President’s Letter

Dear Members,

October is a vibrant month with harvests, homecomings,
Halloween and Oktoberfest. Mia is abuzz this month with
preparations for the spectacular exhibition titled, Botticelli and
Renaissance Florence: Masterworks from the Uffizi. This
exhibition includes rare masterworks from the Uffizi Galleries in
Florence, Italy. Mia is the only museum hosting this remarkable
show. On view October 16, 2022 through January 8, 2023.

The next Friends lecture is Thursday, October 13 at 11:00 a.m. in
the Pillsbury Auditorium. Ta-coumba T. Aiken will be our speaker.
He is a local artist, activist and educator. Coffee and treats will be
served in the Fountain court starting at 10:00 a.m. Also, starting in November we will be offering pre-tour lectures. Reservations will be required. Details to follow.

This Newsletter includes information and details about programs
and opportunities presented by Friends of the Institute. We invite
you to participate or volunteer with us at any level.

Remember, you can join or renew your Friends membership for
2023 starting today!

Warmest regards,




Creating Memories

The art and fun of fashion was on display on September 9th as the Friends collaborated with the U of M’s Goldstein Museum of Design to celebrate 52 years of Friends’ fashion shows.

Inspired by the theme of looking at fashion’s changes over time, many guests wore wonderful clothing gathered from the backs of their closets. Designer gowns from the Goldstein’s permanent collection lined the staircase of McNeal Hall, tempting many of us to dream of wearing such elegant fashions. Everyone enjoyed conversation and cocktails while Twin Cities’ own Connie Evingson shared stories about splendid costumes worn by Hollywood stars. With her gorgeous silky voice, she performed famous movie tunes from years gone by. Six lucky winners can look forward to a private tour of the Goldstein’s “closets” full of their acclaimed couture collection.

A huge thank you to Connie Sommers and Linda Boelter for executing such an entertaining evening. Another round of applause for Linda Boelter who, along with her husband, Phil, and Connie Evingson, so generously supported this terrific evening.



So many visitors enjoyed the recently closed Floral Affair, A Bouquet for the Friends Centennial exhibition in the Cargill Gallery. Tom Rassieur, John E. Andrus III Curator of Prints and Drawings in Mia’s Department of European Art assembled this amazing collection of selected works from Mia’s permanent collection. Each of these artworks had been an integral part of past Art in Blooms. What fun to look back at this rich history of Art in Bloom’s signature images. Tom continues his long history of supporting Friends events and cannot be adequately thanked for this recognition of its centennial celebration.

This month, Friends will continue to celebrate the centennial by experiencing the much-anticipated fashion show and formal luncheon on October 7th. The event begins early at 10:00 with check-in, treats, and conversation. Models will grace the runway within the galleries of Mia’s second floor, with a bit of prosecco and appetizers to tempt all before the seated luncheon in the Target Reception Hall. What a great opportunity to search closets for fall fashions to wear on such a fun day!

The strength of Friends is certainly its volunteers. On November 10th, Friends salutes its volunteers immediately following the 11:00 Friends lecture. Everyone is invited to the Wells Fargo Room for sweets and coffee. Friends will extend special thanks to our notable Rochester and St. Cloud affiliates that afternoon. Their loyalty and storied history have always been an influential part of Friends’ success.

Friends volunteers

As leaves begin to change color and sweaters become a part of our wardrobe once again, we are reminded the centennial year celebration has gone so quickly. Opportunities still await us as we acknowledge one hundred successful years of supporting Mia and our community. We should all be proud to have played a part in this history! Happy October everyone and enjoy all that autumn provides!

Autumn brings the wonderful blooms of the Friends Centennial Dahlia!

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

Friends Lecture with Ta-coumba T. Aiken, artist and educator

Join us at the Friends lecture with Ta coumba T. Aiken
October 13, 11am
Pillsbury Auditorium

Ta–coumba T. Aiken is a Twin Cities artist, arts administrator, educator and community activist and a 2022 Guggenheim Fellow. A ’74 alumnus of Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Aiken has served on the boards of the Minneapolis Arts Commission, the African American Cultural Arts Center, Forecast Public Arts, and the St. Paul Art Collective and has acted as an advisor on the arts for both the City of St. Paul and the City of Minneapolis.

Mia Guide Jean Ann Durades shared background and reflections on this Ta-coumba’s multifaceted talent:

How do you talk about an artist who started his career with an exhibition at 6 years of age, who has developed as a master storyteller, and who channels the spirits of his ancestors through form and color, in both paintings and works on paper rooted in abstraction?

Ta-coumba T. Aiken was born in 1952 in Evanston, Illinois. As a boy, he was so proud to be a part of a family of four that included his brother, mother and father. He was always proud to put his parents’ occupations — garbage collector and house cleaner — on the little cards and forms that would ask about it.  His mother was also a seer, and a healer, and carved a spiritual path for her sons, and told Ta-coumba that he should devote his life to public service. His art and civic activities have become part of our public commons in Minnesota and beyond.

The imagery in Ta-coumba’s art is deeply engaged with Black history, which you can see in his marks, rhyming, and twisting colorful choreographies.  He begins each painting with intuitive freeform underpainting that he calls spirit, then builds energy with rhythmic motifs. He doesn’t try to tell everything in his paintings, and he doesn’t even know all that is going on in the paintings. He is led by the spirits of the ancestors. “The things I make become the marks that I make that weave, swirl together, and beat together like a drum.”

Ta-coumba has a collection of African masks on his wall, and you can see echoes of these masks in his paintings. He sees the masks as people, spirits, stories, that were told before him. They are his professors, gurus, divinities. The masks have their power, he gives them that space, and they give him his space.

Ta-coumba Aiken feels like he’s been given a gift, to be here, and somewhere else at the same time, but it’s not past, present, or future. It’s reality that is constant. Time is on his side, and he is a time traveler.  He loves the phrase, “time is of the essence,” because he thinks he is the essence of time.

Please join us in welcoming, listening to and learning from Ta-coumba T. Aiken at the October Friends Lecture, on Thursday, October, 13 at 11 am in the Pillsbury auditorium. Plan to arrive early, anytime after 10:15, to enjoy pre-lecture coffee and pastries with your friends in the Rotunda!

Rochester Friends of the Institute 40th Anniversary Celebration

On Thursday, September 15, Friends old and new gathered at the Rochester Golf & Country Club to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Rochester Friends of the Institute.


The morning began with coffee and socializing before Ghenete Zelleke, James Ford Bell Curator of Decorative Arts & Sculpture, gave a wonderful lecture on recent decorative arts, textile, and sculpture acquisitions.

Guests enjoyed a delicious lunch, followed by a brief program where the Rochester Friends of the Institute generously gifted $1,000 towards our pledge to acquire

In attendance were four of founding members, as well as 12 former presidents.

Founding members of Rochester Friends of the Institute (clockwise from top right): Maureen O’Connell, Mary Ann Sahs, Marilyn Stewart, Helen Kolb.
Rochester Friends of the Institute presidents past and present. Front row, left to right: Lynn Didier, Susan Arnold, Alison Good, Mary Jane McHardy (current president), Nancy Brubaker, Lucy Bahn.
Second row left to right: Joanne Mair, Wendy Postier, Mary Graf, Lynne Kirklin, Lynda Sharbrough, Julie Troutman.













It was a lovely afternoon enjoyed by all. Congratulations to the Rochester Friends on this momentous occasion!


Friends Only Events: MCAD Faculty Biennial

October 12, 2022
10:30 am, MCAD Main Gallery
Free to Friends members

Your Friends membership includes exclusive invitations to special opportunities.

Please join us on Wednesday, October 12th, for a guided tour of the 2022 MCAD Faculty Biennial Exhibition, spotlighting the art and research of outstanding educators at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. This year some fifty faculty members are participating. We are so fortunate to have Keisha Williams, Director and Curator of MCAD galleries, as our tour guide.

We will meet in the MCAD’s main gallery. Enter through the front doors off of Stevens Ave. and sign in as a visitor at the security desk. Please note that MCAD requires 3-ply surgical or higher-grade (KN95, KF94 and N99) face masks and appreciates visitors’ compliance.

Please RSVP to Kathryn Schwyzer at khellerschwyzer@gmail.com.
This tour is limited to 20 attendees.

Friends Book Club

Becoming: Obama, Michelle: 9781524763138: Amazon.com: Books

October 21, 2022
10:00 am In-Person Discussion/10:45 am Live Gallery Tour
Ticket Price: Free

Mark your calendar for Friday, October 21 at 10 am for an amazing discussion at Friends Book Club followed at 10:45 by a guided art tour. We will be discussing the book in the Friends conference room, just off the Friends Office.

Autumn brings us to our live Friends book discussion and tour with Becoming by Michelle Obama. Becoming is the memoir of former first lady of the United States Michelle Obama, published in 2018. Described by the author as a deeply personal experience, the book talks about her roots and how she found her voice, as well as her time in the White House, her public health campaign, and her role as a mother. Please join us as we consider the story enhanced by Mia’s fabulous works of art.


Please sign up with Claire Goulson at friends@artsmia.org or 612-870-3045. And early sign up really helps us in planning these tours!

Upcoming books will be:
Nov:  The Nightwatchman by Louise Erdich
Dec:  Chronicles of a Radical Hag (with Recipes) by Lorna Landvik

This event is a Friends Only Event. Looking forward to seeing you!

Save the Dates: November & December Lectures

The Lecture Committee has been working hard to identify and invite exciting speakers for the upcoming season. Mark these dates on your calendars! Lectures start at 11:00, but plan to come anytime after 10:15 to enjoy coffee and light bites prior to taking your seat.

November 10: Carl Strehlke
This fall, Mia is privileged to host the exhibition, Botticelli and Renaissance Florence: Masterworks from the Uffizi. Curator emeritus at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Carl Strehlke specializes in the Italian Renaissance and has written extensively on Botticelli, Fra Angelico, Masolino and Masaccio, and other Renaissance masters. He will bring us insights from his historical work and contemporary Italy.

December 8: Kelly Lindquist and Tio Aiken
For over 35 years, Minneapolis-based Artspace Projects, Inc., has worked to bring life back to neglected properties nation-wide by transforming them into live/work spaces for low-income artists and their families. As president, Kelley Lindquist has a passion for restoring national confidence in America’s creative communities. He works hand-in-hand with Vice President of Communications Tio Aiken to engage diverse residential communities in this mission.

Collection Insights: Day of the Dead

According to poet Octavio Paz in his essay, The Labyrinth of Solitude, “the Mexican is intimately familiar with death, jokes about it, caresses it, sleeps with it, and celebrates it.” Paz believed that a civilization that denied death ended denying life itself. Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo felt as his compatriot and friend Octavio Paz did about recognizing death’s presence in life. Could it be that Tamayo was thumbing his nose and mocking it in his painting The Scoffer (91.155)?

Rufino Tamayo, The Scoffer (1946), oil on canvas, Gift of Maxine and Kalman S. Goldenberg, 91.155.

Oaxaca, Rufino Tamayo’s birthplace, stands out for its rich tradition of celebrating the Day of the Dead the first two days of November. Today, tourists from all over come for bright festivities that feature live music, processions, and huge figures of sand. The living reunite with deceased relatives at the cemetery, bringing with them offerings of colorfully decorated skulls and skeletons molded in sugar, cut out of paper, modeled in clay, and illustrated in ink and paint. Poems and verses are dedicated to the deceased. And the living never forget the essential ingredient for a sentimental, appealing, and joyful celebration: the loved one’s favorite foods. All this, along with the pungent scent of the marigold (cempasútshil) and the attraction of colorful cockscomb (cresta de gallo) flowers placed on the graves, lure the dead to return for a visit to the living each year.

Colima, Dog (c. 100-300 CE), clay, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. John R. Kennedy, 99.57.3.

Based on the traditions of the ancient Mixtec peoples of the Oaxaca and other nearby regions, archeologist Eduardo Merlo told of the belief that the deceased did not really die until reaching the other side of the Chignahuapán river. The dead person had to cross this wide and fast-flowing river to get to the limits between life and death. If the person did not make it across, the awaiting fate was nothingness. Among the items placed in the grave, new clothes and offerings of clay, jade or wood were included for the deceased to begin this long journey of nine arduous trials. Most importantly, the person had a dog to guide the way across the river and reach the final resting place of Mictlán with the offerings for its ruler Mictlantecuatl. This clarifies why sculptures such as Mia’s Dog (99.57.3) were found in graves.

Contemporary Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico and around the world are rooted in the traditions and rituals honoring the dead in Mesoamerica 3,000 years ago. In their cyclical concept of the universe, death was seen as integral and ever-present in life. This concept is represented in House Group (47.2.37). Since no evidence existed of the ancient Nayarit living in two-story houses, many scholars concluded that the sculpture expressed a belief that life and death existed in close proximity by showing the living taking part in their daily activities, just as the dead were doing on the lower level. This sculpture had been placed in an ancient grave along with other offerings including food and drink to keep the living and the dead closely connected.

Nayarit, House Group (c. 100-400 CE), clay, pigments, The John R. Van Derlip Fund, 47.2.37.

Several years ago, I read a verse placed on an ofrenda (an altar of offerings) that best reveals this warm and intimate connection between life and death:

“I’ll take you in my arms and you’ll feel my caresses.
We’ll dance your whole life through until the day that I kiss you.”

From my translation of:
“En mis manos te tomaré y sabrás de mis caricias.
Bailaremos toda la vida hasta que te bese ese día.”

Article contributed by Maria Eggemeyer

Check the List for Membership!

Help Friends Membership grow with an easy-peasy how-to Membership checklist.

Eugène Delacroix, France, 1798–1863
Still Life with Dahlias, Zinnias, Hollyhocks and Plums, 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, Mary and Douglas Olson, Carol Burton Gray, Nikki and Ron Lewis, Lucy Crosby Mitchell, Linda and Phil Boelter, Pamela and Mark Friedland, Katie and Steve Remole, Elizabeth Short and Kirk Cozine, Lucille Amis, Carolyn and Tucker Dahl, Maria Eggemeyer, Gary and Gretchen Holland, Ed and Teresa Luterbach, Jane and Thomas Nelson, Suzanne C. and William B. Payne, Marilyn Sundberg, Marietta and Jot Turner, and gifts made in memory of Teresa Pfister, 2017.52

Membership is the theme of this month’s fabulous newsletter, and it is SO important to the Friends. As a member, your time, your attention and hard work have brought so many wonderful things to Mia! From yellow school bus grants that transport children to Mia to art acquisitions like the Delacroix, our members have volunteered and donated to make Mia a special part of our Minnesota home.

While we have enjoyed many years of growing Friends members, in recent years we have seen a slow reversal in renewals and new memberships.

The membership committee is developing new and innovative ways to retain existing members and to reach out to new members as well as to convert friends into Friends. But we need your help too.

How can YOU help? 

Two Friends, Frogtown, 1994 Wing Young Huie Gelatin silver print GIFT OF FUNDS FROM DAVID PARKER 98.228.2
  1. Invite your friends to become Friends at (Virtual) Friends 101 on Tuesday, October 20 at 10AM. See this month’s article on Friends 101 and sign up with a friend!
  2. Make sure you renew your membership. Each quarter, Membership sends letters or emails to lapsed and about-to-lapse Friends. Please look for renewal notices in your email this year, click here to join online, or complete this form and mail to the address on the form.
  3. Give the gift of Membership. Don’t just ask a friend to become a Friend. Gift a friend the fun of becoming a Friend. You can gift a membership anytime throughout the year by completing this form and designating a gift recipient (please include all contact info for the recipient).

Not sure if your membership has lapsed? Call the Mia Member’s Hotline at 612-870-6323 to find out when your membership expires. If your membership has expired you can renew it at the same time. 

Together we can keep our organization strong! Thank you.