Meet a Friend

Membership: Friends and Family

Membership Co-chair, Allison Fox Greene, Shares her Friends Membership Story.

When I moved back to Minneapolis after many years away, my mother gifted me a Friends membership. What a wonderful welcome home it was, and a fantastic way to reconnect with Mia and our amazing community of art lovers.

Do you know someone who shares your interest in the arts and is looking for ways to get involved? There has never been a better time to introduce them to The Friends! The year ahead is so full of opportunities to spend time together at Mia, from lectures to book clubs to Friends-only tours, not to mention our Centennial celebration. 

Mia has always been a passion my mom and I have shared, and it is such an honor to now follow in her footsteps and serve on the Friends board. Perhaps you can spark a Friends legacy in your family as well.

This year membership is taking a NEW approach. We are starting all memberships and all renewals on January 1.

Next month, all members will receive a reminder to renew their membership for the 2022 membership year, so this might be a great time to think about which of your family members and/or friends could also become your Friends!

If you have any questions about membership, please email us at We look forward to hearing from you!


Meet a Friend: Katie Searl

After nearly three decades as a Mia volunteer and Friend—Katie Searl has lots of good memories, wise words, and a bright outlook on the future. 

How long have you been a Friend? 

Friend Katie Searl and granddaughter Tilly with their drawings at The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.

I began volunteering at Mia in the early ’90s when I was looking for a new project after a short stint as a part-time clothing buyer for the Rolling Green Country Club pro shop.  My first volunteer jobs were with the Antique Show, eventually co-chairing the show with Glenda Struthers and then chairing the Decorative Arts Council.  After that, Margene Fox invited me to serve on the Friends Board, and I’ve held a variety of positions over the years, including chairing Art in Bloom twice and serving as Friends President from 2009 – 2011. I loved serving as Friends President. As a stay-at-home mom, I relished the opportunity to have my own office and be treated as part of the Mia staff.  I felt if I was part of that young, talented and energetic team, I didn’t have to grow old!  Even better were the friendships forged and enriched by working on so many projects together, and I was privileged to work every day with Nicole Berns, who is talented and accomplished and made being in the Friends office so much fun. 

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

There are many notable speakers that I enjoyed seeing and having the opportunity to meet, including Debbie Reynolds, Martha Stewart, Geza von Habsburg, and Princess Corsini.  One particularly memorable and humorous moment stands out.  A young and stylish speaker wearing a very short and form-fitting black dress and hot pink suede heels discovered that she had a hole in the seam of her dress, which exposed a pale patch of skin. She asked if anyone had a pin to close the gap or a needle and thread to make a quick repair. When neither could be found, she asked for a black marker and colored her skin black—problem solved, and off she went to the stage! More recently, I was particularly touched and inspired by Sarah Bellamy’s timely message about equity, diversity, inclusion, and the power of race. 

 How about a favorite artwork? 

Mia is filled with an amazing collection of beautiful, exquisite, and amazing art. However, my interest and work have focused on how the museum and the collection provide a vehicle to bring people together: as they work together, as they volunteer together, as they celebrate spring together at Art in Bloom, as students visiting the museum, as groups on a docent-led tour, as they learn together at lectures and so much more. 

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

I was, and still am, in awe of what the Friends create, together with Mia, and what joy we provide for the community. One of the things that’s made me proud, and sometimes moved me to tears, was to stand in the museum’s entryway and see people, every kind of person imaginable, stream in for Art in Bloom.  Going forward, Mia will be even more important in the vital quest to connect diverse communities, and the Friends through Art in Bloom and our efforts to support the museum can play a key role. And finally, for me, the best collection of all has always been the collection of Friends who are now friends and have enriched my life beyond measure.  I cherish them all. 

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!