Mia Stories

  • Mia Stories is the museum beyond the walls, outside the frame, at the lively intersection of life and art. From behind-the-scenes buzz to inspiring connections with current events, it’s the museum in conversation.

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Art Inspires: Frank Bures on the lobster coffin of Ghana

The first dead person I ever saw in daylight was a young boy lying next to a road in Tanzania. It was early morning and we were driving south on the country’s main highway when I saw the crows fly up out of a ditch. I craned my neck to see what they’d been eating. . . . Keep reading »

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Once at Mia: When art was always in bloom

This week, the Friends of the Institute will host the 33rd annual Art in Bloom festival at Mia. It may well be 75 degrees outside. But the first AIB, back in 1983, introduced flowers into the museum after a spate of particularly long, snowy winters at a time when winter was much colder and longer in . . . Keep reading »

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Girls Design the World goes to Africa

The Kenyan moonlight—serious moonlight—revealed a zebra. Then another. And another. A herd had congregated along the perimeter of Nairobi National Park. This was just the beginning of a cultural exchange between a group from Mia and our Nairobi partners in “Girls Design the World: Supporting Green Communities with STEAM,” and we were already inspired. Since . . . Keep reading »

MIA 3.6; Construction of the Tange Expansion; Groundbreaking Ceremony

Once at Mia: Hip to the new museum

By the early 1970s, Mia was getting claustrophobic. It hadn’t built any new galleries since the 1920s, and, like so much of the ’70s, was suffocating from excess. Witness the wallpaper. This photo was taken in March 1972 at the groundbreaking of the museum’s new expansion, which would open in fall 1974. A minimalist addition designed by . . . Keep reading »

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MPR’s Andrea Swensson on mental health, creativity, and the April 13 “Imagine Wellness” event at Mia

Andrea Swensson, who hosts The Local Show on MPR’s 89.3 The Current and writes its music blog, launched a podcast last September called The O.K. Show. It explores the intersection of mental health and creativity, the emotions that artists express in music, and how music, in turn, can impact those emotions. It’s candid and conversational, . . . Keep reading »

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Women at work: Harriet Hosmer

Harriet Goodhue Hosmer was one of the leading female sculptors of the 1800s, possibly the only woman of her time to gain complete financial independence through her art. Like Rosa Bonheur, another highly successful and unorthodox woman artist, Hosmer was encouraged by her father to pursue art and physical activity—she was a sickly child—and traveled west . . . Keep reading »

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Women at work: Rosa Bonheur

Rosa Bonheur was one of a kind—the most renowned female artist of her day and fiercely independent, dressing like a man in defiance of Victorian-era gender roles. Most of her work featured animals—lions, horses, goats. She frequented slaughterhouses to better understand the anatomy and emotions of animals. “I became an animal painter because I loved to move among . . . Keep reading »

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Once at Mia: A fighter in the ring

Before Doryphoros, before Mia’s grand 24th Street entrance closed for a time, the museum’s rotunda was occupied by a warrior: The Fighter of the Spirit. Ernst Barlach’s sculpture of an angel defeating what may be the so-called wolf of materialism or greed became a pacifist symbol when it was created in 1928, in the wake of . . . Keep reading »

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Women at work: Elizabeth Catlett

Elizabeth Catlett was the granddaughter of former slaves. She focused her art, a mix of sculpture, painting, and prints, on the struggle for civil rights and the female African-American experience. She was a teacher at first, before World War II, when opportunities for women artists, much less African-American women, were almost non-existent. It was a trip to . . . Keep reading »

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Women at work: The lacemakers

Lace was a luxury in the 1600s, sometimes formed with metallic threads of gold and silver—you could literally wear your wealth on your sleeve. Women made all of it. Young women, usually, even girls. The work required so much focus, squinting in dim candlelight, that failing eyesight was an occupational hazard. Lacemaking was not a . . . Keep reading »