President’s Letter

Dear Friends,

My Thanksgiving celebration will be very different this year. Nonetheless, it’s still my favorite holiday when I eat my home-made cranberry sauce, and give thanks for the opportunity to slow down and see the good that surrounds me.

Thank you to the fall season,and for beautiful colors.

Thank you to Mia for the wonder of art.

Thank you to Friends members for their support.

Thank you to Rochester and St. Cloud Friends for their loyalty.

Thank you to the Friends board and volunteers for their dedication and hard work.

Thank you to the Friends office administrator for her expertise and good cheer.

Thank you to Mia staff for their friendship and willingness to help.

Here’s one I’ve grown to appreciate more and more – thank you to technology that ties us together.

My list could go on and on.

 Finally, I am grateful for the love of family and friends. I’ll always cherish my childhood memories of Thanksgivings at my grandparents’ home, when even creamed corn and cranberry jelly straight out of the can could be delectable. My very favorite was “clam paste” – a clam dip eaten with potato chips that was made with cream cheese, canned chopped clams, and Worcestershire sauce.

 I wish you a Thanksgiving holiday full of gratitude, fond memories, and good food. 

Friends Satellites

Friends have Friends North and South! 

The Friends organization is lucky enough to have two satellite groups—one in Rochester and one in St. Cloud—to help support the collections, programs, and influence of the museum and bring more art to their respective communities. 

Members of the Rochester Boys & Girls Club

The Rochester Friends was founded 38 years ago by Patricia Weeks and five friends. They hosted an information meeting that inspired sixty local residents to become members to promote Mia and bring arts programming to the Rochester area. Rochester Friends invite Mia curators to speak locally and organize adult bus trips to attend lectures, tours, and special exhibitions, including Art in Bloom. They are also kind enough to sponsor coffee and treats at the monthly Friends lectures (when they’re in person).  Last year, the Rochester Friends sponsored a bus to bring members and staff from the Boys and Girls Club of Rochester to Mia to tour Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists. Co-Chairs Alison Good and Sharon Parham report that the Rochester Friends Board has continued to meet via ZOOM during the pandemic, encouraging members to attend virtual lectures and tours, remind them to renew their membership, and spread the word that Mia is open and safe to visit during this unprecedented time.


St. Cloud Friends sponsor the annual juried high school art exhibit.

The St. Cloud Friends was established 35 years ago with a similar mission to support and enhance the programs and influence of Mia. They help provide transportation for private and public school students in the St. Cloud area to attend tours at the museum. To further foster local students’ connection with art, the St Cloud Friends are award sponsors for the annual juried high school art exhibit at The Paramount Center For The Arts. The St. Cloud Friends also raise awareness of Mia’s arts programming by bringing curators and speakers to St. Cloud to present on various topics, including special exhibitions. Board Chair Amanda Falloon fondly recalls a few such events, “Our time shared with Eike Schmidt (James Ford Bell curator of decorative arts and sculpture) and his lovely wife Roberta, celebrating the museum’s 100 years, our own 30 years AND the Habsburgs was tremendous. It was Eike’s second visit to St. Cloud, and he and his wife were our overnight guests. It may, however, be Matthew Welch’s (Mia Deputy Director and Chief Curator) program on the Louvre that holds the record for our largest dinner event in recent St Cloud Friends history!”


November Friends Only Tour

November 17, 2020 11:00 am



Ticket Price: Free

Friends get an exclusive tour of the renovated Southeast Asian galleries.

Pujan Gandhi, photo by Elizabeth Flores, Star Tribune









Pujan Gandhi,  Jane Emison Assistant Curator of South & Southeast Asian Art, will give the Friends a preview of the newly renovated Southeast Asian galleries, sharing his hope for deepening the community’s engagement with the dynamic arts of these vast regions.

Gandhi came to Mia in 2018. An interesting interview he did with the Star Tribune shortly after arriving can be found here.  Before this, he was based in Atlanta, where he served as a consulting curator at the High Museum of Art. Gandhi received degrees from Middlebury College, University of London, also interning at the British Museum. While he has been stewarding Mia’s South, Southeast Asian, and Islamic collections, he considers himself a generalist. 

The tour will be approximately 30 minutes with an additional ten minutes for questions. It is limited to 30 participants, so make your reservation soon by emailing For those who are unable to attend, we hope to have a recording of this exciting event.

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

Join The Friends

November Friends Book Club

November 20, 2020 10:00 am



Ticket Price: Free

Join us for a discussion about Edith Wharton’s 12th book, The Age of Innocence, published in 1920. 

This novel is about a man, Newland Archer, and his marriage to May Welland which takes place in New York City in 1870. This romantic novel takes many twists and turns and is compounded by Archer’s new-found love for Countess Ellen Olenska.  

Notedly, this book won a Pulitzer in 1921, and it’s a wonderful get-away book while in quarantine.

Sidenote: The October Book Club was led by Mia’s Book Club Leader Debra Hegstrom and Docent Suzanne Zander. The Grace of Silence: A Memoir by Michele Norris is a timely history of Michele Norris’ family and life as it evolved from Alabama to South Minneapolis. This book is a wonderful read and eye-opening historical experience of the character of Minneapolis in the 1950s.

Please send an email to to register for November’s meeting and receive a Zoom invitation. Space is limited to 15 people so don’t wait!


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

Join The Friends

Friends Lecture Series

November 12, 2020 11:00 am



Ticket Price: Free

Threat and Response: Saving the World’s Manuscript Heritage from Imminent Danger

Father Columbia Stewart, Director of the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library will give the Friends November Lecture. 

Violent extremism, sectarian conflict, and the relentless pressures of globalization are destroying the written sources of human civilization. Hear how the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (HMML) is responding to these threats. HMML is the only institution in the world exclusively dedicated to the photographic preservation and study of manuscripts, with a particular emphasis on manuscripts located in places where war, security, or economic conditions pose a threat. HMML is making a critical impact in these preservation efforts around the world, including the Middle East, Ethiopia, South Asia, and the former Soviet Union—all areas that are rich in ancient cultures, yet currently torn by political instability and lack of resources. 

Father Columba Stewart, a Benedictine monk and Executive Director of the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library at St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota, will talk about his team’s work digitally preserving manuscripts of diverse world cultures and religions at risk of being destroyed by war, disaster, looting, and neglect. 

Since its founding in 1965, HMML has worked with libraries in more than 20 countries to photograph historic manuscripts in dozens of languages. Some of the original manuscripts were later destroyed, stolen, lost, or moved for safekeeping. The library now holds the largest online collection of manuscripts in the world and makes them available on the vHMML Reading Room, an online environment for manuscript studies.

Upon becoming Executive Director of HMML in 2003, Father Columba embarked upon extensive travels throughout the world to establish working relationships with communities possessing manuscript collections dating from the early medieval period to modern times. Since then, HMML has digitized manuscripts from some of the world’s most dangerous and inaccessible places. Father Columba and his team accomplish this by working with local leaders to photograph manuscripts, “to ensure that their deposits of wisdom, their libraries of handwritten texts, the voices of their past, can join the global conversations of the digital era.” Father Columba has said, “We don’t always know trouble is coming, but we have a history of being there just in time.  People can say it’s serendipity, but I believe in providence.”     

A graduate of Harvard, Yale and Oxford Universities, Father Columba has written extensively on his research of early Christian monasticism. In 1981, he joined the Benedictines, the order that built libraries in the Middle Ages, preserving and reproducing Bibles and other religious and philosophical texts by hand. He is the recipient of numerous awards, grants, and fellowships. Most recently, he was the first Minnesotan invited to give the 2019 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the highest honor the federal government bestows for distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities.

 A Mark and Mary Goff Fiterman lecture.


Save the Date for the December Friends Only Tour

December 8, 2020 11:00 am



Ticket Price: Free

Untitled, 1988, Dawoud Bey

Save the date for our next Friends Only Event! Casey Riley, Curator and Head of Mia’s Department of Photography and New Media will take us on a virtual tour of the beautiful and heartbreaking “Just Kids” exhibition, before it closes on December 13.

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

Join The Friends

New Virtual Tours at Mia 

A Variety of Tours, Facilitated by Mia Docents and Guides, are Now Offered Via Zoom

In addition to monthly tours that are exclusive to Friends members, Mia also offers a variety of virtual public tours that Friends are welcome to attend from the comfort of their home. Just sign up, grab something to sip, and open up a world of art on your device!

Current Conversations
Current Conversations tours explore a new topic related to Mia’s permanent collection. Tours are offered the first Thursday and second Saturday of the month at 1PM. 

Public Book Tours 
Mia’s popular public book tours are back. Virtual book tours relate works of art to popular books. A new book will be presented each month, on the third Tuesday at 1PM and the fourth Thursday at 6:30PM. Online registration is available for public tours on Mia’s website:

Virtual Private Tours 
Virtual private tours are available for groups of 8 to 20 on a topic of your choice. To request a private tour, fill out the Virtual Tour Request Form. Similar to the in-gallery tours at Mia, during virtual tours your guide will invite you to look closely at artworks and ask open-ended questions to help you make connections and engage in conversation. All virtual tours are free. We extend a pay-what-you-wish donation opportunity to participants to support the museum. 

School Tours
Some of you may be wondering about tours for our younger museum visitors. The good news is that starting this fall, virtual Art Adventure tours are available to schools via Zoom. All Picture People will be trained online to present Art Adventure artworks in virtual classroom visits and the school can request a virtual tour with an Art Adventure guide. 

The Object is an exploration of the strange and wonderful true stories behind museum objects. Produced by Mia and charmingly hosted by Mia editor Tim Gihring, each audio episode is about 20 minutes—fun to listen to in the car, on a walk, while making dinner, or anytime.


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!