Don’t Miss It: A New History of Chicago Art

Robert Cozzolino will speak at 11AM in Pillsbury Auditorium at Mia on Thursday, March 8 as part of the Friends Lecture Series sponsored by the Friends of the Institute.

Robert Cozzolino, Patrick and Aimee Butler Curator of Paintings at Mia

Where does Chicago’s art history belong in the bigger picture of American art? Learn about the artists, innovations, and connections that make Chicago’s art history exciting and critical to the history of art. Mia’s Patrick and Aimee Butler Curator of Paintings, Dr. Robert Cozzolino is one of the contributors to and editors of a big new book on Chicago’s artists, to be released this fall. Come hear about what made the city sing as a sneak peek.

Free tickets are available for this lecture for Friends members and the general public by calling 612.870.6323 or online by clicking here. Overflow seating in the Wells Fargo Community room will only be available if the auditorium is sold out.

Join Us for Friends Only Book Club

Friends Only Book Club Meets March 16 to discuss a conservationist’s memoir, with birds.

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The selection for the March 2018 Friends Only Book Club is a memoir by conservationist Michelle Raffin.

The Friends Only Book Club meets Friday, March 16 for a 10:30AM docent tour, and an 11:30AM discussion of Birds of Pandemonium: Life Among the Exotic and Endangered by Michele Raffin. We will meet in the Curtis Carlson Family Foundation Studio (Rm 114) and the docent tour departs promptly at 10:30AM. No reservation is required.

Michele Raffin’s chance encounter with an injured white dove ultimately resulted in her becoming an exotic bird rescuer, conservationist, and founder of Pandemonium Aviaries, a nonprofit bird sanctuary that is devoted to saving birds from extinction.

As Raffin says in her memoir, “I intend to convince you that ‘birdbrain’ is the finest of compliments. Our birds are gorgeous. But that’s not why I’ve fallen for them so hard and so deeply. I’ve learned that their behavior is far more fascinating than their plumage.”

According to NPR’s Heller McAlpin,  “… Raffin seduces us with entertaining stories of some of her fine feathered friends, anthropomorphizing them with names and personalities.”

Meganne Fabrega in the Star Tribune writes, “Raffin creates the perfect balance of humor and gravity by raising some serious conservation concerns and then tempering them with heartfelt anecdotes. Above all, it is Raffin’s obvious passion for her unexpected calling that makes this book such an utter delight.”

We cordially invite you to join us as we tour objects in the collection and discuss this charming memoir.

Future Friends Only Book Club dates are as follows:

Friday, April 13 for Homegoing: A Novel, by Yaa Gyasi

Please contact Ellen Archibald or Jeanne Scheiderer ( with any questions.

Tattoo curious? Join us for THE ART OF POWER/THE POWER OF INK!

Explore the fascinating, rich art history of the tattoo at the Minneapolis Woman’s Club with Mia Friends.

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Dr. Anna Felicity Friedman, an interdisciplinary scholar, tattoo/body art historian, and tattoo collector, will speak at The Art of Power/The Power of Ink lecture at the Woman’s Club in Minneapolis.

You’re invited to an evening at the Minneapolis Woman’s Club on April 12 at 5:30PM to explore the fascinating, rich art history of the tattoo. Your guide? The illustrious Dr. Anna Felicity Friedman, an interdisciplinary scholar, tattoo/body art historian, and tattoo collector.

Dr. Friedman’s picture is worth a thousand words:  the perfect introduction to a woman who promises to be interesting, provocative, scholarly and multicultural.  In addition to her work on the history of tattoo, she has been assistant curator in the History of Astronomy department at Chicago’s Adler Planetarium, worked at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art and the Field Museum and plays bass in a band. Doesn’t this sound like a speaker best enjoyed with a glass of wine in hand?

Dr. Friedman will speak at Mia on the morning of April 12 at 11AM at a Friends lecture but will then guide us through new landscapes not yet explored in the evening lecture.

Join the Friends of the Institute for an evening of body art appreciation at the Minneapolis Woman’s Club at 5:30PM on April 12, with wine,  appetizers and a new talk by Dr. Friedman. Tickets are $25 and are available at .

Continue the conversation at dinner following the event. For reservation information, contact Beverly Hauschild Baron at

Join a Friends Volunteer Opportunity

Bring Art Adventure to first graders in a neighborhood school close to Mia.

Calling all new and former Art Adventurers: Mia is bringing the Art Adventure program to neighboring Whittier School. It’s an easy, fun way to spark a love of art and foster critical thinking in young people. Volunteers work in pairs/teams. Choose 1-3 visits (3 preferred, if possible). Carpooling from Mia to/from Whittier available. To volunteer, or for information, contact
Nancy McRae 612.240.3774 or email

Dates for Art Adventure include:

  •       Training (required): Thursday, April 5, 10:30-12:30PM at Mia
  •       Classroom visit: Thursday, April 12, 10:30 – 11:15AM at Whittier School
  •       Classroom visit: Thursday, April 19, 10:30 – 11:15AM at Whittier School
  •       Classroom visit: Thursday, April 26, 10:30 – 11:15AM at Whittier School
  •       Optional field trip to Mia with your classroom: Date TBD


Tattooing’s Vibrant History: Ancient to Contemporary

Anna Felicity Friedman will speak at 11AM in Pillsbury Auditorium at Mia on Thursday, April 12 as part of the Friends Lecture Series sponsored by the Friends of the Institute.

Anna Felicity Friedman, PhD, will speak on the history of tatooing at the April Friends Lecture Series.

Anna Felicity Friedman describes herself as an “interdisciplinary scholar, tattoo/body art
historian, and tattoo collector.” Friedman will speak at Mia on April 12 on the history of tattooing. She has been studying tattoo history for the past 20 years after discovering rare books on sailor tattoos housed in the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. Her interest and fascination have led to a 27 year personal experience of tattoo placement.

Dr. Friedman, who received her PhD from the University of Chicago, lectures on the history of tattoos which date as far back as 40,000 years ago. At times tattoos have held the label of deviant or taboo, but in many places throughout the world they have functioned as very important cultural markers, often quite abundant in their presentation. Interesting to note, many of the current tattoos acquired by many include reconstruction and reiterations of historical practice.

In 2015, Friedman published The World of Tattoo, outlining the range of tattoos from ancient times to present day. Friedman has been particularly interested in discovering and tracking movement of varying styles of tattoos from their indigenous settings to scattered populations or communities. Of particular note is the exploration of the popularity of tattoos in the current time. Friedman recently launched a foundation as an adjunct to her writings, curatorial consulting, and lectures about tattooing.

Friedman has taught at the School of Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Chicago, sharing her expertise in the areas of liberal arts, visual and critical studies, performance art, art history, and social studies. She has also held the position of assistant curator in the History of Astronomy department at Chicago’s Adler Planetarium. An active blog site, is maintained with Friedman’s goal of posting at least one tattoo history fact on a regular basis.

Free tickets are available for this lecture starting March 15 for Friends members by calling 612.870.6323 or online by clicking here. Tickets are available March 17 for the general public. Overflow seating will be available if needed.

Calling All Friends: Are You Going to Washington DC?

More rooms have recently been added to the Friends trip to Washington, DC in June 2018. Don’t miss out on this opportunity!

The 2018 Art and Architecture trip has been so well received that the committee has added a few more rooms at the historic Willard Hotel to allow more Friends to come along this June. There will be Friends-only tours in Washington’s best museums and architectural buildings as well as private tours to several hidden gems in our nation’s capital.

The trip promises dinners and receptions in settings you can’t get into on your own as well as a special event: Cori Wegener, a former assistant curator at Mia will host us at the Society of the Blue Shield, a division of the Smithsonian. Here she will tell us about many success stories saving national treasures in war torn areas around the world and show us around their conservation lab. We’ve even obtained tickets to the Phillips Collection After Hours to hear live jazz set among their collection!

For more details, click this link. If you have any further questions, please call Vanessa Blaisdell at Carrousel Travel 612.866.2503. Call soon as it promises to be a great trip and there are only a few spots left.

Honor a Friend, Give to Children: A School Bus to Mia

The arts and education are so important to the future of Mia and the future of our youth. Remember a loved one with the gift of a school bus.

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More than 65 bus grants were funded in 2017 thanks to gifts to the Transportation Fund.

Many Friends have given the gift of a school bus to Mia to celebrate happy occasions like birthdays and Christmas. But the same gift is also a lovely way to honor and remember someone who was important to you.

Past Friends President Connie Sommers made this choice when her dear friend Paul’s mother passed away. “Paul’s mom was an accepting person who always supported him artistically. I wanted to remember her in a special and meaningful way,” Connie explains. “What could be better than bringing 45 children to Mia in her name?”

The arts and education are so important to the future of Mia and the future of our youth. Remembering a loved one with the gift of a school bus, Connie comments, “lets them live on in those kids. Who knows what seeds will be sown in this one special visit?”

This past year 65 bus grants were made to underserved schools in the Twin Cities. These grants give their students the opportunity to tour Mia’s outstanding art collection and be inspired by the wonder of art. Each grant is funded by the Friends Transportation Fund, made possible by each $175 gift to the fund. As a token of the gift, each recipient is given a miniature yellow school bus.

Honor a friend, celebrate a friend, remember a friend; contact the Friends Office at 612.870.3045 to buy a bus for $175.


Beauty and Simplicity for Contemplation

Graceful ewer will be one of the objects used for interpretation during Art in Bloom this April.   

By Susan Arndt, Mia docent

It is cold outside, negative four degrees to be exact. Even a short walk outside to get the mail demands more then one layer. When my dogs are met with a blast of arctic air at the door, they just look up at me in disgust. It is time to put my winter survival plan into action.

Ewer, c,1700 Unknown artist, India Zinc alloy; cast engraved, inlaid with brass

I start pulling up photos of flowers from my garden. The photos provide a memory of warm summer days, their sights, their smells. As the sun slowly becomes more direct they help me visualize the return of my summer paradise. I also start scanning the museum for objects that will help me quench my longing for spring. I found the perfect match in the Islamic gallery (G243), a small graceful ewer, used for hand washing, covered with an orderly floral motif. The ewer will be one of the objects used for interpretation during Art in Bloom this April.

The ewer was made in the late 17th or early 18th century near Bidar, India on the Deccan plateau. Bidri ware, as it is known, is a unique type of metal work. Functional objects such as boxes for pan (betel leaf), trays, hookahs and water vessels were cast from an alloy of zinc mixed with small amounts of copper, tin, and lead. The objects are engraved and inlaid with silver and or brass. The inlay is masked and the object is covered with a mud that is only found around Bidar. The mud contains ammonium chloride and copper sulfate which reacts with the metal alloy to turn it a velvety matte black, exaggerating the inlaid motif on the object when the mask is removed.

Though the metalcraft itself is unique to the area around Bidar, the design motifs had been influenced by the cosmopolitan flow of trade and the rise and fall of empires including the Persians over time. Though the area was originally Hindu, the introduction and adoption of Islam strongly influenced the art and architecture of the area.

Screen Shot 2018-02-20 at 11.38.10 AMThe motif on Mia’s ewer covers the entire surface. Sprays of flowers with their leaves are stylized and repeated on the rounded surface of the ewer. Smaller vegetal patterns trace the pedestal foot, handle and spout. Beautifully decorative, the patterns are intended to evoke the description of Heaven found in 164 verses of the Qur’an. Paradise described as a walled garden; its sounds, its smells, its trees, flowers and flowing water. Water that gives life to the garden is a gift from Allah that sustains all. Words of the Prophet quench the faithful longing for Paradise. From this ewer, water flowed over hands to purify before and after meals, like a call to prayer.


Art in Bloom 2018: Kickoff Event — Becoming Delacroix: Pint & Paint Night

Banner image: Eugène Delacroix, French, 1798–1863, Still Life with Dahlias, 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

Join your Friends at Fulton Brewery Taproom in the North Loop of Downtown Minneapolis for a Pint & Paint night on Monday, March 12 from 6 to 9PM!

Dabble at painting your very own masterpiece with art instruction from Melanie Mozingo, an art and design educator at Mia. In fact, break out your formal flannel and your beret to dress the part of a French artist as you nod to the gypsy jazz sound of Café Accordion Orchestra. Guaranteed to be an evening of music, fun and frivolity, tickets will go fast and seats are limited to 75 people.

Tickets are on sale now and include beer, canvas, paints, professional instruction and hearty French fare prepared by chef Scott Pampuch, the chef behind Corner Table and Tour de Farm.

$75 per person until March 1 after which tickets are $100 until event is sold out. 

Reserve your ticket by calling 612.870.6323 or online by clicking here.


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