You won’t want to miss the photography exhibit that opened on January 4. “Just Kids” shows us two hundred photographs, many from Mia’s bountiful collection that are of, by, or for children. Visitors see the exhibit through the eyes of children who were invited to give their ideas, write about some of the works, and help shape the exhibition.
Guides at Mia get to hear children’s unique interpretation of art on their tours. One docent recalled her group of fifth-graders looking at A Fishing Party Off Long Island, who commented how “unsafe these guys are because they’re not wearing life jackets and are standing up in small rowboats.” It would not have occurred to many adults to make this observation about Junius Brutus Stearns’ nineteenth-century painting.
It is a gift for us to learn how children see the world, sometimes so different from what adults see. It’s a gift for them to make a connection with the art, with the museum and with their powers of observation and interpretation.
In its ninety-year history, Friends has brought children to Mia in its mission to support, enhance, and sustain the collection, programs, and influence of Mia. Two funds have made a significant impact on this initiative:
The Friends Transportation Fund began in 1996 with an endowment from Roberta Mann Benson. Since then, the fund has grown to provide busses for about 8,000 school children to come to Mia for guided tours each year.
The Friends Children’s Fund was a gift from Glenda Struthers in 2007. This initiative provided an opportunity for every second and third-grade student in the Minneapolis Public School System, over 5,000 children, to visit the museum for Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) tours designed to enhance critical thinking in all areas of learning.
We’re grateful for these gifts and want to build on them, so this year our primary fundraiser, Art in Bloom, is making the Transportation Fund its centerpiece. We hope to boost funding for school busses to bring even more children to Mia in the future—building tomorrow’s museum-goers and supporters. What could be more important?
President, Friends of the Institute