Letter from the President

President’s Letter

Dear Friends,

The Butterfly Catchers, 1900 Theodore Wendel, American Not on view.

As the first year of my presidency comes to a close I find myself musing about the events of the past twelve months. I have had a wonderful time serving as your president. Please know that it was you who made the journey successful and enjoyable for me.

The year started quietly with Mia closed to visitors, most of the staff working from home, and no one serving as operations coordinator. I had plenty of time to look at the files left by past presidents. Their records are invaluable and I am certainly the beneficiary of their hard work. In September Claire Goulson started as Friends operations coordinator. We are so fortunate as she brings intelligence, skill and warmth to the office.

Although it was quiet in the office, many committees were hard at work. Pam Friedland and Mary Merrick, chairs of the centennial committee, were scrambling to get the Friends history book to the publisher. Kris Bjorklund and Sheila Folkestad, chairs of AIB, were meeting with Mia staff to bring back a manageable, in-person event. Susan Arndt and Tammy Meyer, chairs of the lecture committee, were promoting and making arrangements for Dessa, the first Fiterman speaker. Sharon Secor and Allison Greene, chairs of the membership committee, were working on a plan to retain and convert our complimentary memberships into paying memberships. And Chris Vickery and Julie Scroggins, chairs of plants and flowers, were reimagining the holiday decorations focusing on inclusivity.

Other committees with critical missions worked quietly. Liz Short, chair of the vision and values special committee, very ably guided her committee through an examination of our mission statement, key messages and IDEAB goals. Maria Eggemeyer, chair of the nominating committee, held monthly meetings at her dining room table as her committee filled out the new slate of officers and board members. Kimmie Kemberling planned nine engaging Friends Only events. Lisa Mayotte restarted in-person book club meetings. Barb Mikelson, with support from the Rochester Friends, brought coffee and treats back to the Fountain Court for pre-lecture socializing. Tippy Madden and Kris Berggren made sure the newsletter was edited and emailed each month. Kristen McDougall planned an Art and Architecture outing with details found in this newsletter. Sue Stillman marshaled volunteers for ushering and other tasks. Jeanne Scheiderer, historian, preserved important documents for future reference. JeanMarie Burtness and Therese Blaine, co-chairs of transportation, braced themselves for a huge demand in reimbursements coming in this next fiscal year. Our affiliate liaisons, Pat Gale and Jim Rovner, supported our highly valued Rochester Friends and St. Cloud Friends, led by Alison Goode and Mary Jane McHardy, and Amanda Falloon.

The advisors to the board, Barbara Proeschel, Boyd Ratchye, Linda Goldenberg, and Katie Remole were always available to provide guidance. I unhesitatingly relied on the executive committee for their thoughtful opinions, discussions and advice. This highly accomplished group includes Barb Champ, Melanie Nelson, Carol Stoddart, Renee Kessler and Beverly Hauschild-Baron.

I look forward to next year and the opportunities it will bring. I welcome your thoughts, your ideas, and your continued support. Please know you can contact me in the Friends office at 612-870-3045 or by email at jholland@artsmia.org

Have a great summer!





President’s Letter

Spring Rising – Cree Woman’s Hood (close up)
Chholing Taha G259

Dear Members,

ART IN BLOOM IS HERE! 144 floral arrangements will be on display April 28 through May 1. Consider attending the Thursday morning lecture, the Saturday afternoon floral demonstration, and Family Day on Sunday.

Thank you to all members who attended the Patrick Noon lecture and the centennial luncheon on April 14. It was truly a joyous occasion. Opportunities to celebrate our 100th birthday are still coming your way. Are you interested in local history? The centennial committee has planned events with our neighbors at the Hennepin History Museum for June.

May 9, at 11:00 a.m. the Friends lecture series presents Anna Jackson, Keeper of the Asia Department, Victoria & Albert Museum, London. Starting at 10:00 a.m. coffee and treats will be served in the Fountain Court courtesy of the Rochester Friends. Please join me at 10:45, just prior to the lecture, for the Friends annual meeting in the Pillsbury Auditorium.

Don’t forget about your opportunity as a Friends member to participate in Friends Only tours and book club.

All event details and ticketing links are found in the Newsletter.

I am not alone in feeling giddy about spring, flowers and the privilege of gathering in person with cherished Friends at Mia. Don’t miss the fun.

Warmest regards,


President’s Letter

Dear Members,

1820, Porcelain, enamel and gilt
Bequest of Alfred Duane Pell 25.417.91a.b.

Astronomical spring arrived in the northern hemisphere on Sunday, March 20, at 10:33 a.m. CST, known as the vernal equinox. With spring come flowers. Expressions of flowers in art are found throughout Mia. One of my favorites, pictured at right and found in G333, is an exquisite porcelain cup covered with violets.

Spring and flowers also bring Art in Bloom. I invite you to join me in greeting spring at Mia during our 38th annual celebration of Art in Bloom, April 28 through May 1. Don’t miss this opportunity to view stunning, sometimes surprising, floral displays made by community participants.

Additionally, special events have been planned throughout Art in Bloom. Tickets are available for the preview party, lecture, floral demonstration and public tours. Tickets are not needed for Family Day on May 1. The AIB schedule and ticketing details are found in this Newsletter.

This year Friends are also celebrating 100 years of volunteering, learning, supporting Mia, and making cherished friendships. We look forward to seeing many of you at our celebratory luncheon on April 14. 

In 2022 we have many reasons to embrace spring and celebrate the beauty of art and flowers. Mia’s doors are open, you are heartily welcome, and I look forward to seeing you.

Warmest regards,




Letter from the President

Dear Members,

The image below, titled ABear” Chance, was painted by the illustrator Phillip Goodwin in 1907. It was commissioned by the Cream of Wheat Company to be used in their hot cereal advertisements.

A “Bear” Chance, 1907, Philip R. Goodwin, oil on canvas, Gift of the National Biscuit Company, 70.64.

Mia acquired the painting in 1970 as a gift from the National Biscuit Company, also known as Nabisco. It is currently on view in gallery 320.

During this cold and bleak winter I have been feeling very much like this bear. I am truly relieved when I get out of my overheated house and into the perfectly controlled climate at Mia. As a member of Friends, we all have the opportunity to emerge from hibernation and attend stimulating events at Mia. The centennial lecture and luncheon on April 14 will be spectacular. The Art in Bloom preview party on April 27 will be sparkling. There is so much more. Get your tickets now.

If your membership has lapsed, renew, renew, renew. Remember, all members will receive a beautiful centennial book this year and can also be listed in our new members directory. Find details at friends.artsmia.org.

See you at Mia,

President’s Letter

Dear Board Members,

We are on the cusp of 2022 which will be a year of grand celebration for Friends. We start festivities January 20, the very day of our 100th birthday, with a lecture given by Dr. Eike Schmidt, Director of the Uffizi Galleries, followed by a beautiful luncheon. It will truly be a treat to attend this exceptional event with Friends after an almost two year absence. Tickets available through January 6.

We will then be launched on an arc toward the 38th Art in Bloom. The Art in Bloom Committee is planning a four-day flower extravaganza. Fresh flowers will be back in the galleries and a gorgeous Preview Party awaits us. All ticketing and details found at friends.artsmia.org

Thank you for your loyal support of Friends of the Institute. Remember, you will get the most out of your membership if you renew in January.

Cheers to the Friends in 2022! 

President’s Letter

Dear Members,

In late November the ambient light has changed and moody skies invite reflection. It’s a special time for families and friends to gather, celebrate traditions and share savory meals. I am thankful for many things including my talented Board of Directors, our Operations Coordinator Claire Goulson, and the supportive staff at Mia. 

We are looking forward to Mia resuming regular hours. Starting Tuesday, November 23, Mia will be open every day from 10-5, and open Thursday evenings until 9 pm (closed on Mondays).

In December, Friends will have the opportunity to mingle in person at our appreciation sale. This happens on Wednesday, December 1 and Thursday, December 2 in the Wells Fargo Room from 10am – 5pm. This sale is open to Friends members and Mia staff. These are new items purchased for the AIB 2020, an event that was canceled due to Covid-19.

On January 20, 1922, 45 women met in the museum’s boardroom to officially form Friends of the Institute. On January 20, 2022, exactly one hundred years later, Friends plan to celebrate in a very special way. Look for your invitation to an in-person lecture and birthday luncheon to arrive in the mail. Dr. Eike Schmidt, Director of the Uffizi Galleries, will be the speaker. Current members will receive a beautiful complimentary coffee-table book Friends for 100 Years. Ticket sales open December 10. Don’t miss this festive event. 

I look forward to seeing you in person very soon. 

September President’s Letter

If you haven’t been to Mia this summer you should stop by to see the zinnias blooming at the 3rd Avenue entrance. They are colorful and gorgeous, reminding me of Jennifer Steinkamp’s video installation titled, Hurdy Gurdy Man. 

I am pleased to announce that the Friend’s new Office Coordinator, Claire Goulson, started her position on August 31. Previously, she worked at the Loft Literary Center. Some of you might remember her as an intern for Art in Bloom 2016. Claire is a warm and welcoming presence in our office. Her office hours are Monday through Friday, 9 am to 4:30 pm. 

There are opportunities and challenges facing Friends in the next few months. I will be focusing my attention on the following:

  1. Working with Membership Co-Chairs, Sharon Secor and Alison Greene to increase membership while maintaining our current membership. At this time, our membership stands at about 700!
  2. Working with Friends Treasurer, Renee Kessler and Development Relations Chair, Beverly Houschild-Baron to prioritize reducing our Delacroix pledge to Mia. At this time, we owe Mia about $308,000.
  3. Working with Newsletter Co-Chairs, Tippy Madden and Kris Berggren to ensure every member receives a Newsletter.
  4. Working with Art in Bloom Co-Chairs, Kris Bjorklund and Sheila Folkestad, to plan for a fragrant, beautiful and in-person AIB 2022.
  5.  Working with Centennial Co-Chairs, Mary Merrick and Pam Friedland, for a sparkling Centennial celebration in 2022. 

In this newsletter you will find information on our upcoming events. I hope to see you at all of them! Please know I appreciate every member and am honored to serve as your President. 




President’s Letter

Dear Friends,

As I look to the conclusion of my term as Friends president, I am reminded that above all, our members mean everything to the organization. Friends is only able to fulfill its mission of supporting, enhancing and sustaining the collection, programs, and influence of the Minneapolis Institute of Art with the wholehearted support of its members.

 This year has been extraordinary in so many ways. With closures at Mia and the Friends office, member numbers predictably waned. Nonetheless, Friends volunteers responded valiantly and successfully to give members and the public worthwhile virtual programs. The Membership committee also launched a membership drive, offering complimentary membership for the remainder of 2021. From February to April, the membership has had a remarkable growth of over 130%, as the Friends organization prepares for its hundredth birthday celebration in January of 2022.

 Throughout its long and rich history, the Friends have brought so much to Mia and the community, including lectures from the very beginning. Look through the museum collections and notice Friends’ support for art acquisitions. Contemplate the beauty of Still life with Dahlias by Eugène Delacroix, Friends gift in commemoration of its hundred years at Mia. The Friends organization has also been steadfastly supportive of children’s programs and transportation for students coming for art tours.

 Also in my two years as president, I have become increasingly aware of Mia’s appreciation for Friends members, who generously offer their talents and hard work to honor the mission. Let’s continue to grow and make the Friends organization stronger in support of Mia and the community. I thank you for encouraging others to join. And lastly, I am also grateful for this opportunity to have gotten to know and work with so many of you. It has been a most rewarding two years.

President’s Letter


My mindset switches to spring at the onset of March, which usually brings climbing temperatures and budding trees. March also launches the count-down for Art in Bloom at Mia, the beloved annual rite of spring that attracts thousands of visitors.

 The first-ever virtual Art in Bloom will become a reality April 28 – May 2 with what promises to be an engaging and beautiful website.

Another first is my mustering up the courage to enter an arrangement that interprets the Aztec goddess Chalchiutlicue. I figured that this year I had the luxury to make several attempts and take many, many pictures to come up with a floral display that would suit the occasion. 

Chalchiuhtlicue, c. 1200-1521, Aztec

The myths associated with Chalchiutlicue appeal to my imagination. According to some, she once ate the sun and the moon. She also built a bridge linking heaven and earth that only those in her good graces could cross; the others were turned into fish. Nonetheless, the goddess was thought to be usually kind and generous, providing life-giving water and seeds. She was the personification of nature, who brought fertility and spring. In her reign, maize was first used for food.

The dahlia, native to Mexico, was a source of food and medicine in Aztec times. In 1963 it was named the official flower of Mexico. Now I’m faced with the challenge of trying to find dahlias for my interpretation of Chalchiutlicue, or maybe I’ll just stick to yellow daisies and corn.

Please tune in to Art in Bloom 2021—the April edition of Friends newsletter will provide all the details of this unique and important event, and the Art in Bloom webpage will soon have the schedule and registration information.

Most of all, I hope you’re well and in line for a vaccine!

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.