President’s Letter, May 2023
How can two years pass so quickly? My term as Friends president comes to a close on June 30th making this my last president’s letter. I have truly enjoyed my term and I will definitely miss this job. The best part has been engaging with you, our members and volunteers. I treasure the friendships I have made and cherish every one of the happy moments we’ve had together.
It has been a privilege to work at Mia. I have great respect for Katie Luber, the Nivan and Duncan McMillon president and director of Mia, and the entire Mia staff. I am especially grateful for the support of Claire Goulson, our intelligent and conscientious operations coordinator.
The Friends are a devoted group of volunteers who give generously of their time, talent —and yes, dollars. Clearly the Friends have earned all the accolades and respect they have received from Mia. I am confident we are heading into a very exciting and successful second hundred years.
The achievements of the past year are impressive. Here are a few highlights:
- Art in Bloom 2023 was an unmitigated success and we reached a record breaking attendance of 62,000. Party in Bloom sold out, the Saturday seminar sold out and the family event was attended by over 1500 guests.
- Friends are ahead of schedule in extinguishing our Delacroix pledge.
- Rochester Friends celebrated their 40th anniversary.
- Friends closed the centennial year with a Summer Soiree, an event at the Goldstein Museum of Design, a spectacular fashion show and a children’s day celebration.
- Friends had nine outstanding lectures including our first held on a Sunday afternoon. This weekend time slot allowed us to reach a new audience. Pre-lecture tours came back. Pre-lecture coffee and conversation continues.
- Friends sent members a bi-annual postcard with a calendar of upcoming events.
- Friends took an Art & Architecture trip to Detroit visiting the DIA to see a special Van Gogh exhibition. We also visited the Cranbrook Institute and other places of significance.
- Plants & Flowers continued reaching out to the neighborhood with an inclusive holiday display located at the 24th Street entrance.
- Friends attended Hearts & Arts, a successful fundraising event held in a historic home.
- Friends gained 55 new members at our AIB table. We initiated Twenty for $20, a reduced fee for younger members.
- Friends adopted a vision statement, Where everyone is a friend. We also adopted values statements supporting concepts of: 1) belonging, 2) learning and 3) giving.
- Friends funded 51 school buses bringing young people to Mia for tours.
- Friends reached out to Centro Tyron Guzman, a Latine community center, and provided free transportation to AIB. We plan to expand this program.
- Volunteer services continue to engage members in new ways.
- Friends monthly newsletter, book club and outreach tours continue to engage our members.
May 11th is our next lecture which will be given by Stephen Ostrow. He will be speaking about Caravaggio and the poetics of violence. Prior to the lecture, please plan to attend our annual meeting in the Pillsbury Auditorium at 10:45 AM. Details in the newsletter.
My very best wishes to next president Boyd Ratchye and the new Friends board. It has been a great privilege and joy to serve as your Friends president. I thank you for a wonderful two years.
Cheers to a successful Art in Bloom!
As we go to press with this newsletter, Art in Bloom is just wrapping up. We are pleased to report a record-breaking 61,856 visitors got to enjoy this annual event. Spring has been slow to come this year, so the gorgeous flowers and artwork at Mia were especially appreciated and welcomed by our many visitors. This multi-day event is made possible by diverse efforts of hundreds of florists, volunteers and art lovers. We thank them all for their many contributions!
May Friends Lecture: Professor Steven Ostrow on Caravaggio
Thursday, May 11, 11:00 am
Please join us in welcoming Steven Ostrow, professor of art history at the University of Minnesota, in a discussion of “Caravaggio’s Judith and Holofernes: History Painting and the Poetics of Violence” on May 11 in the Pillsbury Auditorium.
In 1599, after producing a series of largely single-figure genre works and just before receiving his first public commission, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio—early modern Italy’s most revolutionary painter—executed his first truly dramatic history painting for the discerning Genoese-born collector in Rome, Ottavio Costa. Depicting the violent beheading of the Assyrian general Holofernes by the beautiful Jewish heroine Judith, it marked a radical turning point in the history of depictions of this subject and, more broadly, in the history of Italian painting.
This lecture will present Caravaggio’s mesmerizing work within the context of his own, turbulent life; in relation to the religious and social Roman world in which the painter lived; with respect to its place within the painter’s own maturation as an artist; and with regard to the development of early baroque Italian painting. Special attention will be given to the work’s unprecedented brutality, drama, and psychological intensity; its temporal and physical immediacy; and its (often overlooked) eroticism.
The lecture begins at 11 am, but come early for coffee and treats in the Rotunda anytime after 10:15. 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.
Save the Date: Friends September Lecture: Michel Picaud on Restoring Notre Dame
Thursday, September 14
It is a beloved medieval gothic cathedral that has stood for over 800 years. In April of 2019, a structural fire broke out that caused extensive damage and collapsed the cathedral spire. Can Notre Dame de Paris reopen as planned by the end of 2024?
Save the date for our Friends September lecture on Thursday September 14th, for “Restoring Notre Dame de Paris.” Michel Picaud, president of the Friends of Notre Dame de Paris, will share insights and stories about the challenges and promises of the reconstruction process. He will share the latest updates on the restoration of one of the most beautiful and well-known cathedrals in the world.
Friends members can secure their lecture ticket two days before the general public so mark your calendar to get tickets on August 15.
Following the lecture, please plan to join us for the Friends Fall luncheon. More information to come!
Friends Book Club
May 19, 2023
10:00 am Coffee and Conversation
10:15 In-Person Discussion
11:00 am Live Gallery Tour
What better way to greet spring than diving into a good book? Discussing it with Friends on Friday, May 19 at 10 am! We start with Book Friends Coffee and Conversation, followed at 10:15 with our literary discussion at Friends Book Club, which leads you at 11:00 to a private book tour. We will be discussing the book in the Friends conference Room, just off the Friends Office. Feel free to come even if you haven’t read it, to be inspired by a really great tour after the discussion.
Weaving together the voices of four indelible women, The Seed Keeper is a beautifully told story of reawakening, of remembering our original relationship to the seeds and, through them, to our ancestors. It takes place in Minnesota, in and around Mankato, and is a complete page-turner.
Please sign up at firstname.lastname@example.org or 612-870-3045. An early sign up really helps us in planning these tours! This event is a Friends Only Event. Looking forward to seeing you in May to enjoy this thoroughly enjoyable read.
Following up on…
Our April speaker, Dr. Vanessa Rousseau, was asked by a Friends member about the possibility of auditing courses at the University of St. Thomas. Here is some information she provided:
The Selim Center for Lifelong Learning at St. Thomas offers a variety of programming for people aged 40 and older including a Lecture Series, multi-week courses and “Lunch’n Explore” events in the spring and summer Terms. In addition, the Center’s “Go-to-College” program allows community members to audit regular St. Thomas undergraduate courses, including those in the Art History department. For more information, see the Selim Center’s website.
Dr. Rousseau also mentioned an upcoming event in the Art History department featuring Honors students in a class that she teaches about art and materials analysis:
Honors Art & Materials poster session: Learn about how Art History and Science can work together in interpreting and understanding artworks! This event will be held on Tuesday, May 9, 10 am to 11:30 am at the Anderson Student Center (3rd floor Hearth Room/ASC 340), 2115 Summit Ave, St. Paul.
We are grateful to Dr. Rousseau and the University of St. Thomas for making these opportunities available!