President’s Letter

As Katie Remole ends her two-year presidency of the Friends, she reflects on all the wonderful ways the Friends have helped Mia thrive and grow.

Katie Remole, Friends of the Institute President

As my term as Friends president comes to a close, I want to let everyone in our organization know how the vibrancy and commitment of Friends members continues to astound me.  Meeting and working with so many talented and dedicated members who share a passion for Mia has been an incredible experience.

This past year has seen our Board and Executive Committee, Art in Bloom co-chairs and office staff work together to support, enhance and sustain the collections and programs of Mia.  Here are some highlights.

My job would not be possible without the dedication and hard work of the executive committee.  First Vice President Maria Eggemeyer, always ready to tackle new projects; Second Vice-President Julie Holland, a great support and confidant to me who lead Research and Planning through many needed improvements; Secretary Fran Megarry besides taking wonderful notes during our meetings, had a wealth of institutional knowledge to share; Treasurer Molly Van Metre did a huge and important job updating our bookkeeping and in simple language explained the complexity of our monthly finances and Carol Stoddart who took the reins of Development and more closely melded our efforts with Mia’s office of philanthropy.

Eugene Delacroix’s masterpiece Still Life with Dahlias, Zinnias, Hollyhocks and Plums now hangs in the galleries, Friends’ gift to Mia in commemoration of our 100th anniversary in 2022.  Within two years we are over 75% toward fulfilling our commitment to the museum.  This acquisition nicely punctuates the power of Friends working together to further our mission.

Art in Bloom 2019 was a splendid event thanks to our Art in Bloom co-chairs Barb Champ and Kris King.  Many thanks also to the Art in Bloom committees, all the volunteers who donated thousands of hours before and during the event, and Mia leadership and staff. There were 165 pedestal floral artists and 20 commercial florists who transformed Mia into a flower filled festival that brought in nearly 50,000 people during our four-day event. And this, despite an April blizzard on opening day!

Each year we work hard to enhance our endowed Transportation Fund through our Buy-A-Bus campaign.  Our Transportation co-chairs, Mary Meuwissen and Laura Miller coordinated 164 buses filled with more than 8,000 school children to Mia for a docent or art adventure led tour.  We can be proud of the numbers of lives we touch with this program, exposing young minds to our world-class collection at Mia.

Lecture co-chairs, Liz Short and Helen Leslie and their hard-working committee continued the tradition of providing exceptional lectures, free to the public, September through May. The Mark and Mary Goff Fiterman Fund generously supported two of these lectures.  Speakers this year were diverse as always and ranged from a White House photographer to a local art critic, a nationally recognized Native American potter and poet to an international historian on book forgeries. Our year concluded with Lonnie Bunch, the founding and current director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture.

The Hospitality co-chairs, Arna Yetter and Carol Poulson planned and executed luncheons after four of our lectures and under their guidance and creativity, attendance climbed significantly with each luncheon.

Our Newsletter co-chairs Sharon Secor and Laurie Fontaine-Junker continue to publish an informative and interesting Friends Newsletter  This year we started publishing our Newsletter on our web page. Laurie also updated our web page to make it easy to navigate and fun to click around to learn all about the Friends information.

Our Friends Only Events fill up quickly and this year was not an exception.  Under the able direction of Michele Byfield-Angel, we offered five very interesting and well received Friends Only tours, including curator led tours of the permanent collection and special exhibitions.  Jeanne Scheiderer led our book club, which changed its location to the beautiful Mia library for book discussions and coffee, followed by a docent led tours.

Due to the very capable leadership abilities of Linda Boelter and her hardworking Centennial committee the planning for our 100th anniversary celebration in 2022 is well underway.

Barb Edin and the History committee made great strides this year in organizing and cataloging Friends history. This is ever more important as we gear up for our 100th anniversary.

Under the tutelage of membership co-chairs Teresa Luterbach and Boyd Ratchye, our renewal reminders are back on schedule and the membership climbing numbers show their efforts are working.

Our annual Art and Architecture tour stayed local this year and sold out within days of being offered. Barbara Proeschel planned a very interesting tour on June 6, of mid-century modernism in Minneapolis and St. Paul.  Look forward to seeing photographs in the next Newsletter.

Volunteer Services chair, Sue Stillman is ever ready to call on her faithful list of Friends members whenever we need volunteers to step up and help.

Fundraising co-chairs, Beverly Hauschild-Baron and JeanMarie Burtness planned what promised to be a wonderful event, but had to be deferred due to apocalyptic weather that shut down Minneapolis, a city that prides itself on braving blizzards. They have already re-scheduled the event for Fall 2019.

The Outreach Committee, under the direction of Nancy McRae and Kris Bjorklund continued its program with members training to be Picture People for the Art Adventure program. Friends volunteers went into elementary school classrooms as Picture People and chaperoned the students at Mia for their guided tour. This program has been enjoyed by our Friends volunteers and the students who enjoy learning about the art in their classrooms and coming to Mia for an Art Adventure tour.

Maria Reamer and Therese Blaine and their Plants and Flowers committee put together an outstanding seasonal display this winter, enjoyed by all Mia’s guests.

The Friends board next year promises to be outstanding thanks to the nominating committee well run by Connie Sommers.

The very capable liaisons Chris Vickery and Melissa Semrad respectively, worked with Rochester president Sharon Parham and St. Cloud president Amanda Falloon. We are fortunate to have strong Friend’s affiliate networks for their important community leadership on our behalf.

I would like to thank my advisors, Linda Bolter, Carolyn Dahl, Mary Olson and Joan Kampmeyer, and also Sheila Morgan and Katie Searl from my first year. Thank you for your support, friendship, and advice during my presidency. Your wisdom, perspective, and insight helped me immensely with the sometimes tough decisions that come with this office.

All of this could not happen without the solid support of our Friends Operations Manager, Jackie Figueroa. Also, we were fortunate to have two very capable Project Assistants, Kimberly Peterson and Lizzie Ginsberg, help leading up to Art in Bloom. Their contributions helped Friends put together a very smooth and well-run Art in Bloom 2019.

The Friends are privileged to work with the very helpful and dedicated Mia staff and administration. I particularly want to thank Julianne Amendola, Mia’s Chief Advancement Officer and Kaywin Feldman, the former Duncan and Nivin MacMillan Director and President of Mia. Their support, along with that of the curators and support staff, provided the framework that allowed Friends to deliver on our mission.

In July, Maria Eggemeyer will begin her two-year term as president of Friends of the Institute.  I know Maria will be an exceptional Friends president.

As we near our 100th anniversary, the Friends remain a strong and vibrant organization–important in the many ways we support Mia.  It has been an honor and privilege for me to serve as your president. Thank you for your support and I look forward to seeing you in the galleries of Mia.