Press Room / Friends of the Institute Celebrate 90 Years of Giving

January 10, 2012

Friends of the Institute Celebrate 90 Years of Giving

Friends of the Institute Celebrate 90 Years of Giving

Minneapolis, MN, January 5, 2012—The Friends of the Institute, one of the nation’s largest and most active art-museum volunteer organizations, celebrates ninety years of giving this year with two significant gifts of artworks to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA). The Friends’ gift, totaling $100,000, provides funds for restoring the MIA’s Saint Paul the Hermit, a massive 18th century baroque sculpture by Andrea Bergondi, and for helping to acquire Chiho Aoshima’s contemporary digital installation, City Glow, now on view in the museum’s exhibition “Edo Pop: The Graphic Impact of Japanese Prints.” To honor this occasion, a celebratory gathering will witness the unveiling of the fully restored Saint Paul the Hermit on Thursday, January 12, at 12:30 p.m. in the MIA’s Reception Hall. Historical documents and pictures tracing the Friends’ long history of support will also be on display. With a nod to events from the group’s past, a sherry toast and light refreshments will be served. Media are invited.

“The Friends are extremely proud of our many achievements over the past ninety years, and are thrilled to celebrate this milestone with these wonderful gifts to the MIA,” said Friends President Carolyn Dahl.

Founded in 1922, the Friends of the Institute is dedicated to supporting, enhancing, and sustaining the collections, programs, and influence of the MIA. Since its founding, the group has donated more than $6.5 million to the MIA. With nearly 1,000 members today, the Friends organization supports the museum in several ways—by providing free public lectures, funding buses to bring schoolchildren to the museum for docent tours, providing funds for acquiring works of art for the museum’s permanent collection, and underwriting innovative art education programs for children. Two major Friends fund-raisers—the popular Art in Bloom and Art Perchance—make this support possible.

Significant past art acquisitions funded in part by the Friends include:
• A rare eighteenth-century Bavarian nativity scene
• A Thomas Hope table, donated to MIA in honor of the Friends 75th anniversary
• A seventeenth-century Indian sandstone panel
• Amaryllis Jeune, a watercolor by Pierre-Joseph Redouté
• The Friends of the Institute Gallery of Tea Ceremony Arts, which houses a Japanese teahouse and tea-related works of art
• Vue du lac de Challes au Mont Blanc, an eighteenth-century pastel by Louise-Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun

The Friends’ record of supporting MIA exhibitions began in 1926 when the volunteer organization was just five years old and had fewer than 300 members. In the past five years, the Friends have continued their sponsorship role by donating over $200,000 to three major exhibitions including the MIA’s current “Edo Pop: The Graphic Impact of Japanese Prints.”

Art in Bloom has been the Friends most popular fund-raiser and largest volunteer effort since 1983. This year’s four-day festival will take place April 26–29, 2012. This annual spring celebration highlights the talents of more than 150 floral artists whose interpretations will be on view next to the works of art that inspired them. Art in Bloom fills the museum with beautiful floral displays and features lectures, demonstrations, special events, and free docent tours of the displays.

About the Minneapolis Institute of Arts
The Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA), home to one of the finest encyclopedic art collections in the country, houses more than 80,000 works of art representing 5,000 years of world history. Highlights of the permanent collection include European masterworks by Rembrandt, Poussin, and van Gogh; modern and contemporary painting and sculpture by Picasso, Matisse, Mondrian, Stella, and Close; as well as internationally significant collections of prints and drawings, decorative arts, Modernist design, photographs, textiles, and Asian, African, and Native American art. General admission is always free. Some special exhibitions have a nominal admission fee. Museum hours: Sunday, 11 A.M.—5 P.M..;Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, 10 A.M.—5 P.M.; Thursday, 10 A.M.—9 P.M.; Monday closed. For more information, call (612) 870-3131 or visit www.artsmia.org.
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Press Contacts: Tammy Pleshek; tpleshek@artsmia.org, (612) 870-3171
Anne-Marie Wagener: awagener@artsmia.org, (612) 870-3280