FRIENDS ANNUAL REPORT 2015-2016

Hello Friends! 

We missed you in June. The Friends Office has had a bit of a respite this month after Art in Bloom but the planning really never stops, especially as a new board takes office July first.  But before we dive into future plans I’d like to report on our organization’s 2015-2016 accomplishments.  In May, at the Annual Meeting, I reported on the past year’s achievements.  Following is my report in its entirety for all members to read at their leisure.
I hope your sun filled days are fun filled days!

Take care,

Connie

FRIENDS ANNUAL REPORT 2015-2016
The 93rd Annual meeting of the Friends of the Institute is now in session.

One year ago we were half way through Mia’s 100th Birthday Year.  The Friends was part of this very significant celebration as the first sponsor to pledge $500,000 to Mia’s Birthday. Because of the work and dedication of Friends members, at the end of this fiscal year we will have paid off more than 4/5th of our pledge.  This accomplishment emphasizes the close connection and mutual respect we have for Mia, the staff and administration.  The expert leadership of Duncan and Nivin MacMillan Director and President, Kaywin Feldman, as well as the guidance of the Chief Advancement Officer and liaison to the Friends, Julianne Amendola, and support of Maurice Blanks and the Trustees of Mia, cannot be underestimated.  We are privileged to work in such a supportive environment.
Just two weeks ago we were hosting thousands of guests at Mia for the 33rd Art in Bloom.  To be exact, we had over 35,000 guests enjoying flowers and lectures and shopping and friendship throughout the museum for four days. This is the 3rd consecutive year attendance has been 35,000 or more.  Art in Bloom is the Friends’ largest fundraising event.  We don’t have any final financial figures; however, the work of over 300 volunteers and 160 pedestal floral artists promises to be quite successful. The money we raise enables us to run the business of the Friends.

The Friends continued the tradition of free monthly lectures, with many attracting crowds large enough for substantial overflow.  These lectures are sponsored by the generous gift of the Mark and Mary Goff Fiterman Lecture Fund.  I’m sure none of you will be disappointed with the line-up starting in September.

This school year was an outstanding year for the Friends Transportation Fund.  Friends provided a record 111 buses for students who all received a docent or Art Adventure led tour at Mia.  We were able to add buses for high school students this year and next, thanks to the 2015 Fund-a-Need donation of $20,000.  Schools represent the greater Twin Cities area and were chosen depending on their percentage of free and reduced lunches.

The Friends Children’s Programs had a unique experience when we funded a community mural project at Centro Tyrone Guzman Community Center.   It’s an active multi-generational center for the Latino community located on Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis.  Some of the Friends attended the mural dedication in September to celebrate the completion of the first phase of the project.  We look forward to the completion of the final phase in the next few months, now that the weather is milder.

The Friends Endowment for Education contributes nearly 12% of Mia’s educational department budget, Learning Innovation.  Mia’s LI department is dedicated to providing programming for children and adults.Our Friends membership stands at approximately 1,200 members.  That includes not only the greater Twin Cities but also St. Cloud and Rochester.  We are very proud of our membership and all the varied activities that we are able to offer.  Most of our communication with our Friends members is through our digital newsletter.  It is able to deliver Friends news to Friends in a timely fashion, inexpensively and efficiently.  We appreciate our members’ patience as we transition from paper to 21st century technology.
A bit earlier this year, the Friends had their Art & Architecture tour in March.  We went to Cuba!  We had a delightful trip; it was extremely educational and a lot of fun. Our group of 24 Friends felt as if we had stepped back to the 1950’s.  It was quite an experience learning first-hand about the friendly Cuban people.

The Friends Only events have given us numerous opportunities to enjoy laughter, knowledge and time with our comrades.  In the fall, we had a Friends #101 class, designed to inform Friends about our organization, followed by a tour with Nicole LaBouff focused on the large tapestries in the Fountain Court.  Later, we had a tour with curator Aaron Rio through the recently acquired Mary Griggs Burke collection.  Winter brought an evening of wine, coloring and a tour with John E. Andrus III Curator of Prints and Drawings Tom Rassieur through his delightful exhibit in the Cargill Gallery.  We also visited Mia’s Archival Library with Janice Lurie, Mia’s head librarian.  Our Friends Only committee organized docent lead pre-lecture tours prior to these monthly lectures and the ever-popular book club that includes a docent lead tour followed by a discussion and treats.

Of course, all of these exciting events could not happen without the friendly, professional help of our Office Administrator, Kate Smith.  She is the Friends liaison with our members, our Board and Mia’s staff.  I am so grateful I have the pleasure to work with her.  Please stop by the office just to say ‘hi’ and help yourself to a piece of chocolate.  If you’re not a Friend, why not join us?  Our memberships start at $45.  Become a member of this dynamic, exciting group and enjoy the friendship.

I love the job of Friends President because of you.  It is a privilege to work with such an outstanding, talented group of individuals.  Thank you sounds a bit underwhelming, but I sincerely do thank you for your support and friendship.

Connie Sommers