Meet a Friend

Meet A Friend: Carolyn Dahl 

This month, we get to know this legacy Friend’s member better

Carolyn Dahl and namesake granddaughter Kit Carolyn Dynan

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’ve lived in the Twin Cities my entire life except for time spent away at college. I left my position at our family business years ago and my husband retired from his financial services job this year.  So we’re officially retired! We have two grown daughters and are the lucky grandparents of four adorable grandchildren who all live locally. We have many fun family weekends at our cabin in Wisconsin. 

How long have you been a Friend?  

I became a member in the early ‘80s when my mother was the Friends President (Phyllis Colwell 1983-1985). I was working full-time, so I volunteered every other Saturday at what was then called the Arts Resource and Information Center. This was, of course, before Google, and we had to have extensive paper files to answer all kinds of questions from visitors—everything from “I am traveling to Venice Italy next month, which museums should I visit?”  to college students asking for information for an art history paper. 

I took a break after I got married and had kids and in 2004 Linda Goldenberg (Friends President 2003-2005) asked me to return to become the assistant Treasurer for Art In Bloom. I reinstated my Friends membership and have been involved ever since including a stint as President from 2011-2013. 

What’s the most memorable Friends Lecture or event you’ve attended?   

Probably my first lecture as Friends President in 2011. It was the Keno Brothers from Antiques Roadshow. Leigh and Leslie Keno were real gentlemen but a bit of a handful. They took so long walking from the front entrance to the Pillsbury Auditorium (looking at art and chatting with museum visitors) that I joked I was going to have to put blinders on them to get them to the podium on time! Then just as I was heading to the podium, I realized that one of the brothers was missing. I sent a male guard into the men’s restroom to look for him but we could not find him. Eventually, he returned to the auditorium and the lecture was a huge success—very interesting and very entertaining. 

How about a favorite artwork?  

My favorite sculpture is the Veiled Lady by Raffaelo Monti. I think that it is absolutely beautiful and incredible that the soft fabric veil is carved stone. I also feel an affinity for this type of sculpture because my mother was a stone carver in her earlier life. 

Finish the sentence: I love being a Friend because__________ .  

Of the friends that I have made.  The Friends have wonderful members who work hard for Mia. 

What do you wish everyone knew about Mia? 

I wish that everyone knew that Mia is for everyone. I do not have a background in art, but I always enjoy myself when walking through the museum finding new and interesting things. 

How are you adjusting to our current circumstances?  

I’m adjusting relatively well, but am really looking forward to the end of the pandemic. I’ve always loved to read, complete jigsaw puzzles, and watch Netflix, but I have had enough. Luckily, I  play mahjong with two different groups, and luckily we’re still able to play together online, which has been a lifesaver for me. It is social and entertaining.

Meet a Friend: Nikki Lewis

Nikki and Ron Lewis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tell us a little about yourself  

I had a successful 38-year career with NSP/Xcel Energy, where I attained the position of Managing Director, Corporate Risk Management.  Later in my career, I realized that I needed to plan for life after work so, I joined the Friends and plunged into duplicate bridge. It is definitely working. Sadly, my husband Ron died in 2019. He loved my Mia arts activities because he saw that it was a lot of fun and no work!  

How long have you been a Friend? 

That information is lost in the mists of time, maybe 30 years?  I joined the Decorative Arts Council, then was recruited onto the Friends Board where I eventually held almost every position except for President and Hospitality, which are the hard ones! The Programs and Treasurer positions were my favorites. I also served on many AIB Committees, serving as Co-chair in 2010 and Honorary Chair in 2018. 

What’s the most memorable Friends Lecture or event you’ve attended?  

David Garrard Lowe, The Glamour of Art Deco New York! David’s stunning 2012 lecture earned a standing ovation from the audience, which I have never seen happen before or since.   Simon Schama was a close second. 

How about a favorite artwork? 

How about a favorite child? I could never choose a favorite! Nevertheless, what comes to mind when pondering this question is the ancient Yoruba Shrine Head.  She evokes serenity, strength, and beauty. 

Finish the sentence: I love being a Friend because __________ . 

Thanks to the Friends, I have made strong, life-long friendships with whom I’ve traveled. I have learned many things in many ways that have enhanced my life, and all while doing a little good for art and my community.

What do you wish everyone knew about Mia?  

Mia is a place that holds joyful surprises around every corner no matter how much or how little you know about art. 

How are you adjusting to our current circumstances? 

I am not a Zoom virtuoso, but I’m grateful that it allows me to attend Friends and VocalEssence board and committee meetings.  I play BBO bridge (and some in-person bridge, safely of course).  The Frick Cocktails with the Curator is a delight.  And of course, wine helps! 

 

Meet a Friend: Connie Sommers

Connie Sommers has been an active volunteer at Mia for over 20 years—as a Friends member and, more recently,  an Art Adventure Guide.  This month we get to know this mother (to an adult daughter and three-year-old rescue pup), a little better.

Connie Summers

Tell us a little about yourself.  

I have a lovely daughter, Whitney, and a terrific son-in-law, John, and a Cuban Havanese puppy, Oscar.  I’m a former elementary education teacher and taught in both the US and Canada. I also taught English as a Second Language (ESL) for a bit. My last teaching job was with the No Child Left Behind program in South Mpls. A corporate move brought our family to the Minneapolis area in 1994, and we never left this beautiful city.  I became a volunteer because we moved so frequently and it’s been a great way for me to meet people, make friends, and feel an attachment to a new community. The Friends have really anchored me to the Twin Cities.

How long have you been a Friend?  

Since the late 90’s when friends brought me to the museum. My first volunteer job for the Friends was working in the little room in the Friends office taking reservations for Art in Bloom with Carol Burton and Jane Johnson. My first Board position was working with Pauline Altermatt as Hospitality Chairs.  

What’s the most memorable Friends Lecture or event you’ve attended? 

There have been so many! The first event and my first visit to Mia was in 1997—the Chihuly Exhibition. It was magical.  One of the memorable lectures I attended was the Lonnie Bunch Lecture. He was so genuine and interesting.

Do you have a favorite artwork? 

My sentimental favorite, because of my first visit, has to be the Chihuly Sunburst, located in the third street lobby. 

Finish the sentence: I love being a Friend…

because of my Friends friends! 

What do you wish everyone knew about Mia? 

Mia fills your soul.  The art, the beauty, the knowledge, the staff, and the volunteers, all are wonderful.   

How are you adjusting to our current circumstances?

It’s a challenge, but taking it day by day.

Oscar is a cutie. How did you pick his name? 

His eyebrows reminded us of Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street. It’s not his personality.

Meet a Friend: Patty McCullough

Patty McCullough has been an active supporter of Mia for the better part of the last five decades—as a mother bringing her three children in for a visit, a member of the first Affinity Group (then called Curatorial Council), a docent from the class of 1998, and of course, a member of the Friends. This month we get to know this Pennsylvania native a little better. 

Patty McCullough and her husband, Sam.

How long have you been a Friend? 

I joined the Friends in the early 1980s, the year of the first Art in Bloom, and have attended all but two over the years. My first assignment on the Friends Board was in 2002 when I co-chaired the Friends Fashion Show with Terry Benson—the last show partnering with Dayton’s (at the time, Marshall Fields).  I’ve also been the St. Cloud Liaison, Assistant Treasurer, Docent Chair, Newsletter and Membership co-chair and on many Art in Bloom committees.

What’s the most memorable Friends Lecture or event you’ve attended? 

I especially liked Maya Lin and her lecture on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.  However,  in the 1990s when Mary Fiterman would sponsor the September opening lecture for the Friends (and she always wanted a celebrity), she had Kitty Carlisle who, at the time, was in her late 80s or early 90s. She sang and talked, and was quite charming and very attractive.  It was so much fun to see her.

How about a favorite artwork?

I love the Lucretia, of course, but I especially love the bust of Saint John the Baptist by Benedetto da Rovezzano.  Our former decorative arts curator, Eike Schmidt, was responsible for finding it.

I  am not particularly drawn to religious art, but it is terracotta, not marble, and very humble.  It was hidden in the salt mines during WWII, and rescued by the Monuments Men.

Finish the sentence: I love being a Friend because__________ .

The Friends must be one of the very best museum auxiliary groups in the country. They have bought and restored so many objects at Mia, as well as giving us thirty-five years of Art in Bloom and an excellent lecture program. I also appreciate the fact that the Friends are always willing to try new things such as the Friends Fund for Education, Friends Art Auction, Art Perchance and Salon: An Evening with Friends. I plan to always be a “Friend.”

Meet a Friend: Teresa Luterbach

Family visits to Mia as a child inspired Teresa Luterbach to study Design at the University of Minnesota and, once her three children were grown, come back to Mia as an enthusiastic volunteer and Friend. This month we get to know her better. 

Teresa Luterbach
Teresa Luterbach

How long have you been a Friend? 
I first joined the Friends in 2011 when I started training to become an Art Adventure Guide. I joined the Friends Board in 2016 and have served as co-chair of the Newsletter and Membership committees. I also served on the Art Adventure Guide Council from 2015-2019.

What’s the most memorable Friends lecture or event you’ve attended? 
In October 2019 I attended the Friends lecture by Amanda Lucidon, Michelle Obama’s official White House photographer. She was engaging, down-to-earth, and her photography was amazing. Each year there are many interesting lecturers who come to share stories and expertise on a variety of art-related topics. I try to attend all of them! Art In Bloom is another favorite—it’s a great way to kick off the spring season!

How about a favorite artwork?
One of my favorite artists is George Morrison. I can think of three different artworks by him that are currently on view. Of those, my favorite is Collage IX: Landscape. I also love to see what’s new in the Photography gallery.

Finish the sentence. I love being a Friend because__________ .
It’s a terrific way to meet people and there are so many ways to get involved and support Mia.

What do you wish everyone knew about Mia? 
Mia is a Minnesota treasure. It’s a place filled with surprises, where people of all backgrounds can feel welcome. 

You used to spend a lot of time at the museum. How are you adjusting to our current circumstances?
During the pandemic, I have been trying to be patient with the situation, and have done a ton of walking and reading. I took a virtual hand-lettering class through MCAD which was fun. I miss guiding Art Adventure tours, but I am grateful Mia is open again so I can wander and find new surprises! 

 

 

Meet a Friend: Gail Jones

Gail Jones is a familiar face around Mia. You’ve probably seen her at various Friends functions or leading groups of schoolchildren around the museum on an Art Adventure tour. This month we get to know her a little better.

Gail Jones is a long-time member of the Friends. Get to know her!

How long have you been a Friend?  

19 years – since 1999 (lots of nines there!)

What’s the best Friends lecture or event you’ve attended and why?  

I’ve always loved the Art and Architecture tours. I’ve been on several but my favorite was to Chicago in 2001.  Our group had many interesting and fun adventures, but the best was seeing Mia’s own van Gogh painting on loan to the Art Institute of Chicago for a special exhibition.  We were thrilled to see the big crowds enjoying “our” Olive Trees.

Finish the sentence. I love being a Friend because__________

it helps me stay involved and connected with all the great things happening at Mia.

What do you wish everyone knew about Mia?

I think our community is so lucky to have this wonderful resource, free and welcoming to all.  You can come in for 10 minutes or two hours and leave refreshed and inspired. What a gift!