President’s Letter

Dear Members,

In late November the ambient light has changed and moody skies invite reflection. It’s a special time for families and friends to gather, celebrate traditions and share savory meals. I am thankful for many things including my talented Board of Directors, our Operations Coordinator Claire Goulson, and the supportive staff at Mia. 

We are looking forward to Mia resuming regular hours. Starting Tuesday, November 23, Mia will be open every day from 10-5, and open Thursday evenings until 9 pm (closed on Mondays).

In December, Friends will have the opportunity to mingle in person at our appreciation sale. This happens on Wednesday, December 1 and Thursday, December 2 in the Wells Fargo Room from 10am – 5pm. This sale is open to Friends members and Mia staff. These are new items purchased for the AIB 2020, an event that was canceled due to Covid-19.

On January 20, 1922, 45 women met in the museum’s boardroom to officially form Friends of the Institute. On January 20, 2022, exactly one hundred years later, Friends plan to celebrate in a very special way. Look for your invitation to an in-person lecture and birthday luncheon to arrive in the mail. Dr. Eike Schmidt, Director of the Uffizi Galleries, will be the speaker. Current members will receive a beautiful complimentary coffee-table book Friends for 100 Years. Ticket sales open December 10. Don’t miss this festive event. 

I look forward to seeing you in person very soon. 

Centennial History Publication Column: Stepping Back in Time

Holiday Shopping on the Mind?

In 1956, Friends were asked to be in charge of ordering and sales of artwork reproductions primarily sold at the museum’s Sales and Information Desk. So, it was a natural transition to be asked by then Mia director Richard Davis, to run the museum’s gift shop. Friends agreed to take on this huge responsibility. Until the mid-1990s, Friends managed all hiring, staffing, accounting, selling, buying, and payroll duties for the museum shop. Profits were designated for Mia to cover costs of special projects. At the height of this time period, more than 60 Friends volunteers filled scheduled hours.

To maintain consistency in the duties and performance of volunteers, each volunteer received “The Museum Shop Volunteer Book of Knowledge.” As mentioned in the first page of the manual, “We are not a small shop run ‘for fun.’ We are a major contributor to the Acquisitions Fund of Mia. The Friends are extremely necessary to the well-being of the shop.”

The manual continues with general advice regarding restroom breaks, mentioning a volunteer never goes to the restroom or takes a break when there are 50 people in the shop. Also, volunteers are “never afraid of rain, sleet, snow, spiders, or dust!” In terms of expected attire: “We love to see you looking beautiful, but practicality must reign. Our new carpet is very nice to stand on, but comfortable shoes are a must. The climate of the shop varies quite a great deal. The best way to dress is in layers–you never know—sometimes we take off and sometimes adding on is a necessity.” Food is discouraged in the shop proper, and cigarettes may be enjoyed with the available coffee in the staff lounge. 

The manual continues to state that volunteers are not expected to know everything, but please ask if an answer is needed: “Never lie to a customer—they may know more than we think.” Never express negative comments to a potential buyer trying on jewelry. “We all have different tastes…keep comments in your head. And she who slammeth jewelry drawers, spendeth long hours straightening them!” And most importantly, we all know jewelry is lovely, but try them on while you are not working! And finally, keep those jewelry drawers locked: “We trust no one!”

One additional comment from the extensive volunteer manual recommends volunteers do not shop while on duty. “While you shop, so does the shoplifter. Thanks be to those who do not!”

Lastly, but perhaps most important, the volunteer manual stresses  “development and maintenance of a professional attitude in interactions with customers, staff members, and other museum shop employees. A positive outlook is contagious!”

Over the years, many treasures and gifts have been purchased in the museum’s gift shop to celebrate special occasions.  Now it’s time for Friends to commemorate and celebrate its own treasures on its 100th birthday that will take place on January 20, 2022. What better way to celebrate this milestone than attending the January lecture featuring Dr. Eike Schmidt, director of the Uffizi Galleries in Florence, followed by a ticketed luncheon filled with celebration. At this luncheon, each current Friends member will receive a complimentary copy of the Friends centennial publication, Friends of 100 Years, A Lasting Legacy.

 Centennial History Publication Committee

Pamela Friedland
Linda Goldenberg
Mary Merrick
Suzanne Payne
Connie Sommers

Delacroix Pledge Update

The Friends of the Institute, in celebration of their 100th anniversary, pledged a gift of $1,050,000 for the Eugene Delacroix’s Still Life in Dahlias, Hollyhocks and Plums (detail), c. 1835.

$1,050,000 goal will bring the Delacroix into full bloom! $747,613 raised to date!




$747,613 raised to date





As the Friends celebrate their legacy with this beautiful gift to Mia in their centennial year, the progress made towards fulfilling our commitment will be featured by bringing the painting into full bloom with generous gifts from you! Thanks to those who contributed $2,000 since last month!

Checks can be made out to “Friends of the Institute” and sent to the Friends office. Please indicate that your donation is for the Delacroix Fund. For gifts other than checks, please contact the Friends Office for assistance by calling 612-870-3045.
Our address is: Friends of the Institute, Minneapolis Institute of Art
2400 Third Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55404

December Friends Lecture

December 9, 2021 11:00 am


Ticket Price: Free

Rose B. Simpson

Rose Simpson’s work is powerful, earthy, with an independent voice.  Born in 1983, she comes from the Santa Clara Pueblo in New Mexico, famous for ceramics the women have produced since the 6th century, C.E.  She is a mixed-media artist, whose work includes ceramics, sculpture, metals, fashion, performances, music, installation, writing, and custom cars.

Rose still lives and works in the pueblo where she was born. It is the center of her world, the center of the earth, and where she finds inspiration.  Her life and her work goals are to find the tools to use to heal the damages she has experienced as a human being in our postmodern and post-colonial era objectification.  These tools are sculptural works of art that have a healing function that she hopes will become useful for everyone.

She is the daughter of Roxanne Swentzell, a renowned sculptor, and metal artist, and Patrick Simpson a wood, and metal sculptor.  Rose received an MFA in ceramics from the Rhode Island School of Design, an MFA in creative nonfiction from the Institute of American Indian Arts, and while an artist in residence at the Denver Art Museum, she acquired a certificate in auto body in the New Mexico College automotive science program.  With that knowledge she customized a lowrider car, painted it in the black on black style of Maria Martinez, another well known pueblo artist, named it “Maria,” and installed it at the entrance to the Hearts of our People exhibit at Mia a few years ago.

It can be said that Rose Simpson’s work is ultimately about the human condition.  She is forced to grapple with cultural insensibility, but sees the fight against the racial determination of her work as a privileged engagement.  Some of the decisions she makes are intentional to deconstruct stereotypes around culture and gender.

Rose B. Simpson is an exciting, creative, expressive, skilled, thoughtful person who uses her art to express her thoughts, ideas, and feelings about the issues that are important to her and, she hopes, to everyone.

We have the privilege of seeing, and hearing her virtually December 9 at 11 am via Zoom. Please join us.

Get Tickets

You’re Invited: Friends Appreciation Sale

Mark your calendars! To show our appreciation, the leadership of the Friends of the Institute are hosting a holiday sale exclusively for Friends members and Mia staff.

Stop by the museum on December 1 or 2 when merchandise from the 2019 and 2020 Art in Bloom shops will be sold at 50% off. Come and browse large and small home décor, kitchen items, garden tools, and women’s apparel and accessories. Note that 2019 merchandise has already been marked down to sell, and 2020 merchandise was never sold publicly.

December 1–2
10 am to 5 pm

Wells Fargo Community Room

Minneapolis Institute of Art
2400 3rd Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55404

More information on directions and parking here.

What you need to know:
Credit card purchases only.
All sales are final. No refunds or exchanges.
We are unable to hold merchandise.

We strongly encourage you to bring your own bags. Limited paper bags will be available. Wrapping stations will be available if you wish to wrap your purchases.

Please reach out to the Friends office at if you have additional questions. We hope to see you at the sale!

Friends Only Tour with Mia Guide Mary McMahon

December 1, 2021 11:00 am



Ticket Price: Free

Join us to “Journey into Blue” 

You’re invited to our December tour on Wednesday, December 1 at 11 AM on Zoom. This month, we welcome our speaker, Mary McMahon, from the Mia 2015 Docent class.

Mary will join us for the hour to present this month’s topic: “Journey into Blue.” Through an art history lens we will explore the color blue and its never-ending fascination for artists through the centuries.

Space is limited to 30 participants. RSVP by Monday, November 29 to or phone: 612-870-3045.

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

Join The Friends

President’s Letter

Dear Members,

Have you strolled the Mia galleries lately? Simply walking into the building is a color trip as russet, gold and lime leaves swirl around Third Avenue.

I recommend a visit to The Contemporary Print, 20 Years at Highpoint Editions exhibition (October 9 through January 9). The remarkable prints hanging on the walls (such as Harriet by Rico Gatson, pictured below) are buoyed by labels that spotlight the printmaking process.

Rico Gatson (American, born 1966), Harriet, 2018, Color photolithograph and photopolymer gravure.

The exhibition includes a pop-up print studio where local artists conduct live printmaking every other Saturday. On your way out, consider a stop at Agra Culture for a cup of hot coffee and a generously sized cookie.

As always, our dedicated committees have planned an outstanding itinerary of events for you. As members you are invited to:

  • Shop at our clearance sale on December 1 and 2. Find beautiful new items originally purchased for the 2019 and 2020 Art in Bloom shop. All items priced to sell. More details to come.
  • Participate in the Friends book club and private tour on Friday, November 20. We’re reading Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer.
  • Attend the Friends lecture on Thursday, November 11. Tova Brandt, Director of the Danish Museum will talk about mid-century modern Danish design.
  • Attend a Friends Only talk on Wednesday, November 17. The topic is Post-Impressionism.
  • Mark your calendars — January 20, 2022 will be an exceptionally brilliant day with the Friends Centennial kick-off lecture and luncheon. Eike Schmidt, director of the Uffizi Gallery in
    Florence will give the Fiterman Lecture, followed by an elegant luncheon in the Target Reception Hall. Look for your invitation soon.

These events were planned with you in mind. Enjoy these and all the  benefits of your membership by renewing early. Details and ticketing are found in this newsletter.

Thanks for being a Friend of the Institute.

My best,

Stepping Back in Time

Friends Sales and Rental Gallery

When the Little Gallery opened within the museum’s gift shop in 1961, its mission was to draw attention to  regional sculptors, graphic artists, and painters and their work.

To find the artists represented, the Little Gallery coordinator, often accompanied by  a volunteer, would travel throughout the region to scout outstanding talent at college and university art departments, art centers, local studios and art shows. Ads were placed in art magazines and newspapers requesting interested artists to submit resumes and slides to the Gallery.

To approve the art, a selection review committee was established that consisted of local collectors, artists, and curators. Excellence in originality and technique were important criteria for selection. The art was reasonably priced, with intent to sell. These Upper Midwest artists experienced exposure to a wider market, increasing the number of potential buyers.

The name was eventually changed to the Friends Sales and Rental Gallery, largely run by Friends volunteers and a paid coordinator. Two-month rentals were available to Minneapolis Society of Fine Arts members, with most prices beginning at just $50. If preferred, these pieces could also be purchased by members as well as the general public. Profits from the gallery were designated towards the wish list submitted by the museum director.

In 1975, the Friends Gallery initiated annual exhibitions at area corporate business offices such as 1st National Bank of St. Paul, Ellerbe, Inc., and National Life Insurance Company. Invitations were sent out for exhibition openings, with the event often including celebrity hosts. The exhibition would remain open for several weeks, allowing area businesses to enjoy the art as well as purchase favorite pieces for their own private collections.

Friends felt it was important to provide an educational component to the Gallery’s existence so in 1980, a complimentary mini-course was offered called “Viewpoints on Collecting Contemporary Art.”  Shortly afterwards, a one-day walking tour of galleries and artist studios was arranged, allowing visitors to converse with area artists.

Unfortunately in 1986 the Friends Board voted to phase out the Gallery. As written to one artist, “At a time when there are fewer galleries in the area to provide artists with an opportunity to exposure, fewer consultants and a strong need for the educational role of our gallery, we felt that we could provide an unmet need in the community. With the changing needs of the Institute and the growing number of galleries and consultants in the community it was felt that the Gallery had fulfilled the mission it set out to accomplish.”

A reminder: Friends membership renewals will be due in January of 2022. (Please note that next year all renewals will take place at one time, not scattered throughout the year as previously done.) With your January renewal, you will continue to enjoy all the benefits of being a Friends member and you will receive your complementary copy of Friends for One Hundred Years: A Lasting Legacy. This book highlights the past 100 years of Friends and guides us into the next era of supporting Mia, the surrounding community, and enjoying the strong friendships we have developed sharing these same goals.

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


Art in Bloom 2022

Eugene Delacroix, French, 1798-1863, Still Life with Dahilias, Zinnias, Hollyhocks, and Plums (detail), c. 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, and Mary and Douglas Olson

The 2022 Art in Bloom (AIB) committee held its first meeting on October 6th where they unveiled their signature image, Still Life with Dahlias, Zinnias, Hollyhocks and Plums. Dated: c. 1835. Artist: Eugène DelacroixThis piece was selected to honor the gift the Friends made to the museum during Mia’s Centennial year.

Co-chairs, Kris Bjorklund and Sheila Folkestad, along with an exceptional committee are looking forward to bringing Art In Bloom back to a live and in-person experience at the museum this coming spring. It’s also the Friends Centennial birthday, so we have much to celebrate.

We look forward to seeing you all at Art in Bloom.

Art in Bloom Co-chairs,
Kris Bjorklund and Sheila Folkestad

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