November 2018

A Letter from Our Friends President, Katie Remole

The Mark and Mary Goff Fiterman Fund was established in 1990. Mary Goff Fiterman’s gift to the Friends is a lasting testament to her generosity and curiosity about all that is art.

Mary Goff Fiterman.

Dear Friends,

The Friends are grateful for our many generous and dedicated members throughout our 96-year history. One of those stood apart—Mary Goff Fiterman. Many Friends had the pleasure of knowing Mary, but many newer members only know her as the namesake of the Friends lecture series.

Mary Goff Fiterman was a lifelong lover of the arts with a soft spot for Mia.  Prior to Mary’s passing in 2010, she would often recall childhood Sunday visits to the museum with her mother, getting to know and love the collection.  Mary came to embrace all forms of art, including books, theatre, architecture and music and was a passionate supporter of artists.

She was also a devoted member and supporter of the Friends of the Institute.  When Mary established the Mark and Mary Goff Fiterman Fund in 1990–and later bolstered it with a substantial legacy gift–she wanted to bring the people behind the art to Mia, in order to enrich all of us. Her gift is a lasting testament to her generosity and curiosity about all that is art.

Mary Goff Fiterman wasn’t content to merely write checks.  In the early days of the fund, she used to delight in brainstorming ideas for speakers, and she loved to entertain them during their visit to Minneapolis. Mary invited film stars, designers, artists, art historians, princesses, ballerinas, entertainers, collectors and cultural icons. The fund’s roster has included people from varied artistic disciplines—designer Gloria Vanderbilt, arts champion Kitty Carlisle Hart, Fabergé expert Archduke Dr. Geza von Habsburg,  ballerina Suzanne Farrell and actress Debbie Reynolds. After their visit, Mary often continued to correspond with our speakers and became close friends with many of them.

As Friends of the Institute continue her tradition of inviting interesting and engaging speakers, we wish to invoke Mary Goff Fiterman’s quick wit, twinkling eyes and engaging smile.  She wants us to, and I quote from her bequest, “…focus on well-known celebrities in their fields…” She went on to say,  “I want the lecture series to be exciting, unusual, eclectic—all resulting in a big draw and attendance, as it has been since its inception.”  

The first two lectures of the Friends 2018-19 Lecture Series were sponsored by the Mark and Mary Goff Fiterman lecture fund.  Aileen Riberio and Amanda Lucidon were immensely successful in a way Mary Fiterman would have approved. It is our hope that Friends continues to meet and exceed Mary Goff Fiterman’s expectations.

Warmest wishes,

Katie Remole
President, Friends of the Institute

A Random Walk Through Mia

November 8, 2018 11:00 am


Pillsbury Auditorium

Ticket Price: Free

November Friends Lecture to feature former Star Tribune visual arts columnist Mary Abbe

“Wrestling Art into Words: A Random Walk through Mia” lecture presented by Friends of the Institute, will highlight Mary Abbe. This award winning journalist opened up an entire world to readers through her visual arts column that ran in the Star Tribune from 1984-2016. 

Her world was one of stories—of art, artists, curators, gallery and museum staff, art lawyers, restorers, movers and more. Retired now, Abbe says that roaming art galleries is still one of her favorite diversions. Join us as we listen to her stories inspired by Mia—its art, people and community. 

Free tickets are available by clicking the link at the bottom or by calling 612.870.6323

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November Friends Only Book Club

November 16, 2018 10:00 am


Mia Art Research & Reference Library

Ticket Price: Free to Friends Members

Join the Friends Only Book Club to discuss  Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson.

November Friends Book Club selection.

Join us on Friday, November 16 at 10 AM in the Mia Art Research & Reference Library, first floor Target Wing, to discuss Erik Larson’s masterful novel Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania.

After our moderator-led book discussion, we will take a docent tour related to the novel.

A New York Times book review called Erik Larson one of the modern masters of popular narrative nonfiction.  He is both a resourceful reporter and a subtle stylist. The mighty ocean liner Lusitania was the paragon of civilization; big and fast, strong and sleek, tricked out with every kind of innovation, it was a White City on the high seas.  And hunting it was an ever sly and furtive machine of the deep, a nautical sociopath with an unquenchable thirst for bringing down tonnage. When it comes to the story of the sociopath, the Larson magic is very much on display in Dead Wake.

Please reserve your spot by calling the Friends Office at 612.870.3045. There are only 20 spots available for this event.

Mia Book Club does not meet in December.  Mark your calendar for Friday, January 11 for the first Mia Book Club meeting of 2019!

Please contact Jeanne Scheiderer, with any questions.  

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

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Friends-Only Tour: Egypt’s Sunken Cities

November 20, 2018 12:30 pm


Target Galleries

Ticket Price: Free to Friends Members

An exclusive tour of Egypt’s Sunken Cities will be hosted by Mia’s Curator of African Art, Arts of Africa and the Americas Department Head, Jan-Lodewijk Grootaers. Numbers are limited–sign up now!

The bust of the colossal statue of Hapy has been strapped with webbings before being cautiously raised out of the water of Aboukir bay, Egypt. Photo: Christoph Gerigk © Franck Goddio / Hilti Foundation.

Don’t miss an exclusive Friends-only opportunity for 20 people to tour Egypt’s Sunken Cities, presented by U.S. Bank, with Mia’s curator of African Art, Jan-Lodewijk Grootaers.  He will tell the epic story of one of the greatest finds in the history of underwater archaeology, a story that revealed two lost cities of ancient Egypt submerged under the Mediterranean Sea for over a thousand years. The tour will meet in the Regis Fountain Court on Tuesday, November 20 at 12:30 PM.

Grootaers will bring to life many of the 200 authentic artifacts ranging from the colossal sculptures to precious gold coins and jewelry, bronze vessels, objects inscribed in the ancient Egyptian or Greek languages, and statues from the sunken and forgotten ancient cities of Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus. They will be seen alongside ancient Egyptian artifacts from museums in Cairo and Alexandria, many of which have never been on view in the United States.

Contact the Friends Office to sign up for this limited enrollment tour by calling 612.870.3045 or emailing

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

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How to Forge a Rare Book

December 13, 2018 11:00 am


Pillsbury Auditorium

Ticket Price: Free

Renowned historian to discuss how he uncovered a rare book forgery at Friends Lecture on December 13.

Dr. Nick Wilding will speak on December 13

Please join the Friends of the Institute as Dr. Nick Wilding presents, “How to Forge a Rare Book.”  

Dr. Wilding, faculty member at Georgia State University, is an Early Modern Historian with expertise on Galileo Galilei (the famous astronomer) and on the history of books.  Wilding became widely renowned by uncovering a forgery of a book published by Galileo in 1610 that contained some of his greatest discoveries. Hear Wilding describe how he revealed a fake book that had already been accepted as authentic by international consensus.  Dr. Wilding’s knowledge of early manuscripts, as well as his very discerning eye, led to this remarkable story of discovering what is authentic in today’s world of sophisticated fabrication and technology.

Nick Wilding is an associate professor at Georgia State University and teaches Early Modern Europe, as well as the history of books.  In particular, Dr. Wilding is an expert on Galileo Galilei, the giant of astronomy and modern physics. Wilding’s expertise became obvious in recent years as he studied a copy of a book Galileo wrote in 1610, titled Sidereus Nuncius (Starry Messenger).  Unlike the 90 some other copies of the book that exist today, the one before Nick Wilding was a forgery.  But it was a forgery so well done that he had a challenge ahead of him to convince others.

The story of the original text is also fascinating.  In 1609, seeking a new job or a pay raise, Galileo invented a new telescope that could magnify 8X (as opposed to 2X of recently available spyglasses).   He presented the telescope as a gift to the Senate of Venice and, in return, was granted tenure and a doubled salary.  Within months he also developed a 20X telescope that opened the heavens for him! (Described here).   With the heavens more visible, he could affirm that the moon was not perfectly spherical but had mountains and craters.  He also discovered four of the moons of Jupiter, thus presenting new evidence of multiple centers of rotation in the universe and decentering the Earth.  One historian has called Galileo’s book of discoveries “the most extraordinary episode in the history of scientific publishing.”

It was not simple for Nick Wilding to reveal the forgery.  An international group of scholars had met in Berlin and declared the copy authentic.   They believed that minor differences in the text could be explained by understanding the newly found copy as a “proof copy,” unique unto itself.  The book, already purchased by the dealer Martayan Lan, was valued at $10M.  

As one scholar indicated, Dr. Wilding brought to the debate a fresh set of eyes and a thorough knowledge of Galileo’s patrons and friends.  Wilding challenged the explanation that the book was a proof copy.  Others came forward with their own doubts.  And gradually the consensus changed.

 We are fortunate to have Dr. Wilding present to us.  Forgeries have been with us throughout history and it is astounding to realize that new technologies make it possible to imitate all aspects of the original publication even after 400 years.  I look forward to hearing and learning “How to Forge a Rare Book.” 

Free tickets are available by clicking the link at the bottom or by calling 612.870.6323.

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Save the Date! December Friends Luncheon

December 13, 2018 12:30 pm


Reception Hall, Target Wing

Ticket Price: $30

Reserve your spot for the Friends’ Holiday Luncheon on Thursday December 13 in the Reception Hall, third floor of Target Wing.

Following the December lecture by Nick Wilding on “How to Forge a Rare Book,”  join the Friends for a holiday luncheon in the Reception Hall.

The menu includes Old English Winter Chicken Pot Pie followed by Lemon Cake with Almond Buttercream. A vegetarian option is also available. Please request when you make your reservation.

The cost is $30 including tax and gratuities.  All reservations MUST be received by Wednesday,  December 5 by 4PM.

Call 612.870.6323 today to reserve your luncheon space.

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

Join The Friends

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New Friends Home Page on Mia website

One-stop shopping for Friends can be found on the new Friends home page on!

Friends events and information is now available on the new Friends home page.

The Friends are happy to announce that we now have a dedicated home page within the Mia website.

All things Friends can be found here—events, how to get tickets,  joining or renewing memberships, history of Friends, the newsletter and lots more. 

The home page can be found at or by searching “Friends” on the Mia home page

Save the Date for Friends Fundraising Event featuring the New Bell Museum

January 31, 2019 5:30 pm


Reception Hall, Target Wing

Ticket Price: $75

The Architect and Director of the new Bell Museum, Minnesota’s natural history museum, will be the featured speakers at a Friends cocktail party in the Target Reception Hall on Thursday, January 31, 2019. 

The architecture of the new Bell Museum on the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus will be the focus of a Friends event on January 31 at the museum.

With Thanksgiving approaching it might seem premature to talk about a January event—but it’s not too early to mark your calendar for the first Friends event of 2019!  We invite you to join us for an evening at Mia celebrating the University of Minnesota’s beautiful, new Bell Museum.

The event will feature Design Director and architect David Dimond of Perkins+Will and Bell Museum Executive Director Denise Young discussing the building’s unique design, challenges of the move, and new features. Docent-led tours of Mia’s permanent collection donated by members of the Bell family and other pieces inspired by nature will be featured. Wine and appetizers to be included.

Mark your calendars for this special event and look for more information in upcoming Friends Newsletters. This event will be open to Friends members and the public. Bring your friends and entice them to become Friends! Tickets will be available on Mia’s website soon. 

Friends Welcome New Operations Manager

Jackie Figueroa has a new title but is a familiar face in the Friend’s office.

Friends Operations Manager Jackie Figueroa

Just because Jackie Figueroa (“Fig-air-O-ah”) doesn’t love to be the center of attention doesn’t mean she isn’t at home at the center of a busy organization, which is a good thing now that she’s the new Friends Operations Manager. Maybe being part of a self described “big, loud, crazy, family” has something to do with that.

Jackie grew up in Vadnais Heights and has a degree in Fashion Merchandising from St. Catherine’s University. Her love of the arts and learning comes from her grandparents who immigrated to the United States from El Salvador, Russia, and Poland. They instilled in her family the importance of arts and education, and Jackie’s been an avid museum goer and visitor of Mia since she was a child.

Jackie started working in the Store at Mia five years ago and also served as the Art in Bloom Project Assistant in 2017and 2018.  “While most people might say Art in Bloom is tops, my favorite Friends program is the Buy-A-Bus initiative,” Jackie says. “What a simple way to support adolescent learning and expose young minds to the arts!” 

Jackie’s passion for Mia matches that of the Friends. “My favorite thing about Mia is our accessibility,” she says. “To work in a place of beauty and learning has been a dream. But the fact that it’s free..THAT is truly amazing.”   

Welcome, Jackie, to our Friends team. We are so happy to have you!

Art in Bloom 2019: Meet the Co-Chairs

Barb Champ and Kris King bring a lifetime of love for Mia and a long history with the event to the table for Art in Bloom 2019.

Art in Bloom 2019 Co-Chairs Barb Champ and Kris King

Art in Bloom, the annual celebration of art and flowers presented by the Friends of the Institute, will celebrate its 36th year at the Minneapolis Institute of Art from April 11 to 14, 2019.

Mia’s galleries will once again be filled with vibrant spring colors and the buzz of some 50,000 visitors as more than 165 floral arrangements interpret and complement works of art from the museum’s collection.

Managing this extravaganza is a year-long planning effort led by the Art in Bloom Co-Chairs. This year we are happy to introduce and welcome the AIB 2019 Co-Chairs, Barb Champ and Kris King. For both of them this is a labor of love.

Kris King has been involved with Art in Bloom since she retired after 37 years as the National Customer Relations Manager for a national corporation. She returns this year for a second time as the Art in Bloom Co-Chair for 2019. Her enthusiasm for the Friends of the Institute and Mia continues to enrich her life, and her favorite part of Art in Bloom is watching the visitors’ faces as they enter the museum, all with big smiles, wide eyes and appreciative words for this yearly floral celebration that welcomes spring.

Kris developed her organizational skills at an early age as the oldest child of a large family, and her very large extended family continues to be her cornerstone for all that has followed. She is an avid reader, with a deep appreciation for art, and a weekly passion for Mah Jongg and Pilates to keep her on her toes.

Barb had a 42-year career with a national department store. Before retiring in 2014, she was a human resources director for store locations in Minnesota and Wisconsin. In this role, she supported store strategies, training, executive development, recruitment, employee relations, and human resources compliance.

Serving as co-chair for the Art in Bloom Shop the last four years was the perfect way for Barb to channel her energy and enthusiasm for retail and people, and to discover her love of Mia. As a Friend of the Institute, she has also served as the liaison for the organization’s St. Cloud Friends chapter. Barb enjoys her involvement with Mia not only because she gets to lead, mentor, and execute initiatives, but especially because she believes Mia makes art accessible and enables her to participate in art rather than just spectate. She was so honored to be tapped to co-chair an event that supports this accessibility and participation in our community.

When she’s not volunteering, Barb treasures time with her family—namely her husband, Hal, and four(soon to be five) grandchildren, friends and attending and watching sporting events.

This year Art in Bloom will run concurrently with the final week of Mia’s major exhibition, Egypt’s Sunken Cities. The Co-Chairs have been working with Mia staff to make sure these two events will satisfy all of our visitors to the museum, as they have the opportunity to view Egypt’s Sunken Cities and enjoy the floral interpretations and events of Art in Bloom 2019.    

Coincidentally, the signature image for Art in Bloom, selected before learning that Art in Bloom would be running during the final week of Egypt’s Sunken Cities, happens to be Egyptian, with tiny pyramids in the background. Barb and Kris can’t wait to reveal this image in November and add an Egyptian flair to Art in Bloom.  

Barb and Kris will continue beloved events, such as the Fashion Show and Formal Luncheon, Flowers after Hours, and of course the AIB Shop; but also hope to  put the “Preview” back in the “Preview Party” with some new twists allowing guests to see more of the artistry of the Pedestal Floral Artists.

An event of this size does not run without the assistance of over 350 volunteers, and many of them return year after year. But Barb and Kris will be looking for new volunteers this year, knowing that you will experience the joy of this spring celebration and return each spring. Watch future newsletters for information on being a part of this wonderful event.