May 2021 late edition

President’s Letter

Dear Friends,

What a year! It’s no surprise that Friends adapted quickly and made the most of it. Lectures went on via ZOOM and thanks to the Mark and Mary Goff Fiterman Fund and no spatial limitations, expert speakers and meaningful monthly lectures drew many from all over. Much gratitude goes to the Friends Lecture committee and the strong support of Mia’s staff. 

Friends Only programs offered members engaging monthly curator-led tours that were recorded, uploaded, and archived to the Friends of the Institute webpage for viewing by the public.

Friends Only Book Club gave members the chance to discuss the museum’s monthly book selection led by a docent, who blended in a thoughtful tour of complementary artwork. Chairs worked hard to promote these activities to the Friends membership. 

Members could also count on the Friends Newsletter for a good read and a wide range of information about upcoming activities as well as happenings at Mia. Each issue included fun articles that fit a monthly theme selected by the editors to pull together an excellent newsletter. All newsletters are available for reading on the Friends webpage.

The Centennial committee continues to work hard to prepare and plan a fitting celebration of one hundred bountiful years of the Friends of the Institute, beginning in January of 2022.  

The Membership committee has made great strides to grow Friends membership. And to help celebrate the hundredth birthday, Friends is offering complimentary membership to our members and the public. Come January 2022, membership dues will resume and be payable every January in the future. A common renewal date in January for all members will greatly simplify the process.

Last but not least, Art in Bloom 2021 was a resounding success! The public received the unique virtual presentation of the thirty-eighth floral festival with great acclaim. Events were well attended, the gorgeous displays by commercial florists at their store locations drew much praise and,  even though virtual, the Pedestal Floral Artist’s creations were as spectacular as ever and could be viewed worldwide. All in all, this year’s spring event was a worthy welcome to spring, thanks to the hard work of a dedicated committee of volunteers and the expertise and steadfast support of Mia’s staff. See results from Barb Champ below.

There’s more to come in May and June. Don’t miss the May lecture with Native American artist-photographer Cara Romero, whose piece was part of the 2017 world-renowned Hearts of Our People exhibit at Mia.

Friends Only, Friends Book Club, and Art and Architecture all have excellent and fun programs planned. Be sure to read about the May goings-on in the Newsletter and register for the lecture activities.

Please mark May 27 on your calendars. I look forward “seeing” all of you at the 2020-2021 Annual meeting. It was a very different, but productive year for Friends.

Friends would also like to thank office coordinator Lizzi Ginsberg, who kept us all organized and in touch with Mia’s staff. Her contribution to Friend’s success this year cannot be underestimated. Lizzi is off to Chicago with exciting plans to begin graduate work at the Art Institute of Chicago. Mia and Friends thank her and wish her the very best in her future endeavors.


A note from chairperson Barb Champ. Nothing virtual about these results! 

Donations are still trickling in, but we expect our total revenue for Art in Bloom 2021 to reach $80,000! And since it was a virtual event, our expenses were very low (Mia did not charge for any production costs) so our net is $75,500!

These are excellent results considering the event, including lectures and tours, was free to the community. The exception was the Bachman’s workshop, which required a fee for the floral tool kit—the proceeds of which Bachman’s generously donated back to us.

The Art in Bloom website had average daily website hits of 3000. For comparison, a similar Mia online event that ran for much longer had an average of 1200 daily hits. We did very well in comparison!

Also worth noting is that in some cases each hit represented more than a single person as we know lots of people gathered in one household to view the floral arrangements, participate in the floral workshops, take a tour or view our panel discussion and lecture.

Our docent tours were extremely well attended. Total tour attendance was 1639 for the five-day event.  That means 327 participated a day!! Thank you to our wonderful docents. Their thoughtful use of the Professional Floral Arrangements was perfect and compelling.  The momentum built as the word got out that these tours were not to be missed. Hope you were able to catch one!

Those of you who participated in the Holly Young, Graci Horne, and Jill Ahlberg Yohe panel discussion learned as much about native culture as native floral art.  Their presentation was captivating.  We had 135 individuals participate online.

Deborah Pierce’s talk on stolen floral art was amazing.  Who knew how large the market was for stolen artwork, and sad to know there are some recoveries yet to be made. Total attendance for Deborah’s was 277.

Bachman’s two floral workshops were sold out!  It was fun to see our participants put together such beautiful floral arrangements under the guidance of Bachman’s own Jen Bevan.  Jen’s enthusiasm is contagious.  We had 43 participants overall.

Some who gathered together in groups to view the events took the opportunity to enjoy our Signature Cocktail, Lady Sipper, sponsored by Norsemen.  While we don’t have total Lady Sipper sales yet, we know it was a hit as demonstrated below in this picture of some of our own Friends, who sipped a Sipper during one of the lectures.

Katie Searl, Kathy Rein, and Barb Edin enjoy a Norseman Lady Sipper during Art in Bloom 2021.

As we celebrate Virtual Art in Bloom we have many to thank for their generous support.  Our lead sponsor; Bachman’s, our major sponsors; Artful Living, Martha Head, Samuel, and Patricia McCullough.  Additional support was provided by Tangletown Gardens, Christine and Robert D. Salmen, Norseman Distillery, and Twin Cities Orthopedics.  Thanks to the dedication of our Patrons, Sponsors, Friends of the Institute, Mia staff, and our Steering Committee whose philanthropical nature and belief in the cause; to support, enhance, and sustain the collection, programs, and influence of the Minneapolis Institute of Art, generated funds to support these needs of Mia during this unprecedented time.

It is also important to acknowledge the small but mighty Art in Bloom Steering Committee that brought a virtual vision to life.  Thank you to Therese Blaine, Maria Reamer, Barbara Proeschel, Kari Jaksha, Barb Mikelson, Stephanie Wright, Katie Searl, Laurie Fontaine Junker, Maria Eggemeyer, Julie Holland, and Nancy McRae.

As we wrap up another Art in Bloom, in a time where this pandemic has oftentimes made us weary, we must remember the words of Lady Bird Johnson,  “where flowers bloom, so does hope.”

Congratulations everyone! Virtual Art in Bloom 2021 was a “ bloomin “ success.

Barb Champ

2021 Art in Bloom Chair

Barb Champ and Bachman’s Jennifer Bevan on WCCO TV

Annual Meeting

May 27, 2021 10:00 am


Zoom Meeting

Ticket Price: Free

Calling all Friends to the 2020-2021 Annual Meeting! Come for highlights from Friends board members about virtual activities brought to the public and Friends membership during this extraordinary year. Learn about the state of Friends finances from the Friends treasurer. 


Meeting ID: 859 3695 9223

Passcode: 271147

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

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June Art and Architecture Tour

June 22, 2021 9:55 am


7110 County Rd. 110 W, Minnetrista, 55264

Ticket Price: $12

A long-awaited Art and Architecture activity! 

Artist Bruce Sillman polishing one of his many artworks.

Sculptor Bruce Stillman transformed his Minnetrista dairy farm homestead into landscape art—the Big Stone Mini Golf and Sculpture Garden.

Join us and experience a playful, interactive art experience. Bruce will give us a short tour of the sculpture garden, along with stories, inside scoop, and Q & A. We’ll also play a game of mini-golf!

Snacks will be provided at reserved picnic tables with an opportunity to socialize afterward. 

Meet at the Big Stone entrance at 9:55 am on Tuesday, June 22nd. RAIN DATE is  Tuesday, June 29th. Admission is $12 at the door. CASH OR CHECKS ONLY.

 Ticket sales help support Big Stone Advancing Arts, a nonprofit company that serves the local art community. 

We will drive independently and observe state COVID guidelines. 

Big Stone Mini Golf and Sculpture Garden is about 20 miles West of Minneapolis:

7110 County Rd. 110 W, Minnetrista, 55264

Please RSVP to to reserve a spot. 24 participants maximum. First come, first serve.  We hope to see both new and old members!

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

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Floral Artists Inject Floral Beauty into second COVID Spring

A note from Therese Blaine about Art in Bloom Pedestal Floral Artists

Thousands of Mia guests were fortunate to experience Art in Bloom in a new way thanks to the continued dedication and creativity of the floral artists who paired their creations with 96 Mia artworks—some of which are rarely on view. We are grateful to every floral artist for creating truly inspired floral creations.

Visitors to the website found joy in viewing and discussing the floral arrangement/artwork pairings in real-time with family and friends in other cities, states, and countries! A true gift of virtual technology that keeps on giving because this year Art in Bloom will be archived on Mia’s website for an indefinite period, allowing future discussions among friends, and potential use in classrooms and long-term care facilities.

The new frontier of virtual technology also brought Art in Bloom guests fun videos including two time-lapse videos of floral artists creating their work. Many thanks to Amy Chapman and Karla Newman for the additional effort and hours of filming that went into creating the final product: minute-long video wonders! If you haven’t seen Amy and Karla at work, the videos are worth two minutes of your time.  Prepare to be amazed. Click here to view these as well as a wonderful History of Art in Bloom video charmingly narrated by Friend Theresa Luterbach, and four testimonials from florist Cana Potter, Mia guard Tim Petrowski, Friend Carolyn Dahl (daughter of Art in Bloom founder Phyllis Colwell), and local influencers the Minnevangelists.  These short videos remind us all of why we are Friends and why our financial support and service is not only a gift to Mia, but to the broader community.

Friends Only Lecture Results

Lecture Committee wraps up an interesting year!

In a year like no other, the Lecture Committee did a quick pivot to the digital world of Zoom. Between adjustments to contracts, rescheduling speakers, and learning how to present an engaging virtual lecture, we managed a fairly good year. A big thank you to our fabulous Mia technology team, Mike Dust, Brian Tighe, and Jeff Kearns who made sure we were able to zoom out to our audience.

You may be wondering what our participation numbers looked like this year. September 2020 through May 2021, registration for tickets was on average between 220 and 330 per month, with one lecture going as high as 408 registrants. However, we had a 25-40% drop off in terms of people who actually dialed into the lecture. According to Learning Innovation, this is quite common for virtual events and is not a bad drop-off (usually due to forgetfulness, other conflicts, and the lack of repercussions to not dialing in for a free event). These numbers are comparable to our in-person lecture events at Mia!

Though many of us would prefer to have been in the Pillsbury Auditorium with our Friends, we were able to extend our reach outside of the Twin Cities, nationally and even internationally, with people calling in from Argentina, Ecuador, and India.  Plus, no one had to go out on a cold, snowy winter day! Thanks to everyone who attended. 

Commercial Floral Artists—A non virtual Art in Bloom experience!

Even though Art in Bloom 2021 was virtual this year, the sight and smell of real flowers were still a part of this event through the efforts of 12 Commercial Florists. These businesses created beautiful installations at their storefronts ranging from interpretations of Floral Legacy to a bicycle vignette. One installation even included a salon chair with a floral hair drying hood!

A big shout out and a huge thank you to: Acanthus Floral Art, Joy De Fleur Floral Design, Lake Harriet Florist, Martha’s Gardens, Blommonster, Studio Louise Flowers, Ergo Floral, Arts & Flowers Design Studio, Gerten’s Greenhouses, Tangletown Gardens, Best Wishes Floral, and Bachman’s Floral.

One of our commercial florists summed up this year’s Art in Bloom experience by saying, “I think it was a creative way to let the commercial florists continue to be involved with the event, even though it was virtual. It provided a great opportunity for people to get “out” and do something unique while staying safe and not having the health and safety concerns of a large event.”

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