Summer 2021

President’s Letter

Summer Greetings!!

August is here and with it comes the State Fair, school supplies, whiffs of autumn and the stirring feeling that while something is ending, another something is beginning. I am Julie Holland, serving you as President of Friends of the Institute. On behalf of our hardworking board and committees, I welcome you to a new year of opportunities to appreciate the human condition through the lens of great art.

Please join us for our kick-off lecture via Zoom on September 9, at 11 AM, given by the singer, rapper, writer, poet, songwriter and one-woman powerhouse, Dessa. Our tickets are free but numbers are limited. As a Friends member you are entitled to secure your free ticket on August 16, four days before sales open to the general public.

While the Friends pride themselves in our engaging programming, we are also profoundly committed to supporting Mia and extending its influence into our richly diverse community. My decade as a member of the Friends has greatly enhanced my life through learning and friendships. I hope your membership does the same for you. Enjoy reading about upcoming events. Note we start our grand Centennial celebration on January 20, 2022!

Best regards,

Julie Holland

President, Friends of the Institute


So Many Things to Love About Friends Membership 

Here’s how to take advantage of your Friends membership to access events, clubs and other Friends-Only happenings.

We love our Friends! Thank you to all of you who have joined us as Friends members this year and who continue your long association with the Friends. Your support is so important as the Friends celebrate our 100th year as vital volunteers and supporters for Mia.

There is always a place in Friends to show your support and interest in Mia. How can you do that? It’s easy!

Participate – Participate in our monthly lectures, Friends-Only book club and other Friends-Only events like post-lecture luncheons and docent-led tours. Each month you will receive the Friends newsletter with links on how to sign up, in advance, for Friends-Only events and advance signup for Friends lectures. Check out information on the first Freinds lecture of the year: Minneapolis’ own Dessa! on September 9. 

Say Hi – The Friends Office is open weekdays during the year and is located on the first floor of the museum, in the hallway just before Agra Culture. Come meet our members and staff or pick up information about the Friends. Need a Friends lecture bookmark for the 2021-22 Friends year? Stop by the office and pick one up.

Volunteer – Join us as a volunteer! There are so many ways Friends volunteer to help Mia. Join us to promote and staff Art in Bloom, roll up your sleeves to help us send a mailing and meet new Friends. Our Friends board members and staff would love to help you find a place to help out.

Share – Share your ideas! Did you know there are LOTS of programs at Mia that were started by the Friends? It’s true! Consider sharing those ideas with other Friends as a committee member or even a board member. Our working board is more than 25 volunteers strong!

Re-new – Renew your membership when we send our ONCE A YEAR renewal email or letter to you in mid- November. Your membership ensures you are included in all our Centennial Celebrations during 2022.

If you have any questions about membership, please email us at We look forward to hearing from you!


Dessa – In Her Own Words

September 9, 2021 11:00 am



Ticket Price: Free

2021-2022 Friends Kick-Off Lecture, Thursday Sept. 9, 11:00 a.m. CST via Zoom

Dessa is a rapper, singer, writer and member of the Minneapolis-based hip-hop collective Doomtree. Dessa has been on the Billboard charts and has performed with the Minnesota Orchestra, VocalEssence (a premier choral music organization) and contributed to the #1 album, The Hamilton Mixtape. Showcasing her creative chops, she released during the first half of 2021 a series of singles called IDES on the 15th of each month. About the fifth installation, “Talking Business,” Dessa said, “I wanted to make a song that unfolded like a little film where the plot was revealed in a series of objects and still images…To try to build a story in a flash of snapshots, I wrote a song without using any verbs.” 

Yes, Dessa is an inventive musician–and she is also a consummate communicator about a wide range of topics including art, science and entrepreneurship. 

Her wit and candor are revealed in keynote speeches, NPR broadcasts, and a podcast that she hosts entitled “Deeply Human.” She’s written articles for the New York Times and National Geographic Traveler and published a memoir in essays, My Own Devices in 2018. During the pandemic year, Dessa released a clever lyric video about Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. 

She’s even given a TED Talk about the brains of people in love and how she worked with a neuroscientist to get out of love.

In short, Dessa is hard to define but infinitely interesting!

You don’t want to miss this exclusive virtual event. Friends members have access to presale tickets starting on August 16 and tickets are limited.

To reserve your free tickets and receive the Zoom link, go to or call 612-870-3000.


Get Tickets

Friends Only Book Club

September 17, 2021 10:00 am



Ticket Price: Free

Welcome back to the Friends Only Book Club

Our first Book Club meeting will be held on September 17. Due to Mia’s scheduling, we will not meet in-person again until January 2022 for the Book Club and combined guided tours.

 September’s book selection is, “A Woman of No Importance: The untold story of the American Spy who helped with WWII”, by Sonia Purnell.

We  hope you can join us for this presentation and discussion.  Contact the Friends office at to reserve your spot.


Carol Poulson

Chair for Friend Only Book Club


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

Join The Friends

2021-22 Lecture Series

Ticket Price: Free

Lecture Series presented by Friends of the Institute with generous support from the Mark and Mary Goff Fiterman Fund

Please note: The September, October, November and December 2021 lectures will be VIRTUAL, held on Zoom. It is expected that in-person events will begin in January 2022.

September 9, 2021 (VIRTUAL)

Dessa: Singer, rapper, writer, activist

October 14, 2021 (VIRTUAL) 

Aaron Spangler: Sculptor and printmaker

Amy Thielen: Award-winning chef

November 11, 2021 (VIRTUAL)

Tova Brandt: Executive Director, The Museum of Danish America

December 9, 2021 (VIRTUAL)

Rose B. Simpson: Mixed-media artist, Santa Clara Pueblo

January 20, 2022 (Centennial Anniversary Kick-off)

Eike Schmidt: Director of the Uffizi Museum, Florence, Italy

February 10, 2022

Rohan Preston: Writer and critic at the Star Tribune

March 10, 2022

Seitu Jones: Multidisciplinary artist, community organizer

April 14, 2022

Patrick Noon: Former senior paintings curator at Mia

May 12, 2022

Anna Jackson: Keeper of Asian Department, Victoria & Albert Museum, London


Get Tickets

Friends Only Tour

September 29, 2021 11:00 am



Ticket Price: Free

Judaic Gallery Tour

This year’s Friends Only Events will allow us to meet in a smaller setting online, and we hope to gather in person beginning in January. We will explore a variety of topics that will allow us to share in our joy of learning about art, people, and cultures, and we will also go behind the scenes to learn about the departments in our museum that we typically don’t get to explore.

We invite you to join our Zoom lecture on Wednesday, September 29 at 11:00 a.m. Our lecture on Mia’s own Judaic Gallery will be given by Mia Guide Mary Ann Wark, a graduate of the Minneapolis Institute of Art Docent class of 2015. When not giving her own tours, she enjoys giving tours to her fellow Guides to encourage the excitement and joy of learning. We are told by her colleagues that Mary Ann is not only known for her vast knowledge of the collections in our museum, but also known for her caring and warm personality that she shares with the people around her.

The number of participants is limited to 30 in Zoom. Please RSVP by Monday, September 13 to or the Friends Office.

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

Join The Friends

Stepping Back in Time

Beverage of Choice

As early as the 1950s and 1960s, Friends often gathered in the Friends Fireplace Room when afternoon meetings wrapped up. No doubt some drank either coffee or tea, yet a glass of sherry was often preferred by many. Indeed, sherry was also largely preferred after lectures–so much that to prevent crowds gathering around the table holding the sherry, a practical traffic flow had to be installed. By 1965, rumblings were overheard regarding the quality of the sherry. After much discussion, Friends decided in order to keep the members from further disenchantment, the price of the sherry purchased was increased by twenty-five cents per bottle.

As sherry has such a storied history with the Friends organization, it was obvious that when the Friends history publication was recently completed, a bottle of sherry accompanied the celebration. Some traditions warrant revisiting, often bringing back tales enjoyed by many and prompting all to look toward the future to continue this tradition.

The Friends Centennial Committee is in full gear now. A detailed calendar will follow soon so members may mark their calendars to all celebrate 100 years of great friendship, accomplishments, and pride in all Friends does.

But before the full calendar comes out, know that January 20, 2022, is the opening luncheon and actual 100th birthday for Friends. We welcome Eike Schmidt, director of the Uffizi Museum in Florence, Italy, as he joins us as our guest lecturer.

 At this lecture, each member of Friends will receive the debut copy of Friends for 100 Years: A Lasting Legacy. It should prove to be a wonderful day, all gathering to celebrate a century of Friends.

 Centennial History Publication Committee:

Pamela Friedland, Linda Goldenberg, Mary Merrick, Suzanne Payne, Connie Sommers