President’s Letter

Dear Members,

January is membership month. On January 20, 1922, 45 women gathered in the museum’s boardroom to officially launch Friends of the Institute. Membership fees at that time were $2, which would be $30 in today’s dollars.

This month we begin to celebrate our centennial with engaging events scheduled throughout the year. We eagerly anticipate April, when flowers will return to the galleries for a spectacular Art in Bloom.

Through the gracious support of a loyal Friend, each member will receive a complimentary coffee-table book titled Friends for 100 Years: A Lasting Legacy.

Your $50 membership fee supports the Friends and our initiatives to support, enhance and sustain the collection, programs and influence of the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

Renewing is easy – just call 612-870-6323.

My very best,

Creating Memories

Creating Memories is the new name for the centennial-focused column, Stepping Back in Time.

Over five years ago, when this committee started planning for the Friends centennial celebration, 2022 seemed so far away.

And as so many know, time has a way of flying by. This year is the beginning of creating memories for the next 100 years of the Friends. Plenty of activities are planned for members throughout the year.

What everyone enjoys, and is everlasting, is a photo of Friends together. We all call ourselves photographers these days, so please take the time to capture moments when we are together at Friends events. Send your photos to Claire Goulson at friends@artsmia.org with pertinent information. We will look forward to sharing many of these photos in upcoming newsletter editions, but more importantly, to having a record going forth. Here is your opportunity to create memories and history. A huge thank you in advance!

Looking back at last month, we recall the beautiful display created by Friends member Chris Vickery. Visitors to the Friends office were greeted by the entrancing arrangement of the beloved Friends angels in needlepoint surrounding the 2015 Art in Bloom poster.

Twenty-five years ago, talented Friends members created 75 such stockings to commemorate the Friends 75th anniversary. Visitors to the holiday tree installed near Mia’s 24th Street entrance have been delighted to find these pieces proudly displayed in past years.



Also, in December the public had the opportunity to enjoy Mia’s artfully decorated lions flanking this same 24th Street entrance. These grand lions were a generous gift from former Friends president Ella Crosby (1960-62) dedicated to the memory of her husband, Tom, in honor of the Friends 75th anniversary in 1997. How wonderful to have the Friends Plants and Flowers committee involved in providing this holiday splendor for the community to enjoy.

April brings the exciting exhibition curated by Tom Rassieur, the John E. Andrus III Curator of Prints and Drawings. The exhibition will highlight past Art in Bloom images and the brilliant Eugene Delacroix painting, “Still Life with Dahlias, Zinnias, Hollyhocks, and Plums.”

Everyone knows Friends members love to be involved with the organization. With so many events on the calendar this year, volunteer opportunities are abundant. Please contact Claire Goulson at friends@artsmia or 612-870-3045 with your name and we will do our best to find a spot for you to show your talents. Being together, meeting new Friends is such an integral part of why you are a member of the Friends.

Stay warm, stay safe! We look forward to seeing you all at the Friends centennial celebrations!

Friends History Publication Committee

Pamela Friedland
Linda Goldenberg
Mary Merrick
Suzanne Payne
Connie Sommers



February Friends Lecture

February 10, 2022 11:00 am


Pillsbury Auditorium

Ticket Price: Free

Join us on February 10 at 11am when the Friends Lecture series welcomes Star Tribune theater critic Rohan Preston.

Please note: In accordance with the current City of Minneapolis mandate, Mia now requires all visitors ages 5 and older to show proof of full Covid-19 vaccination. Mia also requires all visitors to wear a mask.

A Life of Imagination: How an Immigrant Kid Found His Passion — and Freedom — in the Arts

Photo credit: Thomas John Wallace

Star Tribune theater critic Rohan Preston grew up with parents, both Jamaican immigrants, who were so fearful of 1970s and ‘80s New York, they forbade their children to just go “hang out.” Their fear was that their children would literally be eaten up by the concrete jungle. But the youngsters could go to the Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza, to various museums, and to live performances of music and theater, including Broadway. Preston overindulged, becoming a glutton for cultural knowledge and experience not just for aesthetic reasons but because paintings and books, music, opera and dance literally meant freedom, as his teenage mind perceived it. That experiential education gave him a foundation that he polished at Yale, where he studied English and critical theory, devising his own path to becoming both an appreciator and an arbiter of arts and culture.

Preston was born in Jamaica and grew up in Brooklyn, New York, where he attended an arts magnet high school. His fascination with the theater began in the 10th grade when he began writing plays and poetry. In college, in addition to his coursework, Preston wrote for a variety of student publications, which enabled him to develop a marketable skill. Following graduation, he and a friend moved to Chicago in the hope of launching careers as playwrights, but it was writing theater reviews that kept him afloat.  Freelance writing for the Chicago Tribune and as a stringer for The New York Times eventually led to full-time employment at the Tribune. He was recruited by the Minneapolis Star Tribune in 1998 to be the paper’s theater critic and has remained in the Twin Cities ever since.

Over his decades as a theater critic, Rohan Preston has interviewed a raft of luminary artists, including playwrights Arthur Miller, August Wilson, Edward Albee and Tony Kushner. He has the unique distinction of being an Emmy Award-winning critic, having led a Star Tribune team that won the coveted award for a documentary on the historic 2008 elections. Preston has twice served on the Pulitzer jury for drama. In addition to his journalistic pursuits, Preston continues to compose poetry, write plays and take photographs, and loves to till the soil at home with his wife, poet Angela Shannon, and, when they visit, their two adult daughters.

Get Tickets

Friends Only Tour

February 8, 2022 11:00 am



Ticket Price: Free

Friends Events welcomes you to join us February 8 at 11 AM via Zoom.

Former print dealer and Mia Guide Cara Richardson will present highlights from Mia’s collection of late modern and contemporary prints while exploring various printmaking techniques. We will look at contemporary print artists that are perhaps less well known, including a number of Black American print artists in honor of Black History month. We will discuss how and why it is important to create, build, and broaden your own print collection.

Please RSVP by February 5 to friends@artsmia.org or call the Friends office at 612-870-3245.

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

Join The Friends

Friends Book Club

February 18, 2022 10:00 am



Ticket Price: Free

Friends Book Club
Friday, February 18, 2022
10 AM on Zoom

Mark your calendar for Friday, February 18 at 10 am for a guided art tour and a lively discussion at Friends Book Club, all on Zoom.

February is Valentine month. Come get your dose of romance with this month’s book selection of The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. Two unlikely people meet; neither fit each other’s expectations for a partner. And guess what: They fall in love, but will their relationship work out in the end?

Let’s have fun with the madcap adventures of the two infatuated characters and view the story enhanced by Mia’s fabulous works of art.

Please sign up with Claire Goulson at friends@artsmia.org or 612-870-3045.

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

Join The Friends

How You Can Help Support Art in Bloom!

Do you have connections to local professionals or businesses that might be interested in supporting Art in Bloom as a sponsor? Art in Bloom sponsors enjoy prominent visibility in front of a desirable audience, prime opportunities for brand and/or product placement, broad marketing and social media reach, VIP museum access, association with a beloved community tradition, and recognition as a supporter of arts and culture in our community. If you have prospects or ideas for partners that might be a good fit for Art in Bloom, Mia’s Advancement team would be happy to chat with you and explore next steps. Reach out to Claire Goulson in the Friends Office for more information.

President’s Letter

Dear Friends, 

A few months into my docent training at Mia, I was assigned a piece to present to my classmates.  On a Sunday afternoon with the promise of a cookie in the café, my five-year-old grandson Patric cheerfully accompanied me to help me practice my presentation. I had him sit on the floor in Gallery 311 in front of Salomon van Ruysdael’s 1656 River Landscape with a Ferry and asked him to tell me what he saw in this painting. To my surprise, he first noticed a buoy instead of the cows in the boat and the horses on the banks. As a docent of twenty years, I have always been amazed at children’s first impressions and insightful comments.

It has always been a delight for the guides and staff to see the gleeful groups of school children get off their busses and pour into the museum for their hour-long guided tours. 

With an endowment from Roberta Mann Benson twenty-five years ago, the Friends organization was able to help fund busses to bring children to Mia. Since then, the Friends Transportation Fund and additional fundraising have grown to provide busses for over 8,000 students a year.

During the pandemic when the museum closed and canceled all events and guided tours, Mia’s staff adapted, and in addition to its many programs, now offers virtual school tours to students, first through eighth grade. Many children have already participated in these tours and demand is increasing. Friends also adapted, and with the help of museum staff, now presents the lecture series and Friends Only programs online. Art in Bloom 2021 is going virtual, too!

Nonetheless, everyone looks forward to the day when in-person school visits can resume, and the Friends Transportation Fund is ready to provide support when that happens. Nothing compares to standing or sitting in the galleries and seeing the real thing. Students will learn from the guides and guides will learn from the students about the wonders of art as they look together at Mia’s collection.

Maria’s kids at Mia’s “Power and Beauty in China’s Last Dynasty” exhibition. From left: daughter Susan, grandchildren Macy, Mia, and Patric.

The February lecture features Whitney curator Marcela Guerrero

February 21, 2021 11:00 am



Ticket Price: Free

“Latinx Art: An American Artistic Force”

Marcela Guerrero

Join us as we welcome Marcela Guerrero, Assistant Curator at the Whitney Museum in New York, as she presents Latinx Art: An American Artistic Force. Dr. Guerrero was born and raised in Puerto Rico. She received her BA from the University of Puerto Rico and holds a Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Her passion for major movements in Latin American art, including the muralists and artists such as “Los Tres Grandes,” Diego Rivera, Alfaro Siqueiros, and José Clemente Orozco led her to help organize the exhibition: Vida Americana: Mexican Muralists Remake American Art, 1925-1945, now on display at the Whitney Museum. 

The exhibition, demonstrating the cross-cultural exchange that came to influence artists of the period, including Thomas Hart Benton, Philip Guston, and Jackson Pollock, makes a case for the idea of a pan-American art (bridging North and South American cultures). 

Guerrero also worked previously as a Curatorial Fellow at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, where she assisted in a ground-breaking 2017 exhibition called Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960-1985. highlighting Latin American and Latinx art in Los Angeles and elsewhere in Southern California. 

With an awareness of systemic inequalities, Guerrero has stated, “It is not so much a mark that I would like to leave in the art world.  I would be happy to just push the art world, at least in the U.S., to be more of a reflection of the people who are right outside the steps of our institutions.” 

Like the rest of us, Dr. Guerrero is not traveling in this time of pandemic.  But what a wonderful opportunity we have to get a taste of the remarkable Latin American art she brings to us virtually on February 11th.  You won’t want to miss it.

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

Get Tickets

February Friends only tour features recent Mia acquisitions 

Explore the less savory aspects of 17th century Rome with Mia’s Associate Curator of Prints and Drawings

Wednesday, February 17 11AM

Rachel McGarry

 We’re delighted to announce that Rachel McGarry, Mia’s Associate Curator of Prints and Drawings, will present a virtual talk on three recent acquisitions of Italian baroque paintings from the celebrated Barberini collection, which illuminate some of the less savory aspects of 17th century Rome.  

A Minnesota native, Rachel came to Mia in 2006. She studied at Colgate University and earned a MA and Ph.D. from NYU. She worked as an exhibition assistant and a research assistant at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and has taught art history at Stony Brook University and the University of Minnesota. In 2014 she completed a catalog of Mia’s drawing collection as a companion to a related exhibition, Master Drawings from the Minneapolis Institute of Art, that has toured the United States.

Rachel is a knowledgeable and engaged lecturer, so make your reservation soon by emailing friends@artsmia.org

The February Friends Book Club features the plague

February 19, 2021 10:00 am



Ticket Price: Free

Year of Wonders is the February pick

The February book choice is the timely Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague by Geraldine Brooks. To encourage such a book at this time of COVID 19, Oprah said, “Year of Wonders is a vividly imagined and strangely consoling tale of hope in the time of despair.”

According to howlongtoread.com, this will take you just five hours, 12 minutes to complete! 

If you haven’t joined the Book Club, please consider doing so. Not only do we discuss the chosen book, but we also enjoy a Docent-led guide through the Mia artwork, which resonates with the books’ themes. To join, email friends@artsmia.org to reserve your spot. The discussions are conducted on Zoom and are limited to 18. 


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

Join The Friends