May 2021

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.

Meet and Greet

May 17, 2021 10:00 am


Ticket Price: Free

A Welcome for Friends’s Members New (and current!) on May 17

The Friend’s Membership Committee invites all NEW and current Friends members to a virtual Meet and Greet. 

This welcome to our newest (and current!) members is an opportunity to learn more about the Friends and hear about one of Mia’s latest initiatives, Self-Care, with Mia Community Arts Associate Krista Pearson. Krista will talk about how art can give all of us the ability to make connections with ourselves, each other and our world and inspire us with Mia’s virtual care packages.

We’ll also have a short presentation from the Friend’s Centennial Committee on the Friend’s history and the fabulous upcoming Centennial Celebrations in 2022.

Reserve your spot by emailing You will be sent a Zoom link prior to the meeting. We look forward to meeting you at the Meet and Greet!

“Indigenous Photography: The importance of Self Representation in the Native American Community.”

May 13, 2021 11:00 am


Ticket Price: Free

Join us as artist Cara Romero presents our May lecture.

“My greater intention is to create critical visibility for modern Natives, to get away from that one-story narrative, and to dig into our multiple identities.  Our stories are entrenched in our ancestry, and traditional ways of knowing, and how they manifest today, that’s what’s important to me.”  – Cara Romero

Cara Romero, a Chemehuevi artist from Santa Fe, New Mexico, known for her dramatic digital photography that examines Indigenous life through a contemporary lens, is our Friends Lecture Series speaker for May.

Ms. Romero was born in Inglewood, California, and grew up between the rural Chemehuevi reservation in the Mojave Desert of California and the urban sprawl of Houston, Texas. Her identity informs her photography, a blend of fine art and editorial styles, shaped by years of study and a visceral approach to representing Indigenous and non-Indigenous cultural memory, collective history, and lived experiences from a Native American female perspective.

Romero has made an ongoing series of First American Girl portraits to examine past representations of Indigenous women as dolls and reclaim their Native identities. The portraits are of real Native American women, photographed in life-sized doll boxes and include personal accessories.


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Cara Romero gets away from that “one story narrative of Native Americans” with “Water Memory,” 2015 that is part of a series of photographs that talks about twin histories: The flooding of tribal lands to construct US dams; and the pumping of resources from Native soils, by extractive industries.  She is from a tribe that was flooded out of ancestral lands to create Lake Havasu, a reservoir on the Colorado River between Colorado and Arizona.  This series was pivotal for Romero because it brought her work to the attention of the Smithsonian.  After that, her art became an examination of things that were important to her- things that scared her, but she knew to be true.  She started working with female figures.  She wanted to break through the exploitative white male lens that had dominated Native American photography for over 100 years.

The National Museum of Indian Arts and Culture and the American Museum of Britain all hold her work in their collections.  She has won multiple first-place awards at the Santa Fe Indian Market.  In 2019, Ms. Romero was an artist in residence at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  In addition to her work as a photographer, Romero directs the Indigeneity Program at Bioneers, a nonprofit organization based in Santa Fe that is dedicated to climate change issues.

Reserve your free virtual ticket today!

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Newly acquired artworks in the Africa galleries are the subject for May’s Friends Only tour.

May 20, 2021 11:00 am


Ticket Price: Free

Dr. Jan-Lodewijk Grootaers, Curator, Art of Africa and the Americas

Curator Jan-Lodewijk Grootaers will lead the last Friends Only tour of the season

Friends Only is delighted to announce its final event of the season: Jan-Lodewijk Grootaers, Curator of African Art and Head of the Arts of Africa & the Americas, will present a virtual talk about newly acquired artworks on view in the African art galleries.

Jan-Lodewijk came to Mia in 2008 as its first curator of African art.  He led the innovative reinstallation of Mia’s African galleries in 2013 and has broadened the collection through numerous acquisitions. A native of Belgium,  Grootaers studied cultural anthropology at the University of Chicago for his PhD, specializing in Central Africa.  

At Mia his “iAfrica” show in 2009 experimented with multisensory experiences. More recently he has focused on artistic expressions in the African practice of Islam, leading up to the current exhibition “Khatt Islāmi: Sacred Scripts from Islamic Africa,” curated in collaboration with Amallina Mohamed from the Somali Museum of Minnesota. Later this year, Grootaers will open a new gallery dedicated to Islamic Africa, adjacent to the existing gallery of Islamic art. 

Space is limited so reserve soon by emailing 

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

Join The Friends

Friends Book Club May selection is “The Library Book” by Susan Orlean 

May 21, 2021 10:00 am


Ticket Price: Free

Head back to the 1980’s in Susan Orlean’s Los Angeles based story.

The Book Club is nearing the end of our COVID Season, but there’s still time to join two more docent led discussions. May will feature “The Library Book” by Susan Orlean. Wrapped inside the story of the great fire in1986 at the Los Angeles Central Library, this book is a sweet ode to libraries and librarians. 

Please join us!

To reserve your spot, email

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

Join The Friends

Get Tickets

The last Friend’s Book Club of the season features “Less—A Novel”

June 18, 2021 10:00 am


Ticket Price: Free

Andrew Sean Greer’s witty tale is June’s book. Because who doesn’t need to laugh?!

June will conclude the pandemic-edition of the Book Club with “Less—A Novel” by Andrew Sean Greer.  A Pulitzer prize winner, the novel is at once a travel narrative, a satire, and a coming-of-age novel for its protagonist—a middle-aged homosexual writer. Arthur Less learns that his former lover, Freddy, is about to marry someone new. And the romp goes on..

One New York Times writer said about the novel, “Convulsed in laughter a few pages into Andrew Sean Greer’s fifth novel, “Less,” I wondered with regret why I wasn’t familiar with this author. My bad.”

Please join us!

To reserve your spot, email 

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

Join The Friends

Art and Architecture in-person activity coming in June

The only screen you’ll need is sunscreen!

The Friends Art and Architecture Committee is excited to announce an early June outdoor, in-person, activity! Sculptor Bruce Stillman transformed his dairy farm homestead in Minnetrista into landscape art—that is, Big Stone Mini Golf and Sculpture Garden. A group of Friends will experience a playful, interactive art experience followed by an outdoor lunch nearby.

We are complying with State of Minnesota COVID safety recommendations.

More information and sign-up to follow in the mid-May special edition of the Newsletter.

Looking back: Peggy Hawks

Remembering a devoted arts volunteer and “beauty with brains” 

Mrs. Stanley (Margaret) Hawks

Friends President from 1946-48

 Mrs. Stanley (Margaret) Hawks was best known to all her friends as Peggy. She was born in Florence, Italy in 1894. Her father, Dr. William W. Baldwin practiced medicine in Florence where Peggy was raised as the youngest of six children. Her death came in 1983. What a life she led in those 89 years!

Peggy married Stillwater native, Mr. Stanley Hawks and began a life of travel and providing goodwill gestures. Stanley was an ambassador to several countries as well as the U.S. Legation Secretary in Guatemala where Stanley and Peggy had the delightful opportunity to meet Charles Lindbergh. Eventually, the Hawks settled back in Minnesota with Stanley, in time, retiring as vice president of the Minneapolis Star & Tribune newspaper. Many tales have been told recollecting the grand Italianate house on Lake of the Isles Boulevard where they resided.

The Minneapolis Times columnist, Brenda Ueland wrote in 1946 of the “Franciscan monastery with iron gates and cloisters and walled gardens on different levels, a rectangular pool full of aquamarine water, and a little tiled pavilion.” Ueland knew the Hawks because, during WWII, the Hawks gave endless parties for Nisei soldiers (second-generation Japanese Americans who fought bravely during WWII, despite moral dilemmas they may have faced) as she took scores of these men under her wings. Peggy also had a special place in her heart for exiled people from Poland, as well as others fleeing Yugoslavia and Germany. Her house was open to so many in need of her open arms. In Peggy’s drawing-room there hung photographs of Chief Justice Hughes and Elihu Root. Root was the former Secretary of State under President Theodore Roosevelt and also the Secretary of War under Roosevelt and President William McKinley. Apparently, Stanley as a young man, was the private secretary to both these gentlemen.

Peggy’s brother, the head of the Herbert Hoover American humanitarian mission in Poland, had offered Peggy the task of food distribution. It was in Poland that Peggy began to see the tragedies associated within this country. She witnessed open boxcars crowded with people dying as the result of Russians sending captured Polish citizens homes. Frustrated that she could not speak the language of these suffering people, Peggy decided to learn the Polish language.

Upon returning to the United States, Peggy met Hugh Gibson, the first U.S. Minister to the new Second Polish Republic. Gibson heard of Peggy’s recent engagement to Stanley and arranged for Stanley to go to Poland for the State Department. There began years in government service for the Hawks. Peggy credits her years in the diplomatic service for teaching her the art of hospitality. She stated she was taught to lift her head, perfect her clothing, her kindness, alertness, and above all learn the importance of responsibility towards others.

Once settled in Minneapolis, Peggy became involved with the Minneapolis Institute of Art and the Friends of the Institute, taking on the job of Friends President from 1946 to 1948. The one event, in particular, she was quite proud of was the Hamlet event at the Lyceum Theater located in downtown Minneapolis held in February of 1948. The Friends were sponsoring the opening night benefit that featured the esteemed Maurice Evans playing Hamlet. Working with event chair, Mrs. Leo (Rosalynd) Pflaum, the benefit raised money to fund color reproductions of some of the most important paintings in the museum’s collection. This was a popular program the museum was quite excited about allowing visitors to purchase these pieces at affordable prices to hang in their homes. Opening night was quite the extravaganza! Peggy arrived wearing a black velvet and gold gown, Rosalynd wore her black gown and mink coat. Minnesota governor Luther Youngdahl arrived with his wife donning a red crepe gown. Minneapolis mayor, Hubert Humphrey and his wife Muriel were also in attendance.  As this event also marked the 25th anniversary of Friends, many loyal and long-standing Friends members attended, such as the Friends first president, Mrs. Carolyn Christian. Again, Minneapolis Times columnist Ueland acknowledged Peggy mentioning the splendid after-party at the Hawks residence. The Hamlet cast was invited to the Franciscan monastery like home with the “snow filling the cloisters and swimming pool, and a worse-than- Danish wind whistling off Lake of the Isles.”

Peggy’s relationship with Rosalynd continued to 1949, with the beginning of WAMSO, the Minnesota Orchestra’s volunteer organization (currently called FOMO.) Rosalynd served as the founding president, as she was unable to convince Peggy to take on the job. Rosalynd and Peggy stated it took two years to convince some of the men on the orchestra’s board that a women’s organization could raise money and be a beneficial partner to the orchestra.

The Minneapolis Institute of Art still occupied a large part of Peggy’s heart. With the passing of her husband, Stanley in 1971, the Stanley Memorial Fund was established. Approximately 86 works of art have been gifted to the museum as a result of this fund as well as gifts from Peggy herself. From Mayan fabrics to a Japanese sword with a snake engraved on it, to a wonderful collection of James Van Der Zee photos, many different cultures and art forms have been enjoyed by so many visitors.

Barbara Flanagan, legendary columnist for the Minneapolis Star and Tribune called Peggy in 1973, “…a beauty with brains plus.” Be reminded of Peggy’s contributions to the city and to the museum as her name and her husband’s name are proudly noted on so many favorite pieces seen in the museum’s collection.

Centennial History Publication Committee
Pamela Friedland
Linda Goldenberg
Mary Merrick
Suzanne Payne
Connie Sommers