November 2019

A Letter from the Friend’s President

The Friends have a wonderful history of restoration and conservation, Two upcoming  Friends Only events remember this part of the Friends mission over the years.

Maria Eggemeyer, Friends President

Dear Friends – 

On a stroll through the galleries to prepare for a tour, I came across St. Paul the Hermit, and right away thought of the Friends organization and its mission and dedication to support, enhance and sustain the collection, programs, and influence of the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Over its history, the Friends organization has provided Mia funds not only to acquire, but also to conserve art.

Since its acquisition by Mia, Andrea Bergondi’s larger than life Baroque statue struck a curious pose. Rapt in prayer, but also looking as though he was contemplating a dive into the evening lake, Saint Paul’s posture puzzled many who stopped to admire this magnificent statue carved from a single block of marble. Friends came to the rescue and provided Mia support for the statue’s restoration.

Mia staff had come across an old photograph in archives that showed Saint Paul the Hermit in the original position in prayer, looking to the heavens. According to , “Bergondi’s statue shows Saint Paul as he was when Saint Anthony last saw him. According to the influential Legenda Aurea (Golden Legend, written by Jacopo de Voragine in the 13th century), when Saint Anthony Abbott returned to his friend’s cave after having had the vision of his death, he found “his body upright on its knees as though praying, and he thought him to be still alive. But having realized that he had died, he said: ‘O saintly soul, you show in your death what you did throughout your life.’” Saint Paul had virtually become a statue of himself, and conversely, the statue of marble evokes the living saint.”

Andrea Bergondi (Italian), St. Paul the Hermit, 1772, marble. The Putnam Dana McMillan Fund, 73.2.

Art lovers can visit Gallery 314 to admire Bergondi’s eighteenth-century masterpiece in its proper posture, thanks to restoration by expert conservators from the Midwest Art Conservation Center. And it was Friends who came to the rescue and provided funds for this extensive effort. 

MACC Director Colin Turner has generously offered Friends a tour of the facility and their work this November 20th. For those of you lucky (and quick) enough to snag a spot, we look forward to seeing you in the coming weeks.

Thank you, Friends, for staying committed to the mission. Happy Thanksgiving!

Warmest regards,

Maria Eggemeyer

Friends President

Last chance for tickets to Creating a Landmark

November 7, 2019 5:30 pm


Reception Hall

Ticket Price: $75

Join the Friends for an evening celebrating the new Bell Museum! 

Courtesy of the Bell Museum and University of Minnesota.


A last-minute invitation for spontaneous fun–The Friends have added a few seats for next week’s evening with Bell Museum Executive Director Denise Young and award-winning architect David Dimond, Design Director of the Minneapolis studio of Perkins and Will, and Honored Guest Ford Bell, a Mia Trustee. We’ll hear about the design vision that’s made the new Bell such a fresh, yet timeless Midwest landmark, plus behind-the-scenes stories of the unique challenges of moving and restoring its famed dioramas.

Mia and the Bell Museum enjoy a close connection. Both were established in the late nineteenth century and benefited from the gifts of philanthropist James Ford Bell. He was an influential sponsor of the Bell Museum, renamed in his honor in 1968. The Bell family was also a benefactor of the then Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

Enjoy tours of Mia’s permanent collection that connect the two museums, including art donated by the Bell family, plus wine, beer and appetizers. Held in Mia’s Reception Hall, third-floor Target Wing. Tickets are $75. Call ‪612.870.6323 or reserve your space through the link below.

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Sarah Bellamy: The Power of Art and Social Change

November 14, 2019 11:00 am


Pillsbury Auditorium

Ticket Price: Free

Please join the Friends of the Institute on November 14 as they bring to you Sarah Bellamy and “The Power of Art and Social Change.”

Sarah Bellamy is Artistic Director for Penumbra Theatre Company. She has designed several programs that engage patrons in critical thinking, dialogue and action around issues of race and social justice. Select programs include Penumbra’s Race Workshop curated to accompany the Science Museum of Minnesota’s exhibit “RACE: Are We So Different?” and the Summer Institute, a leadership development program for teens to practice art for social change.

Bellamy serves various roles and is currently the Visiting Professor of Theatre and Culture at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, visiting instructor at Macalester College, vice chair of the board of directors for Theatre Communications Group and co-chair of its Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Committee. She is a leading facilitator around issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion and has led coalition building efforts to address inequities in philanthropy and theater. Her lectures on race and representation have been presented across the country illuminating the ways in which images, narratives, and media, influence perception and ultimately shape lives. She leverages the Penumbra Theatre’s respected platform to benefit us all, and proves that art can drive powerful and responsible civic engagement. She has been awarded a Hubert H. Humphrey Public Leadership Award from the University of Minnesota and is 2015 Bush Fellow.

Tickets are now available; reserve your spot by following the link below or by calling 612.870.6323.

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Friends November Book is “The Refugees” with themes related to “Artists Respond: American Art and the Vietnam War, 1965–1975”

November 15, 2019 10:00 am


Mia Library

Ticket Price: Free

Friends Only Book Club to meet Friday, November 15. Space is limited so make a reservation now!

The current special exhibition, Artists Respond: American Art and the Vietnam War 1965-1975, challenges us to rethink a tumultuous period in our nation’s history.  One continuing impact in our country today is the many refugees from southeast Asia who have immigrated to our nation and Minnesota.  Mia’s November book selection, The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen, will guide Friends Book Club attendees in revisiting this era via a discussion.

Any Friends member interested in a stimulating discussion of this award-winning book is invited to join the Book Club for the November meeting.  This month’s discussion will be lead by docent Susan Drummond who has traveled to Vietnam. Small group gallery tours will follow the book discussion and will be led by Mia docents.

Praise for The Refugees has been widespread since it was published in 2016.  As a collection of short stories, the author provides a glimpse into the lives of people from his homeland, Vietnam.  His humor and writing style along with poignant moments enrich our feelings and memories of this time period.

For further questions about this Friends Only Event please contact Elizabeth Winga,  

To make a reservation call the Friends office, 612.870.3045 or send an email to and leave your name.  There is a limit of 20 openings.

Friends Only Book Club is one more reason to join and support the Friends of Mia!

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

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Remembrance of our Friend

Pauline Altermatt is remembered as a True Friend

True Friend, Pauline Altermatt passed away recently and will be deeply missed. Her remembrance in the Star Tribune says she was “a member of the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and active with the Friends of the Institute.” And that she was!

As the longtime events manager of Dayton’s eighth-floor auditorium, Pauline sponsored many Friend’s fashion shows there, beginning in the 1950’s when she brought Emilio Pucci and his signature geometric silk prints all the way from Italy. Although not as gracious as the Sky Room, the auditorium held a larger audience, thereby raising more funds for the Friends of the Institute. The Friends fashion shows supported a variety of projects at Mia including furnishing Mia’s Pillsbury Auditorium, publishing a handbook of the Institute’s collection, and forming a new library. Over the years, Friends at the fashion shows could also contribute to museum needs such as exhibitions and catalogs, audio-visual equipment, acquisition of art, and school children and art education.

Pauline and her close friend Linda Boelter co-chaired Art in Bloom for two successful years, 2002 and 2011, and for several succeeding years worked together on the AIB Preview Party dinner, making sure every detail was perfect.

We will miss this treasured Friend.

The Power of George Washington: A Bus Tale

Mary Merrick recounts a story about the power of giving to the Friends Transportation Fund

Long-time docent, former Friends Board member, and active volunteer Mary Merrick has witnessed firsthand the power of art experienced by children brought to Mia by Friends funded school buses, and she has a heart-warming story to share.

I welcomed  a second grade class, ethnically diverse and full of energy, for a safari tour of Mia.  We looked at objects throughout the collection (climbing as many stairs as possible) and as we traveled from the Benin Leopard to the Chinese pig sty and cricket cages and Picasso’s Baboon, the class clown and the  college level brainiac quickly revealed themselves.  Kids at this age are eager to share but two or three girls kept to themselves at the back of the group and one especially was reluctant to even make eye contact.  We walked along single file on the third floor and the group gathered at the Thomas Sully portrait of George Washington. That very shy young Somali girl actually pushed herself to the front and was alive with excitement as she exclaimed “ I know who this is, I know who this is!   It’s our First President, George Washington!”  With little prompting she proceeded to tell us all about George with a very big confident smile, and became part of the group as we explored all the symbolism in the painting.   As we moved on, the little girl and her friends were now at the front of the line with their classmates cheerfully falling in behind.   I couldn’t help but think to myself that George must be smiling as he continues to inspire and unite. I marveled at my good fortune at witnessing the Power of Art—and the power of the Friends—first hand.”

Join Mary Merrick—be a friend, honor a friend, celebrate a friend, or remember a friend by buying a bus and bringing 45 students to Mia.

Contact the Friends Office at 612.870.3045 to buy a bus for $200, or a wheel on the bus for $50.  You’ll receive a miniature yellow school bus to present to your recipient (or yourself)!

Save the Date for this Friends Only Event

December 5, 2019 11:00 am


General Mills Lobby

Ticket Price: $20; Tour: Free

For Friends Only: A Curator led tour is this December’s Friends Only event. 

Thursday, December 5, 2019

11 AM – 12PM

How do artists respond to war? What makes effective protest art? Does art change in times of crisis?

Curator of Paintings Bob Cozzolino will lead a tour of the exhibition, “Artists Respond: American Art and the Vietnam War, 1965-1975”, offering historical insight into this turbulent period in history. 

You must be a Friends member to attend this event and purchase a ticket to the exhibition. To reserve a spot, please contact the Friends office at 612.870.3045 or To purchase a ticket, please contract Visitor Experience at 612.870.6323 or visit


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

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A Mia favorite, photographer Alec Soth, speaks at Friends Lecture in December

December 12, 2019 11:00 am


Pillsbury Auditorium

Ticket Price: Free

Minnesota photographer and artist Alec Soth will consider the evolution of his work and the work of an artist at the December Friends lecture


A favorite with Mia visitors and staff, Minnesota photographer Alec Soth will be our special guest for the Friends Lecture on Thursday, December 12. Soth is one of the most internationally-recognized photographers working today. For Soth, photography is a liberating, invigorating, and uncensored activity, but “…a photograph is not something to keep a memory,” he clarifies. “It’s something to just speak with. It’s language.” He compares his photography to poetry rather than journalism, encouraging multiple interpretations. With tenderness and empathy, his art portrays a variety subjects— a man named Charles holding model airplanes in Vasa, Minnesota, a Paris fashion shoot, and compelling landscapes, scenes, and portraits that reveal people’s livelihoods, pastimes, hopes, concerns, and fading dreams.

But how does he do it? Is happenstance and curiosity enough? Considering the wanderlust quality to his work, does he ever have a destination in mind? Why do people agree to be photographed? Join us for this insightful lecture as Soth discusses the evolution of his work across multiple projects, with a special emphasis on portraiture. 

Learn more about Soth here:

Soth is based in Minneapolis. He has published over 25 books in including Sleeping by the Mississippi, Niagara, Broken Manual, Songbook, and his most recentI Know How Furiously Your Heart Is Beating. Soth has had over 50 solo exhibitions including survey shows organized by Jeu de Paume in Paris (2008), the Walker Art Center (2010) and Media Space in London (2015). He has been the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship (2013). In 2008, Soth created Little Brown Mushroom, a multi-media enterprise focused on visual storytelling. Soth is represented by Sean Kelly in New York, Weinstein Hammons Gallery in Minneapolis, Fraenkel Gallery in San Francisco, Loock Gallery in Berlin, and is a member of Magnum Photos.

Reserve your ticket today by following the link below or by calling 612.870.6323.

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Make Your Reservation for the Friends Holiday Luncheon!

December 12, 2019 12:30 pm


Reception Hall

Ticket Price: $30

Join us for a Holiday lunch immediately following the December 12 lecture by Minnesota photographer Alec Soth.

Looking forward to the holidays and searching for an opportunity to join your Friends at Mia to share a lovely holiday luncheon? 

Then reserve your spot!  Following the December 12 lecture by Alec Soth, “The Space Between Us,” join the Friends for a Holiday luncheon in the Reception Hall, Target Wing. Save your spot soon for this popular  gathering, that for many of us has become a welcome annual holiday tradition.

The menu includes winter-hearty, Beef Stroganoff on Egg Noodles with Truffle Sour Cream, a Side Salad, and warm Dinner Rolls, followed by a dessert of Holiday Chocolate Mousse. A vegetarian option is available; please request when making your reservation.

The cost is $30 including tax and gratuities. All reservations MUST be received by Thursday, December 5, by 4 p.m.  Tickets will become available a month preceding the event (i.e. November 12, 2019). Click the link below or call 612.870.6323 to reserve your spot.

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

Join The Friends

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Art in Bloom needs a few more chairs!

Put your accounting or organization skills to good use by chairing an Art in Bloom 2020 committee.

Art in Bloom held its first planning meeting with committee chairs last month and Co-chairs Maria and Therese are thrilled with the mix of people—some joining for the first time and others who have lots (25+ years) of experience. They’re still looking for an Accounting Co-chair and Volunteer Recruitment Co-chair, so if you have a little relevant experience or are willing to learn, please contact them at

And stay tuned! The next issue of the Friends newsletter will include the yet-to-be unveiled Art in Bloom Signature piece!