As I look to the conclusion of my term as Friends president, I am reminded that above all, our members mean everything to the organization. Friends is only able to fulfill its mission of supporting, enhancing and sustaining the collection, programs, and influence of the Minneapolis Institute of Art with the wholehearted support of its members.
This year has been extraordinary in so many ways. With closures at Mia and the Friends office, member numbers predictably waned. Nonetheless, Friends volunteers responded valiantly and successfully to give members and the public worthwhile virtual programs. The Membership committee also launched a membership drive, offering complimentary membership for the remainder of 2021. From February to April, the membership has had a remarkable growth of over 130%, as the Friends organization prepares for its hundredth birthday celebration in January of 2022.
Throughout its long and rich history, the Friends have brought so much to Mia and the community, including lectures from the very beginning. Look through the museum collections and notice Friends’ support for art acquisitions. Contemplate the beauty of Still life with Dahlias by Eugène Delacroix, Friends gift in commemoration of its hundred years at Mia. The Friends organization has also been steadfastly supportive of children’s programs and transportation for students coming for art tours.
Also in my two years as president, I have become increasingly aware of Mia’s appreciation for Friends members, who generously offer their talents and hard work to honor the mission. Let’s continue to grow and make the Friends organization stronger in support of Mia and the community. I thank you for encouraging others to join. And lastly, I am also grateful for this opportunity to have gotten to know and work with so many of you. It has been a most rewarding two years.