Each day as I drive by Mia on 24th Street, I see progress in the installation of Ai Weiwei’s art covering Mia’s massive columns. This work is unique to Mia’s exhibition of When Home Won’t Let You Stay: Art and Migration, which originated at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. Ai Weiwei’s installation of life jackets wrapped around exterior columns is a first for the United States. His other life jacket installations have gone to such far-reaching places as the Berlin Concert Hall and the National Archives of Chile. The exhibition at Mia opened February 23 and runs until May 24.
I was first attracted by the predominantly orange color of the life jackets, before they conjured up the current news of refugees crossing the Mediterranean, and past crossings of the Caribbean by Cubans. Ai Weiwei is a contemporary artist and dedicated activist who left China to escape the restrictions of Chinese society. He moved to the United States in 1981 where he attended the Parsons School of Design.
The January Friends lecture addressed migration with a talk by Tiffany Chung, internationally known for her multimedia work that looks at migration, conflict, and changing geographies in the wake of political and natural upheavals. Her work of maps, videos, and paintings reminded us of the importance of stories. During her talk she shared her own family story, including that of her father, who fought for the South Vietnamese military and was a prisoner of war for several years before he was released to the United States.
The importance of migration stories, as told so vividly by art, beckons us to consider the current refugee crisis as a human crisis. At a training in preparation for Mia’s exhibition, University of Minnesota professor Dr. Jack DeWaard asked staff and guides whether we looked at immigration with economic logic, or as a human rights issue. He said that both had to be considered, but that we needed to choose one as the priority and then to include the other in the balance.
Between the recent exhibition on the Vietnam War, and this current exhibition on migration, Mia has given us much to search our souls. They’ve moved us to appreciate artistic expression, and to work together for the well-being of all of Twin Cities’ communities. Don’t miss When Home Won’t Let You Stay, and be sure to make your reservation for Debbi Hegstrom’s March 17 Friends Only program “Changing Viewpoints.” For this program, Debbi will guide us to look at art through a lens of critical thinking and cultural fluency—two important perspectives in the shifting geographies and demographics of today’s world.
Do you remember when we were stocking up on canned tuna and bottled water, preparing for a potential blackout at the beginning of the new millennium? Here we are in 2020, preparing for the hundredth birthday celebration of the Friends organization.
A small group of art-loving friends came together to form the Friends of the Institute of the Minneapolis Institute of Art in 1922. Right away the Friends began to raise funds to support Mia. In 1924, funds were given to furnish the Providence parlour. Portrait of Marcy Olney (1749 – 1780?) by eighteenth century artist Jeremiah Theus was acquired, and the following year funds were provided to complete nine new second floor galleries. And the list goes on. Friends members can be proud to be part of an organization that continues to fulfill its mission to support, enhance, and sustain the collections and programs of Mia.
To properly celebrate one hundred fabulous years, the Friends organization is supporting the acquisition of Still Life with Dahlias, Zinnias, Hollyhocks and Plums by Eugène Delacroix. His artwork is a magnificent and significant addition to Mia’s art collection. The guests were awestruck when the painting was first unveiled at the preview party by Art in Bloom 2018 Honorary Chair Nikki Lewis. And when you enter Gallery 321, you too will be enraptured by Delacroix’s passion for the radiance of flowers.
Nineteenth-century poet and art critic Charles Baudelaire described his contemporary Eugène Delacroix as “passionately in love with passion, but coldly determined to express passion as clearly as possible.” When Baudelaire said that everything beautiful is beautiful by calculation, he well described Delacroix’s deep understanding of color and composition in creating movement in his creations. Delacroix’s work inspired Impressionists with it’s expressive brushstrokes and optical effects of color.
The Friends has made great strides in its fundraising for this wonderful acquisition, and recently received a generous bequest from the Joan T. Smith fund. We thank our many supportive donors for their generosity and encourage contributions to complete our centennial gift to Mia. Be sure to visit Mia often and come admire Delacroix’s spectacular work of art.
President, Friends of the Institute
In times of trouble, artists respond and artists reflect. Two exhibits at Mia, Artists Respond: American Art and the Vietnam War, 1965-1975 and Artists Reflect: Contemporary Views on the American War give visitors a poignant picture of the turmoil and anger during these years. The exhibits move on January 5, so don’t miss the opportunity to remember, or learn about the war years if you were either too young or yet to be born.
I lived through the Vietnam war years, and as a Chicago resident, clearly remember the upheaval at the 1968 Democratic National convention. I also recall Chicago Daily News columnist Mike Royko’s biting article entitled the “B-52: That Bird of Peace”.
He was referring to the December 24, 1972 bombing campaign in which the biggest- ever bombing campaign by US B-52 aircraft dropped explosives on North Vietnam.
Looking at Mia’s collection, we can see more examples of how artists have viscerally reacted to other wars. Goya was one of the first to portray horror, and not heroism in his 1810-1820 prints of the Disasters of War. He responded to the inhumanity of the bloody uprisings that followed Napoleon Bonaparte’s occupation of Spain in 1807. It is said that Goya’s shocking images influenced Ernest Hemingway’s violent portrayal of the 1936-39 Spanish Civil War in For Whom the Bell Tolls.
In Pablo Picasso’s famous painting Guernica, he gives us a harrowing account of the bombing and killing of civilians in a Basque town at the onset of the Spanish Civil War. At Mia, Joan Miró’s reaction to the war is captured in his painting Head of a Woman.
Also at Mia, Henry Moore’s Warrior with a Shield depicts the heroic defense of his homeland during World War II. The artist wanted to show the strength and resilience of this severely wounded soldier, struggling to protect himself with a shield in his remaining hand. Moved by this powerful figure, a recent Art in Bloom floral artist chose to interpret it in flowers.
In spite of the devastation and displacement that wars bring, human resilience prevails. Take for example, #43 by Hmong artist Cy Thao– part of a series illustrating Hmong migration in the wake of the Vietnam War. A heart-warming scene of celebration, it shows Hmong immigrants enjoying time off work for the U.S New Year.
In late October, Mexican people in small villages begin their elaborate preparations to beckon the spirits of their departed loved ones to return to them on the Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos). Many Latin Americans observe November 2 as a day to memorialize the dead, but none so colorfully as the people from Mexican villages such as Pátzcuaro and Isla de Janitzio. In fact, several years ago, PBS aired a two-part series—The Wonders of Mexico—with a segment showing the mystical ceremonies in these two villages.
Gravesites are meticulously cleaned and lavishly decorated with cempasuchitl or flower of the dead (known as marigold to us). Their pungently-scented petals and glimmering candles guide the beloved spirits home. In the house, family, friends, and bountiful ofrendas await them. Ofrendas are tables loaded with the favorite foods, drink, and objects from their time on earth. Music, poems, candy skulls, bread in the shape of a cadaver, and small decorative clay skeletal figurines are all part of the celebration. Naturally, the living family and friends are the ones to partake of the feast, as they remember their loved ones.
This year, artist Monica Vega will create three small ofrendas in the
General Mills Lobby, remembering Tyrone Guzman and Marcella Trujillo, and former Manager of Visitor Experiences Jesus Aguilár, sorely missed by those at Mia.
The ofrendas will be up at Mia from October 25th through November 3. Our Dia de los Muertos Family Night celebration will be held on Friday, November 1, complete with Mariachi, dancers, art-making activities and tasty treats. Mia’s Community Outreach staff have been working hard with staff from Centro Tyrone Guzmán (https://www.centromn.org) to make this event festive for all Mia visitors.
Many of you might remember past exhibits of ofrendas at Mia. The first ofrenda project in 2007-2010 at Mia was supported by Friends. The exhibit included ofrendas made by high school students from El Colegio Charter School and their blogs and videos explaining their work. After the first ofrenda project, Mia has partnered with Austin High School, Thomas Edison High School, El Colegio Charter School, and Humboldt Secondary School. Fun on Day of the Dead is becoming a Mia tradition!
I encourage you to check out the current photography exhibition of Graciela Iturbide’s work that features Mexican village traditions including some images of Day of the Dead celebrations—they tell a story.
And be sure to sign up for the Friends Only curator-led tour of the exhibit on October 31 at 11 am, and come afterward to sample bread of the dead in the Friends office.
When you walk through gallery 321, you will surely notice Eugène Delacroix’s Still Life with Dahlias, Zinnias, Hollyhocks and Plums, a painting nineteenth-century French poet Charles Baudelaire once called “a volcanic crater disguised as a bouquet of flowers.”
The Friends of the Institute supported the acquisition of this spectacular artwork to celebrate our hundred-year anniversary and it is a shining example of our mission—to support, enhance and sustain the collection, programs, and influence of the Minneapolis Institute of Art.
I am happy and honored to be the incoming Friends president to further this mission and help our organization prepare for its centennial celebration in 2022.
I joined the 2001 Mia docent class and soon became a Friends volunteer. One of the more gratifying moments I’ve had as a docent came at the 2017 “I Am Somali” exhibition at Mia. I showed third-grade students an object by multi-media performance artist Ifrah Mansour. One boy was so touched by her artwork that he asked to sing a Somali song to our group. It made me proud to be a Friend!
Thanks to our fundraisers and many supporters, the Friends pay for buses that bring over eight-thousand students for tours of Mia’s fabulous collections each year. That is something we can be proud of and I’m certain every Mia guide has a delightful story to tell about these wonderful students.
Katie Remole and all the other former presidents have left me with big shoes to fill, and I’ll do my best to promote and enhance the Friends and Mia. I am thankful to be working with the Friends board, Operations Manager Jackie Figueroa, and all the Mia staff to further the goals of this worthy and wonderful museum.
Drawing on our rich history, the Friends join Mia in its commitment to policies and practices that value diversity, foster equity, and empower an accessible and inclusive environment—now and into the next one hundred years!
As Katie Remole ends her two-year presidency of the Friends, she reflects on all the wonderful ways the Friends have helped Mia thrive and grow.
As my term as Friends president comes to a close, I want to let everyone in our organization know how the vibrancy and commitment of Friends members continues to astound me. Meeting and working with so many talented and dedicated members who share a passion for Mia has been an incredible experience.
This past year has seen our Board and Executive Committee, Art in Bloom co-chairs and office staff work together to support, enhance and sustain the collections and programs of Mia. Here are some highlights.
My job would not be possible without the dedication and hard work of the executive committee. First Vice President Maria Eggemeyer, always ready to tackle new projects; Second Vice-President Julie Holland, a great support and confidant to me who lead Research and Planning through many needed improvements; Secretary Fran Megarry besides taking wonderful notes during our meetings, had a wealth of institutional knowledge to share; Treasurer Molly Van Metre did a huge and important job updating our bookkeeping and in simple language explained the complexity of our monthly finances and Carol Stoddart who took the reins of Development and more closely melded our efforts with Mia’s office of philanthropy.
Eugene Delacroix’s masterpiece Still Life with Dahlias, Zinnias, Hollyhocks and Plums now hangs in the galleries, Friends’ gift to Mia in commemoration of our 100th anniversary in 2022. Within two years we are over 75% toward fulfilling our commitment to the museum. This acquisition nicely punctuates the power of Friends working together to further our mission.
Art in Bloom 2019 was a splendid event thanks to our Art in Bloom co-chairs Barb Champ and Kris King. Many thanks also to the Art in Bloom committees, all the volunteers who donated thousands of hours before and during the event, and Mia leadership and staff. There were 165 pedestal floral artists and 20 commercial florists who transformed Mia into a flower filled festival that brought in nearly 50,000 people during our four-day event. And this, despite an April blizzard on opening day!
Each year we work hard to enhance our endowed Transportation Fund through our Buy-A-Bus campaign. Our Transportation co-chairs, Mary Meuwissen and Laura Miller coordinated 164 buses filled with more than 8,000 school children to Mia for a docent or art adventure led tour. We can be proud of the numbers of lives we touch with this program, exposing young minds to our world-class collection at Mia.
Lecture co-chairs, Liz Short and Helen Leslie and their hard-working committee continued the tradition of providing exceptional lectures, free to the public, September through May. The Mark and Mary Goff Fiterman Fund generously supported two of these lectures. Speakers this year were diverse as always and ranged from a White House photographer to a local art critic, a nationally recognized Native American potter and poet to an international historian on book forgeries. Our year concluded with Lonnie Bunch, the founding and current director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture.
The Hospitality co-chairs, Arna Yetter and Carol Poulson planned and executed luncheons after four of our lectures and under their guidance and creativity, attendance climbed significantly with each luncheon.
Our Newsletter co-chairs Sharon Secor and Laurie Fontaine-Junker continue to publish an informative and interesting Friends Newsletter This year we started publishing our Newsletter on our web page. Laurie also updated our web page to make it easy to navigate and fun to click around to learn all about the Friends information.
Our Friends Only Events fill up quickly and this year was not an exception. Under the able direction of Michele Byfield-Angel, we offered five very interesting and well received Friends Only tours, including curator led tours of the permanent collection and special exhibitions. Jeanne Scheiderer led our book club, which changed its location to the beautiful Mia library for book discussions and coffee, followed by a docent led tours.
Due to the very capable leadership abilities of Linda Boelter and her hardworking Centennial committee the planning for our 100th anniversary celebration in 2022 is well underway.
Barb Edin and the History committee made great strides this year in organizing and cataloging Friends history. This is ever more important as we gear up for our 100th anniversary.
Under the tutelage of membership co-chairs Teresa Luterbach and Boyd Ratchye, our renewal reminders are back on schedule and the membership climbing numbers show their efforts are working.
Our annual Art and Architecture tour stayed local this year and sold out within days of being offered. Barbara Proeschel planned a very interesting tour on June 6, of mid-century modernism in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Look forward to seeing photographs in the next Newsletter.
Volunteer Services chair, Sue Stillman is ever ready to call on her faithful list of Friends members whenever we need volunteers to step up and help.
Fundraising co-chairs, Beverly Hauschild-Baron and JeanMarie Burtness planned what promised to be a wonderful event, but had to be deferred due to apocalyptic weather that shut down Minneapolis, a city that prides itself on braving blizzards. They have already re-scheduled the event for Fall 2019.
The Outreach Committee, under the direction of Nancy McRae and Kris Bjorklund continued its program with members training to be Picture People for the Art Adventure program. Friends volunteers went into elementary school classrooms as Picture People and chaperoned the students at Mia for their guided tour. This program has been enjoyed by our Friends volunteers and the students who enjoy learning about the art in their classrooms and coming to Mia for an Art Adventure tour.
Maria Reamer and Therese Blaine and their Plants and Flowers committee put together an outstanding seasonal display this winter, enjoyed by all Mia’s guests.
The Friends board next year promises to be outstanding thanks to the nominating committee well run by Connie Sommers.
The very capable liaisons Chris Vickery and Melissa Semrad respectively, worked with Rochester president Sharon Parham and St. Cloud president Amanda Falloon. We are fortunate to have strong Friend’s affiliate networks for their important community leadership on our behalf.
I would like to thank my advisors, Linda Bolter, Carolyn Dahl, Mary Olson and JoanKampmeyer, and also Sheila Morgan and Katie Searl from my first year. Thank you for your support, friendship, and advice during my presidency. Your wisdom, perspective, and insight helped me immensely with the sometimes tough decisions that come with this office.
All of this could not happen without the solid support of our Friends Operations Manager, Jackie Figueroa. Also, we were fortunate to have two very capable Project Assistants, Kimberly Peterson and Lizzie Ginsberg, help leading up to Art in Bloom. Their contributions helped Friends put together a very smooth and well-run Art in Bloom 2019.
The Friends are privileged to work with the very helpful and dedicated Mia staff and administration. I particularly want to thank Julianne Amendola, Mia’s Chief Advancement Officer and Kaywin Feldman, the former Duncan and Nivin MacMillan Director and President of Mia. Their support, along with that of the curators and support staff, provided the framework that allowed Friends to deliver on our mission.
In July, Maria Eggemeyer will begin her two-year term as president of Friends of the Institute. I know Maria will be an exceptional Friends president.
As we near our 100th anniversary, the Friends remain a strong and vibrant organization–important in the many ways we support Mia. It has been an honor and privilege for me to serve as your president. Thank you for your support and I look forward to seeing you in the galleries of Mia.
Friends members to celebrate Mia’s departing Director at an open-house reception.
The music world has Beyonce, Bono, Adele – all recognized by one name. The museum world has Kaywin. She is our rock star.
During her time at Mia, Kaywin consistently challenged the Friends to think beyond our comfort zone, to further our mission of supporting, enhancing, and sustaining the collections, programs, and influence of Mia.
The support and recognition Kaywin has given to the Friends cannot be understated, and in particular, she has always been a strong supporter of Art in Bloom, the Friends main fundraiser. In 2018 the Friends raised the most money in our history of Art in Bloom and brought in record-breaking numbers of attendees. The funds raised by Art in Bloom enable Friends to make substantial contributions to our museum.
In 2014, Kaywin challenged the Friends to be one of three major sponsors for Mia’s 100 birthday-year celebration in 2015. When this idea was brought to the Friends Board, we were overwhelmed with the thought of raising that much money. But we reached our goal with the help of generous donors. Without Kaywin there to challenge us, we wouldn’t have realized this success and such heightened visibility.
In 2017, Kaywin presented us with the opportunity to support the acquisition of Eugene Delacroix’s Still Life with Dahlias, Zinnias, Hollyhocks and Plums for Mia’s permanent collection. This masterpiece will always be connected to the Friends of the Institute. This acquisition has been a central part of my tenure, and I will always be appreciative of Kaywin for bringing this opportunity to the Friends.
In spring 2008, I started touring at Mia as an Art Adventure Guide, at the same time Kaywin started her tenure as Director and President of Mia. For me, it is hard to imagine Mia without Kaywin leading us.
As Kaywin—our rock star—begins her next chapter, we will be cheering for her as she brings her signature combination of vision, motivation, and passion for the arts to a larger audience at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.
Please join us in celebrating Kaywin and wishing her well at an open-house reception on her final day at Mia, Friday, March 1, 2019. Friends members are welcome to stop by the Wells Fargo Community Room between 10AM and noon to enjoy hospitality and extend Kaywin our thanks and best wishes. Please RSVP with the Friends Office (612.870.3045).
Katie Remole President, Friends of the Institute
This event is a Friends Only Event. Join the Friends today and attend the event!
As the Friends begin their 98th year, I am humbled to be a leader in this vibrant organization which works so hard to share with our community this treasure, which is Mia.
The past twelve months have been exhilarating.
Art in Bloom 2018 was a success by any measure, bringing more than 52,000 people to Mia, hosting the collective creativity of 260 pedestal artists, and raising over $200,000!
Last year saw our Transportation Fund host more than 9,000 children at Mia for tours of the museum. We also started a new program in conjunction with Mia’s Art Adventure guides, in which Friends volunteers went into the schools as Picture People, teaching the Art Adventure pieces in the classroom. Friends volunteers then supported the Art Adventure guides as chaperones for the students during their tours.
For our members, this past year we greatly expanded our offerings of gallery tours. These included increasing our focused pre-lecture tours prior to the Friends monthly lecture, and offering more Friends-only tours given by Mia curators and docents.
Our presence on Mia’s web page was enhanced and is now filled with information about Friends, and live links to facilitate donations, membership renewals and event ticket purchases.
I wish to give special thanks to Friends board committee chairs, all Friends members and volunteers, who so generously share their time and expertise in support of the Friends. You are truly valued.
For we who have much, it is important to give back. As I reflect on my service here, I realize that Friends fulfills my need to serve. I hope you feel the same. The Friends is a vibrant organization because of all of our dedicated members.
Best wishes to each of you in the New Year. I look forward to seeing you in the galleries, or stop by the Friends office for a cup of coffee!
The Mark and Mary Goff Fiterman Fund was established in 1990. Mary Goff Fiterman’s gift to the Friends is a lasting testament to her generosity and curiosity about all that is art.
The Friends are grateful for our many generous and dedicated members throughout our 96-year history. One of those stood apart—Mary Goff Fiterman. Many Friends had the pleasure of knowing Mary, but many newer members only know her as the namesake of the Friends lecture series.
Mary Goff Fiterman was a lifelong lover of the arts with a soft spot for Mia. Prior to Mary’s passing in 2010, she would often recall childhood Sunday visits to the museum with her mother, getting to know and love the collection. Mary came to embrace all forms of art, including books, theatre, architecture and music and was a passionate supporter of artists.
She was also a devoted member and supporter of the Friends of the Institute. When Mary established the Mark and Mary Goff Fiterman Fund in 1990–and later bolstered it with a substantial legacy gift–she wanted to bring the people behind the art to Mia, in order to enrich all of us. Her gift is a lasting testament to her generosity and curiosity about all that is art.
Mary Goff Fiterman wasn’t content to merely write checks. In the early days of the fund, she used to delight in brainstorming ideas for speakers, and she loved to entertain them during their visit to Minneapolis. Mary invited film stars, designers, artists, art historians, princesses, ballerinas, entertainers, collectors and cultural icons. The fund’s roster has included people from varied artistic disciplines—designer Gloria Vanderbilt, arts champion Kitty Carlisle Hart, Fabergé expert Archduke Dr. Geza von Habsburg, ballerina Suzanne Farrell and actress Debbie Reynolds. After their visit, Mary often continued to correspond with our speakers and became close friends with many of them.
As Friends of the Institute continue her tradition of inviting interesting and engaging speakers, we wish to invoke Mary Goff Fiterman’s quick wit, twinkling eyes and engaging smile. She wants us to, and I quote from her bequest, “…focus on well-known celebrities in their fields…” She went on to say, “I want the lecture series to be exciting, unusual, eclectic—all resulting in a big draw and attendance, as it has been since its inception.”
The first two lectures of the Friends 2018-19 Lecture Series were sponsored by the Mark and Mary Goff Fiterman lecture fund. Aileen Riberio and Amanda Lucidon were immensely successful in a way Mary Fiterman would have approved. It is our hope that Friends continues to meet and exceed Mary Goff Fiterman’s expectations.
Friends longtime operation manager moves on to exciting new art adventures
Leading the Friends organization comes with many joys and some sorrows, and I share with you an event that combines both. Friends Operations Manager, Kate Smith Williamschen, accepted an exciting position with the Portland Museum of Art in Portland, Maine as their Exhibition Manager. Her last day at Mia was Friday, July 20. Although Friends is very happy for Kate and know she will do very well with this new opportunity, we will greatly miss her.
Kate had been the face of Friends for four years, with an ever-present smile, an admirable efficiency and great ideas for advancing our projects. Kate’s attention to detail and close comraderies with Mia staff, helped the Friends volunteers create four immensely successful Art in Blooms and many events in-between.
We miss Kate but know that her many strengths and talents will be much appreciated at the Portland Museum of Art.
In the interim as we look for our new Friends Manager, Jackie Figueroa will be filling in on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 8:30 AM to 5:OO PM. Please call Jackie at 612.870.3245 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns about Friends.