send an email to  Space is limited to twenty Friends only, so reserve your spot today!

Mark your calendar for 2019 selections/dates that include: 

Friday, October 18 at 10AM
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward is a journey through Mississippi’s past and present revealing an epic tale of hope and struggle that examines the ugly truths at the heart of this American story.  

Friday, November 15 at 10AM
The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen connects to a special exhibition in the galleries as well as current issues of immigration.  

No meeting in December

2020 book selections will be announced at a later date.

For more information about this Friends Only Event please contact Elizabeth Winga,  Friends Book Club is one more reason for joining and supporting the Friends of Mia!

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

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Learn about Friends at Friends 101

October 10, 2019 10:00 am

Wells Fargo Community Room

Ticket Price: Free

Mark your calendars for Tuesday, October 15. Learn more about the Friends followed by  a private viewing of the newly refreshed Americas galleries.

Les Namingha (American), Overlay, 2014, ceramic, pigments. Bequest of Virginia Doneghy, by exchange, 2018.6.1

Would you like to know more about what the Friends do? Please join us for Friends 101, a conversation about the history, activities, and opportunities available through the Friends. Whether you’re new to the organization or have been around for a while, we’d love to see you there! 

This popular event is free. Stay until the end of the event for an exclusive opportunity to join Mia’s Associate Curator of Native American Art, Jill Ahlberg Yohe for a presentation in the newly refreshed Americas galleries.

To attend please call the Friends office at 612.870.3045 or email

Save the date for the Bell at Mia

November 7, 2019 5:30 pm

Target Reception Hall

Ticket Price: $75

 Creating a Landmark, Honoring a Legacy: Bell Museum and Mia has been rescheduled for November 2019

Courtesy of the Bell Museum and University of Minnesota.

Mark your calendar for this special event on November 7! After being snowed out last January, the Friends are happy to announce the rescheduling of the Bell at Mia. At this fundraiser for the Friends, learn about the exciting new Bell Museum, Minnesota’s official natural history museum and planetarium.

Meet Director Denise Young, award-winning architect David Dimond of Perkins + Will, and Trustee and philanthropist Ford Bell, whose family has been instrumental in supporting both the Bell and Mia.

Enjoy docent-led tours of Mia’s permanent collection that connect the two museums, including art donated by the Bell family, plus wine, beer and appetizers.

Reserve tickets at or 612.870.6323 after September 1. Held in Mia’s Reception Hall, third floor Target Wing.  Join us, bring a friend, support the Friends!

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Join your Friends on a Trip to Portugal in May 2020

Ticket Price: Free

See the best museums and architecture of Lisbon and Portugal with all your Friends!

May 11-18, 2020

Price: $3,210 (airfare not included)

Friends, their friends and families are invited to the 2020 Friends Art and Architecture Trip to Portugal. Yes! We are venturing to Europe and it will be a great trip.  Six nights and seven days of the best museums and architecture Lisbon and Porto,  Portugal will be featured.  

Friends will get to experience these destinations from a cultural and culinary perspective.  To learn more, click on  this link for more details and specifics for the trip. Committee chair Lucy Hicks (952.217.0330) and travel coordinator Vanessa Blaisdell (612.866.2503) are available for to answer questions, so feel free to contact either one.  

Join your Friends this May in Portugal.  It will be  a trip you won’t soon forget!

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Hearts of Our People Tour offered August 8 for Friends

August 8, 2019 10:00 am


General Mills Lobby

Ticket Price: $20; Tour: Free

This Friends Only tour of Hearts of Our People will have limited space, so sign up early!

Don’t miss the chance to tour Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists, presented by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, with Jill Ahlberg Yohe, Associate Curator of Native American Art at Mia.

This spectacular and meaningful exhibition of North American Native American women artists will be at Mia for a very limited time—from June 2 until August 18—before traveling to three other  museums. It has been featured in the New York Times, Vogue Magazine and other national publications.

Hearts of Our People has been in the works since November 2014, when an advisory board was formed from Native American women artists and Native-art scholars. This collaboration brought about a truly significant exhibition that  spans 115 artists and over 1,000 years. Co-curated by Jill Ahlberg Yohe and Teri Greeves, it is a first in highlighting only women artists, unquestionably recognized as the vital and creative source of art in the Native American communities of North America.

This Friends Only tour of Hearts of Our People is limited to 20 Friends members. It is free, but by reservation only; reserve your spot by contacting the Friends office at 612.870.3045 or Exhibition tickets are required and may be purchased online, by phone (612.870.6323), or at the Third Avenue desk.

Meeting in the lobby across from the Store at Mia, the tour will begin promptly at 10AM. We welcome you in the Friends Office after the tour for treats and conversation.

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

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MCAD Senior Show Visit

May 9, 2019 6:00 pm


MCAD Lobby, 2501 Stevens Avenue

Ticket Price: Free

Join us to check out the inspiring art from seniors at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and an informal gathering at Agra Culture Cafe (Mia’s main lobby). 

Join fellow Friends on May 9 at 6PM (feel free to bring other friends) for a fun evening. We’ll meet at Minneapolis College of Art & Design (MCAD)’s main building to take in all the talent of this year’s class. Then we’ll stroll over to Mia’s Agra Culture Cafe (first level) for refreshments.


May Lecture: “The Challenge of Building a National Museum”

May 16, 2019 11:00 am


Pillsbury Auditorium

Ticket Price: Free

Founding Director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture Lonnie Bunch to speak at May Friends lecture.

Lonnie Bunch, Mia
Photo courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution

Lonnie G. Bunch, III, Founding Director  of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture to Mia will be the featured speaker for the Friends May lecture on May 16 at 11AM.

Mr. Bunch’s talk will explore the history and struggle to create the National Museum of African American History and Culture—a process that included a variety of challenges including building on the Mall, conceptual frameworks, public expectations, and the contextual terrain of race.

Mr. Bunch will discuss the strategies used to successfully navigate these challenges, talk about the current status and future plans for the museum, and explore how it will ultimately help the Smithsonian transition from a 19th-century institution to a 21st-century enterprise.

Mr. Bunch served as the president of the Chicago Historical Society (2001-05) and held several positions at the Smithsonian, including associate director for curatorial affairs (1994-2000) and supervising curator (1989-1992) at the National Museum of American History. He is the author of the award-winning book, Call the Lost Dream Back: Essays on Race, History and Museums (2010), and has published several other books including Slave Culture: A Documentary Collection of the Slave Narratives (2014) and Memories of the Enslaved: Voices from the Slave Narratives (2015).

Since 2008, Bunch has served as the series co-editor of the “New Public Scholarship Edition” from the University of Michigan Press.  He has also served on the advisory boards of the American Association of Museums, the African American Association of Museums, the American Association of State and Local History, and the ICOM-US. Lonnie Bunch has received several awards and recognition including being appointed by President George W. Bush to the Commission for the Preservation of the White House in 2002 (reappointed by President Barack Obama in 2009). In 2005, Bunch was named one of the 100 most influential museum professionals in the 20th century by the American Association of Museums. In 2017, Bunch was given the President Award at the NAACP Image Award, presented with the Impact Leader Award from the Greater Washington Urban League, and was elected as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Tickets are going fast, so reserve your spot today!

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