President’s Letter

A message from the Friend’s President Maria Eggemeyer

Dear Friends,

I’m writing this first letter of the 2020/2021 Friends year, hoping that you are well and enjoying the warm days of summer.

Despite these strange times, the Friends are here for you, bringing all your favorites including our monthly Fiterman lectures,  book club, and tours—on Zoom instead of in-person. Mia is also open again (tickets required) Thursday—Sunday. Museum visits are safe and well-organized.  Art and Friends endure.

On that note, I have an important request. Please take the time to renew your Friends membership today.  Contact Lizzi in the Friend’s office, to check the status of your membership.  It’s more important than ever to keep our organization strong. Thank you.

If you’ve been spending more time enjoying our lush natural surroundings, I encourage you to take a look at internationally known photographer Lynn Geesaman’s work. With a degree in mathematics and physics, Lynn worked as an experimental physicist at a radiation laboratory, and then in her thirties, took up photography. Lynn took bewitching shots of gardens and landscapes with her Hasselblad camera and worked magic in her darkroom. Lynn was a good friend of mine for many years and passed away this March. Her work is collected by museums everywhere, and by aficionados such as Sir Elton John. I highly recommend that you look at her work in Mia’s collections and on the web for her later venture into color.

As we begin our ninety-ninth year, the Friends of the Institute faces challenges and hopes for the future. The love of art has always been at the heart of what we do, and our members are ready to take a peerless path forward in our long-standing and loyal support of Mia. Thank you for being a Friend!

Maria Eggemeyer


Meet New Friends Board Members

Welcome new Board members!

The Friends Board of Directors includes Friends officers, committee chairs, and special appointees. Members are appointed by a nominating committee each year and voted upon at the Friends annual meeting in May.




Sheila-Marie Untiedt,
Docent Executive Committee Chair. Docent class of 2009. Right out of college I lived across from Mia in the Fair Oaks Apartments and freely roamed the galleries. I’m a Mediator, Chair of Stillwater Township Town Board and perform in local community theater.







Julie Scroggins, Plants and Flowers. I’m a regular volunteer at Mia with Art in Bloom, retired elementary education educator, and excited to work on finding creative ways to support Mia and its outreach this year.






Kathryn Schwyzer,
Outreach. Long time New Yorker living in Minneapolis. Lover of art and dance. Mia docent class of 2015






Kristen McDougall, Art and Architecture. I’m a freelance graphic designer with a strong interest in architecture and renovation. I’ve been a docent for three years and look forward to being involved with the Friends on a deeper level as a board member.







Tippy Madden, Newsletter. I’m a journalist who has worked in Russia, Switzerland, Chicago and Minneapolis.  I am an Art Adventure Guide, Friends member, and a lover of all things art and nature.






Renee Kessler,
Treasurer. I retired in 2018 after a 37-year career in accounting and finance, primarily in the financial sector. I’m a long-time visitor to Mia and look forward to becoming more involved and meeting new “Friends”.







Loreen Fripp, Fundraising. I’m an Art Adventure guide (Class of 2012) and currently act as the Art Adventure Council Chair. I look forward to working with the board as well as our amazing membership!






Julie Hutchison Bolton, Friends Only Events. I’m a professional actor and a Professor Emerita of Theatre Arts and have also recorded books for Radio Talking Books. I was a docent for 17 years and have been a Friend since 2001 and a member of Mia since 1978.  I enjoyed setting up Friends Only tours last year and hope we can create something exciting this year.






Jenn Hovland CPFD, Art in Bloom. I’m an Event Florist and owner of Fleur de Louise Flower Studio, an instructor at Koehler & Dramm Institute of Floristry and MN Horticultural Society, and was a Committee Chair for Art in Bloom in 2018, 2019 and 2020.






Susan Arndt, Lectures. I’m a curious art lover and a life-long museum visitor. I’ve been a member of Mia and Friends for many years and became a docent in 2015. 

Announcing the 2020-2021 Friends Lecture season

Join us for Friends Lectures! 

It’s been a tough year, but we’re happy to announce that the Friends Lectures are back for the fall! Even though we won’t be able to gather in Pillsbury Auditorium, you’ll still be able to “attend” and hear from a variety of interesting speakers via a Zoom-type platform.

It’s the same format you’re used to—just virtual. This means you can tune in from wherever you are whether that’s in St. Cloud, Rochester, up at the cabin, or wintering in Florida. During this strange time, we look for silver linings!

Friends 2020 – 2021 Lecture Series: 

September 10, 2020
Ellen Winner (Boston College) “The Psychology of Art”

October 8, 2020
Jack Becker (formerly of Forecast Public Art) “The Challenge of Making Public Art Public”

November 12, 2020
Father Columba Stewart (Hill Monastic Museum and Library) Described as “The monk who saves manuscripts from ISIS”

December 10, 2020
Sam Olbekson (Cuningham Group) The architect working to create a Native American Corridor on Franklin Ave

January 14, 2021
Dr. Katherine Luber (Executive Director, Mia) Meet Dr. Luber and learn about the artist she did her dissertation on, Albrecht Durer

February 11, 2021
Marcela Guerrero (Whitney Museum) “The Impact of LatinX Art”

 March, April and May, 2021 TBD

September Friends Lecture Features Psychologist Dr. Ellen Winner

September 10, 2020 11:00 am


Virtual Event

Ticket Price: Free

Find out why art motivates and moves

We all know that art captivates and moves us, but it takes a psychologist to try and pin down why that is, and attempt to tease out the ways in which we all benefit from exposure to art. It takes a psychologist to bring the rigors of science to bear on easily made assumptions that sometimes prove not to be as obvious as they seem. For example, it was Dr. Winner who debunked the claim that exposure to arts education raises students’ scores on standardized tests, a finding that spurred her ongoing investigation into arts education and the actual benefits students derive from studying art.

Dr. Winner is the Department Head and Professor of Psychology at Boston College and Senior Research Associate at Project Zero, Harvard Graduate School of Education. She directs the Arts and Mind Lab which focuses on cognition in the arts and is the author of more than 200 articles and four books.

In her most recent book, “How Art Works: A Psychological Exploration,” Dr. Winner looks at art through psychological and philosophical lenses and discusses answers to timeless questions such as:

Why do we need Art? After all, no one has ever discovered a culture without one or more forms of Art. 

Is Art inherent to our species? Is it, like language, something we are just programmed to do, part of being human? 

Is it true that people have stronger emotional reactions to music than to the visual arts?

Is it true that people actually can tell the difference between abstract art created by artists and that created by “my five-year-old” and, if so, how? 

And why is it that we are drawn to art that depicts tragic or horrifying events? Is it possible that interacting with art helps us develop empathy?

For the answers to these and other questions, come hear Dr. Winner speak. To register for this virtual event click here, or call 612.870.3000. A Zoom link will be emailed to registrants prior to the event. Part of the Friends Lecture Series.  

Get Tickets

First Friends Only Zoom tour

September 23, 2020 11:00 am



Ticket Price: Free

Join Fellow Friends for a Virtual Tour!

Debbi Hegstrom, Senior Educator at the Mia, will present a Zoom tour, “The Art of Building: An Architectural History of Mia”. 

In this virtual tour, we’ll examine how the original neoclassical building, a central landmark in the 1917 City Plan of Minneapolis, became integrated with two much-later modern additions—three buildings from three unique eras that form today’s Mia.  We’ll also discover the architectural elements that were woven through the spaces to create a harmonious relationship among these architectural gems.

Debbi Hegstrom is Senior Educator at Mia. She oversees the docent program—teaching docents about the museum’s collections as well as evaluating and coaching them. Debra is also involved in exploring new strategies that incorporate critical thinking and cultural fluency.  She received an MA and Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Minnesota. 

Reserve your spot on this Friends only tour by contacting the Friend’s Office at Space is limited! 

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

Join The Friends

2020/2021 Friends Book Club and September’s book!

September 18, 2020 10:00 am



Ticket Price: Free

Join Friends via Zoom for a discussion of The Island of Sea Women by Linda See

Much of the news in recent months has dealt with change, and the same goes for the Friends Book Club in the coming year.

Book Club leadership recently transferred from Elizabeth Winga to Carol Poulson.  Carol previously served on the Board of Friends for Hospitality and other programs, so Book Club will be a new venture for her.  WELCOME, Carol!

Another change is that our September gathering, and likely subsequent Book Club sessions this year, will be held via Zoom.  If you’ve never attended a Zoom bookclub, you might be surprised how connected they can make you feel.

Friends Book Club

The book for September is what O, The Oprah Magazine calls,  “A mesmerizing new historical novel” The Island of Sea Women by Linda See. 

Set on the Korean island of Jeju, The Island of Sea Women follows two girls from very different backgrounds as they begin working with their village’s all-female diving collective. 


Additional Book Club dates and titles:

Friday, October 16, The Grace of Silence: A Memoir by Michele Norris, which focuses on Norris’ experiences as a black woman growing up in south Minneapolis.

Friday, November 20, The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. A Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about the Golden Age in New York City, 

We’ll continue to offer a post-discussion tour as part of the monthly Book Club.  Since on-site gallery tours at Mia aren’t currently an option, we’re figuring out an alternative.

Important: Please send an email to to register for September’s meeting  (or indicate interest in future meetings) and receive a Zoom invitation and details about the tour, 

We look forward to staying connected, seeing you, and discussing books via Zoom! 

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

Join The Friends


Katie Remole, Friends of the Institute President

Friends of the Institute has been very privileged to work with an outstanding Mia administration and staff.  We are grateful for the leadership of Kaywin Feldman, the Duncan and Nivin MacMillan Director and President of Mia, and we are thankful for the guidance of Julianne Amendola, Mia’s Chief Advancement Officer.  Their contribution to Friends cannot be overstated.

The Friends greatly appreciate our invaluable Operations Manager, Kate Smith Williamschen.  Kate was instrumental in helping Katie through her first year as Friends president.  Kate has an ever-ready smile and quick laugh that amplifies her organizational skills and ability to keep the Friends office running smoothly.

This year we were fortunate to have great support in the office with two very capable Project Assistances, Jackie Figueroa and Frannie Kuhs.  Their contribution enabled Friends to put on a very smooth Art in Bloom.  Thank you.

We are also thankful for our strong Friends affiliate groups in Rochester and St. Cloud.  These members help us support Mia through their networks of friends who enjoy the many benefits of the museum through group tours of Mia’s collection and curator lectures.  We thank them for their important community leadership on our behalf.

I now want to recognize our wise and talented past presidents.  Will you please stand when I call your name:  Carol Burton Grey, Suzanne Payne, Carolyn Dahl, and Connie Sommers.  Thank you for joining us today and thank you for your contribution to Friends.  CLAP.

Friends of the Institute had a very eventful year.  Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Two weeks ago we were in the midst of Art in Bloom. This was our 35th year celebrating art and flowers.  The event brought more than 52,000 visitors to Mia.  I want to recognize our co-chairs Lezlie Pinske and Barbara Proeschel; the Art in Bloom committee; all the volunteers, patrons and the Mia staff who make this event possible.
  • Art in Bloom was filled with energy and beauty, but the biggest star of the event was Mia’s new acquisition and Art in Bloom’s signature piece of art, Eugène Delacroix’s Still Life with Dahlias, Zinnias, Hollyhocks, and Plums.” In celebration of Friends 100th anniversary in 2022, Friends was given the opportunity to raise the funds needed to acquire this masterpiece.  Last year Patrick Noon, Mia’s curator of paintings, and the world’s leading expert on Delacroix, learned of its availability and confirmed its authenticity as a Delacroix.  It had never before been displayed publically.  Kaywin Feldman and Patrick Noon immediately thought this picture would be a perfect way for Friends to celebrate our upcoming centennial.   I am happy to announce we are well on our way to our fundraising goal, thanks to lead donations by Friends members Nivin MacMillan, Mary Agnes and Al McQuinn, Sheila Morgan, Mary and Douglas Olson, Nikki Lewis an many others,  With ongoing fundraising, we expect to reach our goal by our  Friends Centennial Celebration in 2022.
  • Each year we work hard to enhance our endowed Transportation Fund through our Buy-A-Bus campaign, and this year was no exception. We brought 121 buses filled with 5121 school children to Mia for a docent or art adventure guide led tour, and that number does not include our busiest months of May and June.  We can be proud of the numbers of lives we touch with this program, exposing young minds to our world-class collection at Mia.
  • The Friends continued the tradition of providing nine exceptional lectures, free to the public, the second Thursday of the month, September through May. The Mark and Mary Goff Fiterman Fund generously support two of these lectures. Speakers this year were diverse as always, and ranged from Apollo art magazine’s editor Thomas Marks, to tattoo scholar and historian Anna Felicity Friedman.
  • The Friends monthly Newsletter Committee continues to deliver a very informative monthly online newsletter to our members. This year we added a special edition dedicated exclusively to Art in Bloom.  All tickets for Art in Bloom events were a simple click away.
  • Those of you who are Friends members enjoyed some special perks including Friends Only Events.
  • In the fall, we held a Friends 101 class informing members about our organization, followed by a behind the scenes look at rarely seen Andy Warhol prints in the Prints and Drawing Library, given by Mia’s curator of Prints and Drawings, Tom Rassier.
  • Our Friends Only Committee planned and executed five Friends only tours, including Mia’s new China Gate, highlights of Mia’s collection of jewelry and curator led tours of Eyewitness Views, I am Somali, and Horse Power. Our sixth Friends Only tour is scheduled for Tuesday June 12th at 11 AM.  Marla Kinney, Fellow in the Mia’s Prints and Drawing Department will led us through the exhibit “The Rabble-rouser and the Homebody:  Minnesota’s Elizabeth Olds and Wanda Gag”.  Please join us!
  • Friends Only Book Club met monthly for lively book discussions, docent led tours and refreshments.
  • The Outreach Committee started a new program with members becoming Picture People for the Art Adventure program. Friends volunteers went into the schools as Picture People and chaperoned the students at Mia for their guided tours.  Friends also donated art supplies to these students.
  • On Wednesday June 6, Friends will embark on the Art and Architecture tour of Washington, DC. The itinerary includes exclusive tours and receptions of great museums and government buildings, plus the trip is a great opportunity to enjoy friendships and camaraderie.

Again, this is a short list, but you can tell from all that goes on here, being a Friends member is a tremendous opportunity to enjoy the museum, build friendships and be part of something that enhances our communities.  I strongly encourage you to think about joining us, if you are not already a member.

The Power of Sacred Art: Beauty that Saves and Shatters

Thursday, September 28, 2017
Johan van Parys, Director of Liturgy and the Sacred Arts
The Basilica of St. Mary

Johan van Parys
Johan van Parys

Johan van Parys, Ph.D is the Director of Liturgy and Sacred Arts at the Basilica of Saint Mary in Minneapolis. His book Symbols That Surround Us was published in 2012. He teaches in the School of Theology at St. John’s University. He is the current chair and founding member of the Minnesota chapter of the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums.
Drinks and appetizers at 5:30PM, docent-led tour at 6:00PM, and talk at 7:15PM.
Tickets are $45 and will be available by calling Mia at 612.870.6323. Tickets will go on sale August 28.

Mia How-To: Lecture Tickets and Pre-Lecture Tours

Each month free tickets are available for lectures presented by the Friends of the Institute. For members of the Friends, tickets are available on the 15th of the month previous to the lecture and to the general public, tickets are available on the 17th of the month. Reserve your tickets at or by calling 612.870.6323.
Friends Only pre-lecture tours are also held throughout the season. You may request the pre-lecture tour when you register for the Dr. Thomas Marks Lecture of 
September 14, 2017. Your lecture ticket will indicate both lecture and tour attendance. The same procedure applies to all lectures and all pre-lecture tours.
Tours begin promptly at 10AM and you are asked to arrive early at Mia in the Third Avenue Lobby under the Chihuly Sun. Tour participants will receive reserved seating for the lecture at the end of the tour.
Please be courteous and call if you must cancel your tour as we anticipate waiting lists. You may cancel by calling 612.870.6323.

Friends Lectures begin September 14 with Thomas Marks on the Poet in the Museum

Lectures to educate, inform, and enlighten.  
Additional information and lecture titles will be available in the September Newsletter
The Friends Lecture Committee is pleased to announce the upcoming Lecture Series for the coming2017-2018 year.  All lectures are held in the Pillsbury Auditorium and begin promptly at 11AM. Friends members may reserve their tickets for the lectures on the 15th of each month prior to the lecture.  The lectures may be reserved by the public on the 17th of each month prior to the lecture.  Please call the Mia ticket office to reserve at 612.870.6323.

Date Speaker                         Affiliation
September 2017 14 Dr. Thomas Marks Apollo Magazine – Editor
October 2017 12 Gabriel Ritter Mia – Contemporary Art Curator
November 2017  9 Aaron Rio Mia – Andrew W. Mellon Assistant Curator of Japanese and Korean Art
December 2017 14 Larry Millett Architectural Historian
January 2018 11 Ghenete Zelleke Mia – James Ford Bell Curator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture
February 2018  8 Yasufumi Nakamori Mia – Curator and Head of the Department of Photography and New Media
March 2018  8 Robert Cozzolini Mia – Patrick and Aimee Butler Curator of Paintings
April 2018 12 Anna Felicity Friedman Tattoo Scholar and Historian
May 2018 10 Max Anderson New Cities Foundation, Executive Director

The September and May lectures are sponsored by Mark and Mary Goff Fiterman Lecture Fund,  and are presented by the Friends of the Institute and Mia. 

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