Friends Newsletter

President’s Letter, April 2023

Dear Friends Members,

April is here, and sooner or likely later, we’ll finally have spring and that means Art in Bloom. Hurray for all that change for Friends everywhere.

On Thursday, April 13, Vanessa Rousseau, an art historian and archaeologist, will speak on the history of looting, art theft, and destruction from ancient times to the present. This lecture is supported by the Mark & Mary Goff Fiterman Fund, and we are lucky to have Professor Rousseau speaking to a timely issue.Pre-lecture tours are available to all Friends members. Call 612.870.3000 to register.

On Friday, April 21, the Friends book club will meet for a discussion and tour of The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

And from Wednesday April 26 through Sunday April 30, we have our delightful Art in Bloom at Mia. Thanks go to Jaime Gearhart and Diana Morrison and their committee for all the different events we can and do enjoy during Art in Bloom.

All Friends members are invited to an Art in Bloom Preview Reception on Wednesday April 26 from 2:30pm to 4:30pm. While the flowers are fresh and while we are too, we have an opportunity to see the Art in Bloom floral displays. Refreshments will be served, and we can enjoy Art in Bloom and spring together.

You can find more information about Art in Bloom and details about the weekend’s events in this month’s newsletter.

That’s enough for April, but we do want to remind all members that next month on Thursday, May 11 we have a wonderful day full of Friends events:

That day at 10:45am-11:00am we have our annual meeting. Please do attend—we need a quorum!

And at 11:00am Steven Ostrow, a professor of art history at UMN will be speaking about Caravaggio’s Judith & Holofernes: History Painting & the Poetics of Violence. His comments will be followed by our Spring Luncheon—a don’t miss event every year.

That’s enough for April and even a heads up for May. Thank you for being a Friend of the Institute.

Boyd Ratchye
1st Vice President and President-elect


Art in Bloom

Art in Bloom buds have popped up and from April 27-30 will be in full blossom at Mia! Here’s what’s in store:

Thursday, April 27 – Opening Day. Doors open 10 am – 9 pm:

Popular award-winning public radio podcast host Jennifer Jewell will speak to Cultivating Place & a Garden Culture of Care in Pillsbury Auditorium at 1 pm. Jennifer is a highly recommended inspirational thinker and presenter who will appeal to more than just the gardeners among us, encouraging us all to look at the green growing world all around us in a new way. After, she’ll be signing her empowering book, The Earth in Her Hands which features 75 women in the field of horticulture. Jennifer’s book is available in the Mia Store for $35 (with a discount for members). You can purchase your $25 ticket for this talk online or call 612.870.3000. She’s fabulous and you’ll love her!

Friday, April 28 – Ascend Mia’s iconic stairway into a floral explosion:

Celebrate the vibrancy of spring with Friends, flowers, and incredible art at Party in Bloom. Purchase individual tickets for $300 per person online, or call 612.870.3000. Contact Claire for more information about sponsoring a table or becoming an Art in Bloom Patron at any level. Art in Bloom is about looking at art through fresh floral eyes, and Party in Bloom is the reimagination of what it’s like to spend an evening in a museum while supporting Friends’ mission of helping make art more accessible to everyone. The evening promises to be beyond your springtime imaginings!

Saturday, April 29 – Welcoming guests from 10 am – 5 pm:

Be inspired to reimagine your outdoor spaces in our seminar, Beauty and Bounty: Creating Sustainable Landscapes and Gardens for People, Plants, and Pollinators, featuring three horticultural experts from the U of M and Bachman’s. Together they’ll inspire us to take a journey through best practices in sustainable design, pollinator support, and will provide resources on how to create and care for a gorgeous garden you can learn from and love. You’re sure to enjoy this intellectual and practical endeavor! Tickets are available online for $15 per person and the presentation is in the Pillsbury Auditorium from 1 pm – 2:30 pm

Sunday, April 30 – Buds & Bloomers celebrate Manchu Woman’s Unofficial Informal Summer Robe:

Young guests are always welcome at AiB, but especially on Sunday when, from 10 am until 1 pm, they’ll be treated to activities designed just for them. Bring the family to enjoy performances by the CAAM Chinese Dance Theater at 10:30, 11:30 and 12:30 and participate in a community art project. There will be lots to do at this free and welcoming event in the Target Reception Hall.

PFAs Give Deep Thought to Floral Interpretations:

Art in Bloom Pedestal Floral Artists (PFAs) spend endless hours in the weeks prior to AiB dreaming, envisioning, designing, and revising their amazing floral displays. Their florals interpret individual pieces of art in the Mia galleries and help us see the art in a new way. The result of this creative process is the explosion of flowers we all experience, and what is truly at the heart of Art in Bloom. From our youngest contributors to Holly, our esteemed 91-year-old floral designer, each of our floral artists gives their heart to their floral designs.

Atzin (age 8) and Izel (age 6) help their god-mom, Stefanie Levi, imagine their floral interpretation of the 3,00-year-old Olmec Mask, shown here. This overview by Izel, sketches and visualizes their creative process as they begin planning their design. Look for and enjoy their ultimate floral creation in Gallery 260 during Art in Bloom!

Mary Ann Morgan, a 7-year Pedestal Floral Artist, has designed this beautiful exhibition highlighting her participation in Art in Bloom for the Airport Foundation MSP.

Mary Ann’s AiB interpretations combine her floral designs with fused glass vessels created specifically to mimic her matched art. Her MSP exhibition is a replication of her original live flower AiB displays, using silk flowers, and accompanied by links to Mia’s art. The information included in the exhibit promotes “the annual celebration of art and flowers, presented by Friends of the Institute…,” fulfilling one of Mary Ann’s goals of raising awareness among travelers about Art in Bloom. This exhibit will be on display in Gallery H11 at MSP in Terminal 2 until February 2024, and will be revised to promote AiB 2024 once dates are determined. You’ll find Mary Ann’s 2023 interpretation of Still Life, in Gallery 367.

All Pedestal and Commercial Floral artists are interpreting specific artworks this year. The PFAs are matched to interpret art in the galleries from Mia’s permanent collection and all CFAs will be interpreting Art in Bloom’s Signature Piece, Manchu Woman’s Unofficial Informal Summer Robe. Guests will enjoy comparing the various CFA interpretations of this single work of art, which, during Art in Bloom will be displayed in the General Mills Lobby, just in front of the Mia Store. There will be QR codes (one for CFAs another for PFAs) linking guests to our floral artists’ statements sharing how the art inspired their floral designs, along with information on which galleries and museum locations contain those designs.

All Friends are Encouraged to Promote Art in Bloom!

In addition to buying tickets, all Friends can invite their family, personal friends, neighbors, and business associates to Art in Bloom. To help you do that, share this link with anyone interested: In the Friends office there are extra paper copies of Art in Bloom and Party in Bloom invitations, as well as Art in Bloom bookmarks for you to distribute. Stop by or call Claire, 612-870-3045, for more information.

Finally, as you experience Art in Bloom, however that looks for you, please consider posting pictures and comments on the Mia Facebook page and on any other social media platforms you connect with. The Mia media team is hard at work promoting all we’re doing with Art in Bloom. Your efforts will help get the word out and create a buzz for AiB in the community. #miainbloom.

Friends Only: Art in Bloom Preview Reception

Wednesday, April 26
2:30 – 4:30 p.m. 
Wells Fargo Room

Please mark your calendars for our April Friends Only event taking place on Wednesday, April 26, from 2:30 – 4:30 p.m. in the Wells Fargo room.

Members are invited to a complimentary reception with light refreshments, and the opportunity to take an early look at the Art In Bloom floral displays.  

Please RSVP to Claire Goulson in the Friends office,

April Friends Lecture: Archaeological Looting from Antiquity to the 21st Century

Thursday, April 13, 11:00 am
Pillsbury Auditorium

Have you wondered why Russian armies are emptying museums in Ukraine, even as they gain control over cities there? Contemporary assaults on cultural heritage in Ukraine and in the Middle East illustrate the mercenary and ideological motivations that have been a tactic of warfare since antiquity.

Come along with art historian and archaeologist Dr. Vanessa Rousseau as she explores the long history of looting and destruction of art, archaeology and cultural property from ancient times to the present. She will discuss the consequences and challenges of this illegal and destructive activity for the source countries, as well as for museums, collectors and art historians. She will also highlight potential solutions as we consider how to best protect our shared cultural heritage.

Dr. Rousseau is an art historian and archaeologist specializing in the art of the ancient Roman Mediterranean, art authentication, provenance and cultural heritage preservation. She currently teaches at the University of St. Thomas and regularly travels to do archaeological fieldwork, research and technical object analysis in Europe and the Mediterranean. Her most recent expedition was to an island in Croatia, leading students in the excavation of an ancient Roman villa. Dr. Rousseau lectures locally and internationally, and is currently president of the Archaeological Institute of America’s Minnesota Society.

Join us early for coffee, treats and conversation in the Fountain Court outside the auditorium. Remember to reserve your free tickets online or by calling 612.870.3000. Friends members are also invited to join a free pre-lecture tour. Call 612.870.3000 to register.

Friends Book Club

April 21, 2023

10:00 am Coffee and Conversation
10:15 In-Person Discussion
11:00 am Live Gallery Tour

With Art in Bloom coming up, join your Friends for a discussion of a classic story on April 21 at 10:00! We start with coffee and conversation, followed by a focus on our book at 10:15, and then a private tour at 11:00. We meet in the Friends conference room, inside of the Friends office. Feel free to come for a great discussion and tour even if you haven’t read the book!

The winds off the moor bring us to our live Friends book discussion and tour on The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. When orphaned Mary Lennox comes to live at her uncle’s great house on the Yorkshire Moors she finds it full of secrets. The mansion has nearly one hundred rooms, and her uncle keeps himself locked up. At night, she hears the sound of crying down one of the long corridors. The gardens surrounding the property are Mary’s only escape. Then Mary discovers a secret garden, surrounded by walls and locked with a missing key. One day, with the help of two unexpected companions, she discovers a way in. Is everything in the garden dead, or can she bring it back to life?

Please sign up with Claire Goulson at or 612-870-3045. An early signup really helps us in planning these tours! This is a Friends Only event. Looking forward to seeing you in April to enjoy this classic!

Rochester Friends

Thursday, April 20
10:00 Coffee
10:30 Lecture with Katie Luber
History Center of Olmsted County

The Rochester Friends of Mia are pleased to welcome Dr. Katie Luber, the Nivan and Duncan MacMillan Director and President of Mia, for our monthly lecture on Thursday, April 20. We would like to invite all Friends to join us at 10:00 for coffee, and at 10:30 for a lecture at the History Center of Olmsted County, 1195 West Circle Drive, Rochester.  Feel free to call 507-202-7123 with any questions.

Remembering our Friend Mary Agnes McQuinn

On March 28, we lost Mary Agnes McQuinn, a kind and generous supporter of Mia and the Friends.

Showing their keen interest in art, Mary Agnes and husband Al stepped up and became major contributors to the acquisition of Still Life with Dahlias, Zinnias, Hollyhocks and Plums, c. 1835 by Eugène Delacroix, Friends Centennial gift to Mia.

Throughout the years, Mary Agnes was also devoted to Art in Bloom, the beloved Twin Cities community celebration of spring. Mary Agnes loved art and flowers, and always stood ready to support Art in Bloom whether it was sponsoring the gala opening party, serving as an honorary chair with her daughter Susan Arndt, hosting a Friends fundraising event in their Naples home or contributing to a countless number of other gatherings.

Mary Agnes’ sincere, open-hearted, compassionate nature will be sorely missed. The Friends were fortunate to have had her loyalty and friendship.