May 2019

MCAD Senior Show Visit

May 9, 2019 6:00 pm


MCAD Lobby, 2501 Stevens Avenue

Ticket Price: Free

Join us to check out the inspiring art from seniors at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and an informal gathering at Agra Culture Cafe (Mia’s main lobby). 

Join fellow Friends on May 9 at 6PM (feel free to bring other friends) for a fun evening. We’ll meet at Minneapolis College of Art & Design (MCAD)’s main building to take in all the talent of this year’s class. Then we’ll stroll over to Mia’s Agra Culture Cafe (first level) for refreshments.


May Lecture: “The Challenge of Building a National Museum”

May 16, 2019 11:00 am


Pillsbury Auditorium

Ticket Price: Free

Founding Director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture Lonnie Bunch to speak at May Friends lecture.

Lonnie Bunch, Mia
Photo courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution

Lonnie G. Bunch, III, Founding Director  of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture to Mia will be the featured speaker for the Friends May lecture on May 16 at 11AM.

Mr. Bunch’s talk will explore the history and struggle to create the National Museum of African American History and Culture—a process that included a variety of challenges including building on the Mall, conceptual frameworks, public expectations, and the contextual terrain of race.

Mr. Bunch will discuss the strategies used to successfully navigate these challenges, talk about the current status and future plans for the museum, and explore how it will ultimately help the Smithsonian transition from a 19th-century institution to a 21st-century enterprise.

Mr. Bunch served as the president of the Chicago Historical Society (2001-05) and held several positions at the Smithsonian, including associate director for curatorial affairs (1994-2000) and supervising curator (1989-1992) at the National Museum of American History. He is the author of the award-winning book, Call the Lost Dream Back: Essays on Race, History and Museums (2010), and has published several other books including Slave Culture: A Documentary Collection of the Slave Narratives (2014) and Memories of the Enslaved: Voices from the Slave Narratives (2015).

Since 2008, Bunch has served as the series co-editor of the “New Public Scholarship Edition” from the University of Michigan Press.  He has also served on the advisory boards of the American Association of Museums, the African American Association of Museums, the American Association of State and Local History, and the ICOM-US. Lonnie Bunch has received several awards and recognition including being appointed by President George W. Bush to the Commission for the Preservation of the White House in 2002 (reappointed by President Barack Obama in 2009). In 2005, Bunch was named one of the 100 most influential museum professionals in the 20th century by the American Association of Museums. In 2017, Bunch was given the President Award at the NAACP Image Award, presented with the Impact Leader Award from the Greater Washington Urban League, and was elected as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Tickets are going fast, so reserve your spot today!

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May Luncheon to follow lecture

May 16, 2019 12:00 pm


Target Reception Hall

Ticket Price: $30

Reserve your spot for the Friends’ Spring Luncheon on Thursday, May 16 following the May lecture. 

Spring is upon us and so is the the Friends’ Spring Luncheon, which will be held on Thursday, May 16 (note the late date) immediately following the lecture by Lonnie Bunch, Director of the Smithsonian’s Museum of African American History and Culture.

The menu includes salmon with dill sauce, roasted asparagus, boiled new potatoes, and assorted bread and butter, followed by everyone’s spring favorite, carrot cake!  A vegetarian option is available; please request when making your reservation. $30, including tax and gratuities.

All reservations MUST be received by Thursday, May 9, by 4PM. To reserve your spot: 612.870.6323 or click the ticketing link below.

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

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A Remembrance: Joan Hutton

Thanks to Cindi Sutter for a beautiful remembrance of past Friends president and dear Friend, Joan Hutton, who passed away in March of this year.

Chances are if you had walked into the Friends office in the late eighties or the early nineties, you would have been greeted by the vivacious, engaging Joan Hutton. She would engage you immediately in conversation and before you knew it, you had signed up to be a volunteer for the Friends.

Joan’s boundless energy and love for the museum made her the perfect choice to lead the Friends from 1991-1993. Her first year in office, she committed the Friends to raising a $1,000,000, an aggressive goal at the time. “That endowment fund is now the Friends Fund for Education, and it continues to be an important source of support for the Education Department of Mia”, said Sheila Morgan.

Joan set out to accomplish her volunteer goals for Mia with passion, hard work, kindness, and unyielding determination. One illustration of this work occurred when Joan asked Roberta Mann-Benson to be the Honorary Chair for Art in Bloom (AIB) in 1997. Her ask was the largest at that time and resulted in the Friends Transportation Fund. The results of which are on display every school year as each yellow school bus unloads children, filling the museum with those lovingly loud voices of laughter and joy.

Her volunteer blueprint for life included a compass that was always set on an authentic purpose, with a splash of fun. Joan raised thousands of dollars for special events for both Mia and the Friends. These included the Geoffrey Beene Fashion Show, Decorative Arts Antiques Show, Friends Fundraiser in Arizona, Co-Chair for (AIB) and a Mia Trustee.

Joan was my friend, co-volunteer, and mentor, but I’m certainly not the only one who feels this way. She was quick with a smile and an idea. She raised the standard and set a benchmark for the Friends and Mia. Joan Hutton was, and always will be, one of the most genuine FRIENDS I know.

Her friends Suzanne Payne and Shari Boehnen said it best, “We learned so much from Joan the year we co-chaired Art In Bloom. She cheered us on, giving us sage advice, courage, and inspiration. We so admired her grace, spunk, and unwavering loyalty to the Friends.”

2019 Friends Art & Architecture Tour

June 6, 2019 9:00 am to 3:15 pm


3rd Avenue Entrance Mia

Ticket Price: $75

The Friends’ Art & Architecture Tour is going local this year.  Tickets are limited so reserve yours soon!

Ralph Rapson, 1956, William Shepherd House. Photo: Carlos Gonzalas/Star Tribune

Join the Friends on Thursday, June 6 for a peek into Midcentury Modern. This era of design encompassed sleek, simplified lines and geometric shapes with a “futuristic” look.

The tour will include a visit to three private homes and one church. In the morning we’ll see a Lustron enameled-steel house and the Shepherd House by famed architect Ralph Rapson. Then, after a delicious lunch at the Birchwood Cafe, we’ll have a private tour of Christ Church Lutheran designed by father and son team, Eliel and Aero Saarinen.

The tour moderator will be Gary Reetz, FAIA, Vice President at Hamel Green Associates. Reetz has made a lifelong commitment to cultural architecture during his 45 year career and is Chair of the Society of Architectural historians, Minnesota Chapter.

Coach buses will leave Mia precisely at 9AM at the 3rd Avenue entrance of Mia, and will return by 3:15PM that day.

Tickets are $75 and as there are a only 25 spots for this exciting tour, reserving your spot early is a must. Friends members have priority for ticketing.

Call the ticketing line at 612.870.6323 to reserve your spot!