October 2019

A Letter from the Friend’s President

 Mia welcomes beloved spirits. 

Maria Eggemeyer, Friends President

Dear Friends, 

I love the Day of the Dead!

In late October, Mexican people in small villages begin their elaborate preparations to beckon the spirits of their departed loved ones to return to them on the Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos). Many Latin Americans observe November 2 as a day to memorialize the dead, but none so colorfully as the people from Mexican villages such as Pátzcuaro and Isla de Janitzio. In fact, several years ago, PBS aired a two-part series—The Wonders of Mexico—with a segment showing the mystical ceremonies in these two villages.

Gravesites are meticulously cleaned and lavishly decorated with cempasuchitl or flower of the dead (known as marigold to us). Their pungently-scented petals and glimmering candles guide the beloved spirits home. In the house, family, friends, and bountiful ofrendas await them. Ofrendas are tables loaded with the favorite foods, drink, and objects from their time on earth. Music, poems, candy skulls, bread in the shape of a cadaver, and small decorative clay skeletal figurines are all part of the celebration. Naturally, the living family and friends are the ones to partake of the feast, as they remember their loved ones. 

This year, artist Monica Vega will create three small ofrendas in the 

General Mills Lobby, remembering Tyrone Guzman and Marcella Trujillo, and former Manager of Visitor Experiences Jesus Aguilár, sorely missed by those at Mia.

The ofrendas will be up at Mia from October 25th through November 3.  Our Dia de los Muertos Family Night celebration will be held on Friday, November 1, complete with Mariachi, dancers, art-making activities and tasty treats. Mia’s Community Outreach staff have been working hard with staff from Centro Tyrone Guzmán (https://www.centromn.org) to make this event festive for all Mia visitors.

Many of you might remember past exhibits of ofrendas at Mia. The first ofrenda project in 2007-2010 at Mia was supported by Friends. The exhibit included ofrendas made by high school students from El Colegio Charter School and their blogs and videos explaining their work. After the first ofrenda project, Mia has partnered with Austin High School, Thomas Edison High School, El Colegio Charter School, and Humboldt Secondary School. Fun on Day of the Dead is becoming a Mia tradition!


I encourage you to check out the current photography exhibition of Graciela Iturbide’s work that features Mexican village traditions including some images of Day of the Dead celebrations—they tell a story. 

And be sure to sign up for the Friends Only curator-led tour of the exhibit on October 31 at 11 am, and come afterward to sample bread of the dead in the Friends office.

Enjoy the crisp and glorious fall weather!

Maria Eggemeyer


October 10 Lecture Asks “When is Art Unfinished?”

October 10, 2019 11:00 am


Pillsbury Auditorium

Ticket Price: Free

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s curator of European paintings Andrea Bayer explores the concept of unfinished art at the Friend’s October 10 lecture.


When is a work of art unfinished? How do we know? 

These are just two of the intriguing questions to be considered in this upcoming lecture by Andrea Bayer, “Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible.” The longtime curator in European paintings at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and its newly appointed Director for Collections and Administration. Ms. Bayer’s lecture will examine the concept of unfinished in a broad sense, from works that were interrupted, remaining unfinished accidentally, to works that were deliberately left incomplete. Some of history’s greatest artists explored this aesthetic of “intentionally unfinished” (also known as non finito), including Titian, Turner and Cezanne. 

From the Renaissance and Baroque periods, through the 19th century and into the 20th, Ms. Bayer will show us the artists’ minds and hands at work. From Rembrandt to Rauschenberg, we will explore together the resolved and unresolved in Western masterworks throughout time. 


Appointed the Metropolitan of Art’s Director for Collections and Administration in October, 2018, Andrea Bayer was previously the Jayne Wrightsman Curator in the Department of European Paintings. She received her PhD from Princeton University in 1990, and has been on the staff of The Met since that time. 

An expert on Italian Renaissance art, she has worked on a range of exhibitions, both thematic investigations such as Painters of Reality; the Legacy of Leonardo and Caravaggio in Lombardy (2004) and Art and Love in Renaissance Italy (2008-09), and monographic shows on artists such as Tiepolo, Tintoretto, and Antonello da Messina. Her most recent exhibitions include Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible at the Met Breuer. She is currently co-chairman of the Director’s Exhibition Committee. 

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

Get Tickets

Learn about Friends at Friends 101

October 15, 2019 10:00 am



Ticket Price: Free

Mark your calendars for Tuesday, October 15. Learn more about the Friends followed by  a private viewing of the newly refreshed Americas galleries.

Les Namingha (American), Overlay, 2014, ceramic, pigments. Bequest of Virginia Doneghy, by exchange, 2018.6.1

Would you like to know more about what the Friends do? Please join us for Friends 101, a conversation about the history, activities, and opportunities available through the Friends. Whether you’re new to the organization or have been around for a while, we’d love to see you there! 

This popular event is free. Stay until the end of the event for an exclusive opportunity to join Mia’s Associate Curator of Native American Art, Jill Ahlberg Yohe for a presentation in the newly refreshed Americas galleries.

To attend please call the Friends office at 612.870.3045 or email friends@artsmia.org.

Get Reading! Friends Only Book Club is October 18

October 18, 2019 10:00 am


Mia Library

Ticket Price: Free

Jesmyn Ward’s award-winning novel entitled Sing, Unburied, Sing is October’s Book Club selection

Any Friends member interested in a stimulating book discussion around Jesmyn Ward’s 2017 award-winning novel entitled Sing, Unburied, Sing is invited to join the book club for the October meeting.  The group meets in Mia’s research library on the first floor of the Target Wing.  Following the one-hour book discussion an hour long docent-led tour will be available.  Because of the limited reservations, small groups are guaranteed for the gallery tours.

All that is requested is to call in or email a reservation prior to the meeting. There is a limit of 20 openings. Beverages will be provided courtesy of the Friends.  

The Star Tribune has described Ward’s novel as “the story of a few days in the lives of a tumultuous Mississippi Gulf Coast family and the histories and ghosts that haunt it,..it is nothing short of magnificent.”  The Philadelphia Inquirer adds that, “After winning the National Book Award for Salvage the Bones, Ward is back, with an epic family saga…”  Particularly relevant is this quote from the New York Times, “However eternal its concerns, Sing, Unburied, Sing is perfectly poised for the moment.”

This book club tour will offer an opportunity to view some of the new acquisitions in Mia’s collection that relate to diverse cultures and issues.  Each of the two docents guiding a tour will offer unique connections between the novel and Mia’s collection.

For further questions about this Friends Only Event please contact Elizabeth Winga, elizabethwinga@gmail.com.  

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

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

Save the Date for Two Friends Only Events!

For Friends Only: Curator led tours and an opportunity to hear about the MidWest Conservation Center are this Fall’s Friends Only events. 

Thursday, October 31, 2019

11 AM – 12PM

Photography and New Media Curator Casey Riley will lead a tour of the exhibitions by Mexican photographer, Graciela Iturbide and Minnesota photographer, Meadow Muska. Each picture has a story and presents a window into the photographer’s experiences. Afterward, come back to the Friends office to sample traditional Day of the Dead bread, made in the shape of a cadaver with a hint of orange and anise–scarily delicious!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

3PM – 4:30PM  

Conservators at the Midwest Art Conservation Center (underneath Mia) will describe their work restoring precious art and artifacts. Check out some of their past conservation projects on artsmia.org, including a restoration project generously funded by the Friends in 2012! Don’t miss this fascinating insider opportunity. 

You must be a Friends member to attend these events. To reserve a spot, please contact the Friends office at 612.870.3045 or friends@artsmia.org. Not a Friends member yet? Click here to join!

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.

Get Tickets

Remembrances of our Friends

We remember our longtime Friends, Margret Arnar, Joan T. Smith and Tom Byfield.

Longtime Friend’s member, Margret Arnar passed away in September.  She, along with a group of Friend’s members met every month for many years to enjoy the wonderful monthly Friends Lecture and also attend special events.  Born in Iceland, she came to the United States in 1960. She continued to work in the world of design and never forgot her Icelandic homeland as every holiday season she put her design skills to work at the American Swedish Institute designing the Iceland’s room for over 40 years.  A wonderful, creative woman, she will be missed by all those who have known her over these many years.

Joan T. Smith died peacefully on September 1, 2019. She was a retired Vice President in the Trust Investments Division of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., and a loyal Friend’s member who rarely missed the monthly lecture. Joan was a professionally certified Chartered Financial Analyst, an active member of the CFA Institute Twin Cities Society of Security Analysts and the Minnesota Society of Municipal Analysts, who sat on the State of Minnesota Board of Investments Advisory Council. Joan was exceptionally civic minded, beyond her quiet philanthropy.

Loyal Mia and Friends member, Tom Byfield passed away peacefully surrounded by family at the end of August.After he retired from his dental practice, Tom completed the two-year training to become a docent at Mia. He enjoyed giving tours, wrote humorous columns for the MIA Docent Muse and served on the docent advisory board for almost 20 years. Tom was an artist, musician and writer. His paintings and hand crafted jewelry are family treasures.

We treasure and will miss these treasured Friends.

Buses & Backpacks:  A Friend’s Story

Bus funding brings students from underserved schools to Mia where the art inspires and sparks conversation.

This past year the Friends Transportation Program made 70 bus grants to underserved schools in the Twin Cities, giving 8,000 students the opportunity to tour Mia’s outstanding collection and be inspired by the wonder of art.

Longtime Mia docent and Friends Board member JeanMarie Burtness has lots of stories that personalize those big numbers.  Recently, students clustered around a hundred-year-old handmade doll wearing traditional Anishinaabe clothing with intricately beaded bandolier bags. They said, “It’s just like our backpacks,” comparing the beaded alphabet on the straps to designs on their own.  They wondered what was carried in the bandolier bag and thought it might be lunch or maybe mittens because it gets so cold in Minnesota.  

Could there be a better example of inspiring a sense of wonder? Honor, celebrate, or remember a friend by buying a bus and bringing 45 kids to Mia who might not otherwise be able to visit. 

Contact the Friends Office (612.870.3045 or friends@artsmia.org) 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.

Membership will help you Renew!

We’ll help you remember to renew: quarterly reminders will be coming to you soon!

Thank you to all our new Friends who have joined since the beginning of the year and to all those who have renewed their Friends membership for another year. We truly appreciate your support!

Now that the Friends have access to more accurate membership information, we plan to mail quarterly renewal notices alerting you that your membership will soon expire. Following your renewal, you will receive an email acknowledgment with a list of upcoming Friends events, and hyperlinks to the Friends Newsletter and volunteer opportunities.

We look forward to seeing you at Mia!

The Friends are going to Portugal in 2020 and you are invited!

See the best Portugal has to offer, May 11-18, 2020.

Come join us on this hand curated trip to the best museums and architectural sites Lisbon and Porto, Portugal have to offer.  Every tour is private for Mia and there will be events not open to the public to make this already glorious trip even better!!

The trip is almost full so we suggest you reserve your spot soon.  Please feel free to contact our Art & Architecture Chair, Lucy Hicks for further information or questions.  (952.217.0330/lhicks150@gmail.com).

To reserve your spot and join your Friends this May in Portugal, click here.  It will be  a trip you won’t soon forget!