President’s Letter

Dear Members,

Have you strolled the Mia galleries lately? Simply walking into the building is a color trip as russet, gold and lime leaves swirl around Third Avenue.

I recommend a visit to The Contemporary Print, 20 Years at Highpoint Editions exhibition (October 9 through January 9). The remarkable prints hanging on the walls (such as Harriet by Rico Gatson, pictured below) are buoyed by labels that spotlight the printmaking process.

Rico Gatson (American, born 1966), Harriet, 2018, Color photolithograph and photopolymer gravure.

The exhibition includes a pop-up print studio where local artists conduct live printmaking every other Saturday. On your way out, consider a stop at Agra Culture for a cup of hot coffee and a generously sized cookie.

As always, our dedicated committees have planned an outstanding itinerary of events for you. As members you are invited to:

  • Shop at our clearance sale on December 1 and 2. Find beautiful new items originally purchased for the 2019 and 2020 Art in Bloom shop. All items priced to sell. More details to come.
  • Participate in the Friends book club and private tour on Friday, November 20. We’re reading Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer.
  • Attend the Friends lecture on Thursday, November 11. Tova Brandt, Director of the Danish Museum will talk about mid-century modern Danish design.
  • Attend a Friends Only talk on Wednesday, November 17. The topic is Post-Impressionism.
  • Mark your calendars — January 20, 2022 will be an exceptionally brilliant day with the Friends Centennial kick-off lecture and luncheon. Eike Schmidt, director of the Uffizi Gallery in
    Florence will give the Fiterman Lecture, followed by an elegant luncheon in the Target Reception Hall. Look for your invitation soon.

These events were planned with you in mind. Enjoy these and all the  benefits of your membership by renewing early. Details and ticketing are found in this newsletter.

Thanks for being a Friend of the Institute.

My best,

Stepping Back in Time

Friends Sales and Rental Gallery

When the Little Gallery opened within the museum’s gift shop in 1961, its mission was to draw attention to  regional sculptors, graphic artists, and painters and their work.

To find the artists represented, the Little Gallery coordinator, often accompanied by  a volunteer, would travel throughout the region to scout outstanding talent at college and university art departments, art centers, local studios and art shows. Ads were placed in art magazines and newspapers requesting interested artists to submit resumes and slides to the Gallery.

To approve the art, a selection review committee was established that consisted of local collectors, artists, and curators. Excellence in originality and technique were important criteria for selection. The art was reasonably priced, with intent to sell. These Upper Midwest artists experienced exposure to a wider market, increasing the number of potential buyers.

The name was eventually changed to the Friends Sales and Rental Gallery, largely run by Friends volunteers and a paid coordinator. Two-month rentals were available to Minneapolis Society of Fine Arts members, with most prices beginning at just $50. If preferred, these pieces could also be purchased by members as well as the general public. Profits from the gallery were designated towards the wish list submitted by the museum director.

In 1975, the Friends Gallery initiated annual exhibitions at area corporate business offices such as 1st National Bank of St. Paul, Ellerbe, Inc., and National Life Insurance Company. Invitations were sent out for exhibition openings, with the event often including celebrity hosts. The exhibition would remain open for several weeks, allowing area businesses to enjoy the art as well as purchase favorite pieces for their own private collections.

Friends felt it was important to provide an educational component to the Gallery’s existence so in 1980, a complimentary mini-course was offered called “Viewpoints on Collecting Contemporary Art.”  Shortly afterwards, a one-day walking tour of galleries and artist studios was arranged, allowing visitors to converse with area artists.

Unfortunately in 1986 the Friends Board voted to phase out the Gallery. As written to one artist, “At a time when there are fewer galleries in the area to provide artists with an opportunity to exposure, fewer consultants and a strong need for the educational role of our gallery, we felt that we could provide an unmet need in the community. With the changing needs of the Institute and the growing number of galleries and consultants in the community it was felt that the Gallery had fulfilled the mission it set out to accomplish.”

A reminder: Friends membership renewals will be due in January of 2022. (Please note that next year all renewals will take place at one time, not scattered throughout the year as previously done.) With your January renewal, you will continue to enjoy all the benefits of being a Friends member and you will receive your complementary copy of Friends for One Hundred Years: A Lasting Legacy. This book highlights the past 100 years of Friends and guides us into the next era of supporting Mia, the surrounding community, and enjoying the strong friendships we have developed sharing these same goals.

The Centennial History Publication Committee
Pamela Friedland
Linda Goldenberg
Mary Merrick
Suzanne Payne
Connie Sommers


Art in Bloom 2022

Eugene Delacroix, French, 1798-1863, Still Life with Dahilias, Zinnias, Hollyhocks, and Plums (detail), c. 1835, oil on canvas, Gift of funds from the Friends of the Institute in celebration of their 100th anniversary, with generous support from Nivin MacMillan, Mary Agnes and Al McQuinn, Sheila C. Morgan, and Mary and Douglas Olson

The 2022 Art in Bloom (AIB) committee held its first meeting on October 6th where they unveiled their signature image, Still Life with Dahlias, Zinnias, Hollyhocks and Plums. Dated: c. 1835. Artist: Eugène DelacroixThis piece was selected to honor the gift the Friends made to the museum during Mia’s Centennial year.

Co-chairs, Kris Bjorklund and Sheila Folkestad, along with an exceptional committee are looking forward to bringing Art In Bloom back to a live and in-person experience at the museum this coming spring. It’s also the Friends Centennial birthday, so we have much to celebrate.

We look forward to seeing you all at Art in Bloom.

Art in Bloom Co-chairs,
Kris Bjorklund and Sheila Folkestad

Friends Membership

New and existing membership news coming soon

In spite of the challenges of the past two years, the Friends have seen some of the most exciting growth in our history. Thanks to each of you, we are as vibrant as ever and poised to enter our second century with incredible momentum and increase in membership. 

In next month’s newsletter, we’ll introduce updates to the Friends membership renewal opportunity. 

In the meantime, please take advantage of all of the events that are available to the Friends members at Mia.

Friends for 100 Years: 2022 Centennial Calendar of Events

Save the date for a year of celebrations in honor of the Friends 100th anniversary. More details to come! 

January 20, 2022    Kickoff lecture, Eike Schmidt followed by a  celebratory luncheon

February 10, 2022   Bring a Friend, lecture and luncheon

April 17-August, 2022    Cargill Gallery Botanical Exhibit

April 27-May 1, 2022    Art in Bloom 

June 15, 2022    Joint Event – Friends and Hennepin History Museum

June 23, 2022     FairOaks Washburn Walking tour

June 24, 2022    FairOaks Washburn Walking tour   

July 14, 2022    Garden Party on Lake Minnetonka

August  TBA    Dahlia Unveiling

September 8, 2022   Sandy Schreier lecture and luncheon with informal modeling

September 9, 2022   Joint Event – Friends and Goldstein Museum Reception

October  TBA

November 10, 2022  Volunteer Recognition Reception following lecture – Special Thanks Rochester and St Cloud Friends

December 11, 2022    Learning and Innovation Program, Sankofa Project Ends


Delacroix Pledge Update

The Friends of the Institute, in celebration of their 100th anniversary, pledged a gift of $1,050,000 for Eugene Delacroix’s Still Life in Dahlias, Hollyhocks and Plums (detail) (1835). As the Friends celebrate their legacy with this beautiful gift to Mia in their centennial year, the progress made towards fulfilling our commitment will be featured by bringing the painting into full bloom with generous gifts from you!

Checks can be made out to “Friends of the Institute” and sent to the Friends office. Please indicate that your donation is for the Delacroix Fund. For gifts other than checks, please contact the Friends Office for assistance by calling 612-870-3045.

Our address is:

Friends of the Institute, Minneapolis Institute of Art

2400 Third Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55404

November Friends Lecture

November 11, 2021 11:00 am



Ticket Price: Free

Tova K. Brandt on “Furnishing with a Scandinavian Accent”

Join Tova Brandt (at left), executive director of the Museum of Danish America and the Albert Ravenholt Curator of Danish-American Culture at the Museum of Danish America, for this third lecture in our 2021-22 series.

We’ll explore how Scandinavian Americans have expressed their cultural identity through the design and making of household objects.  We’ll learn the history of Danish and Norwegian immigration to America while seeing rosemaled plates, carved wooden chairs, Danish Modern furniture and collectible porcelain drawn from the collections of the Museum of Danish America, Mia, and the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum.  Ms. Brandt will also include a brief history of Norwegian rosemaling, or “rose painting,”  the traditional decorative painting that may be the best known of the Norwegian folk arts.

Ms. Brandt was previously curator at the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum in Decorah, Iowa. She has a strong interest in history, immigration and material culture, and has curated exhibitions such as “New Nordic Cuisine,” “Denmark – America’s Smallest and Biggest Ally,” and “Danish Modern: Design for Living”, which appeared in 2014 at the Goldstein Museum of Design in St. Paul.  A graduate of Bryn Mawr College with a degree in history and the University of Delaware’s Winterthur Program, she describes herself as a historian at heart.

The Museum of Danish America in Elk Horn, Iowa, west of Des Moines, is dedicated to collecting, preserving and interpreting Danish-American culture and telling the story of how Danish immigrants shaped American identity. The museum has over 30,000 objects in its collection, along with a prairie landscape, two historic houses and an extensive genealogy center.

Whether you have an interest in Scandinavian design, the history of Scandinavian immigration, or you just wonder what is the difference between all those Scandinavian countries, come hear Ms. Brandt speak.

Get Tickets

Friends Event

Post-Impressionist Art

Join us Wednesday, November 17 at 11am via Zoom for the Friends Only Tour led by Mia Guide Lucy Hicks.

Lucy is a graduate of the 2015 Mia Docent class, and will help us dive into the world of Post-Impressionist art.

Have you ever been in Gallery 359 or 360 and wondered why that girl’s face is green, the Thames River is yellow or Henri Matisse’s three bathers look like a child painted them. And those colors he used: what was he thinking? We will discuss how and why the artists created these masterpieces, which at first glance may look like anything but a masterpiece.

Space is limited to 30. Please RSVP to the Friends Office by November 15th. Email: or call 612-870-3045.

November Book Club: Braiding Sweetgrass

November 19, 2021 10:00 am



Ticket Price: Free

Braiding Sweetgrass

This month we are reading the New York Times and Washington Post bestseller Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer.

Please join us on Zoom on November 19 at 10am for the Friends Book Club. Our selection is Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer. This is a particularly special book as it was published by Minneapolis’ own Milkweed Press.

Kimmerer is a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. She writes from her perspectives as an Indigenous scientist, a mother, and a woman. “She shows how living beings—asters and goldenrod, strawberries and squash, salamander, algae, and sweetgrass, offer us gifts and lessons, even if we’ve forgotten how to hear their voices.”

A Friends guide will lead the discussion and take us on a personal selection of art pieces to complement the the book.

Contact the Friends Office to RSVP at or by calling 612-870-3045.

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

Join The Friends