Werner Bischof (Swiss, 1916-1954) Korea, 1951-1952, gelatin silver print, Gift of Steven Nordman 99.229.1 ©️ Werner Bischof Estate All Rights Reserved

Friends Newsletter

President’s Letter, April 2024

Dear Friends,

After a winter that wasn’t, I believe I can safely say that spring is here. We can look forward to our perennial Art in Bloom which is just around the corner from April 25 – 27. This is our 40th anniversary of putting on Art in Bloom! I think the Friends can be extremely proud of that accomplishment!

Art in Bloom is a great example of the Friends’ guiding values of belonging, learning and giving. By belonging, we mean that everyone is welcome, and as an integrated community, we can all join in the long-awaited anticipation of this change of seasons. By giving, we invite the community to join us at no cost. Indeed, most Art in Bloom events are free to the public (with exception of a few ticketed events). Finally, along with our colleagues at Mia, the Friends seek ways to improve accessibility, the visitor’s experience, and even the much-maligned parking. (Your comments are always welcome!)

With several guided tours, lectures, and workshops, Art in Bloom presents many opportunities to discover and learn.

Not least, we give our time and talent (hundreds of volunteer hours all year) to put on this amazing four days of springtime celebration. Read on to “meet” our Honorary Chair for AIB 2024, Ellen Archibald.

I hope you feel like you belong with the Friends and at Mia and that likewise you make others feel welcome.

Enjoy the timeless beauty of art and of flowers!

In celebration,
Barbara Proeschel
President, Friends of the Institute


Introducing Art in Bloom 2024 Honorary Chair, Ellen Archibald

Ellen Archibald between 2024 Art in Bloom Co-Chairs Barb Champ and Diane Morrison.

Ellen Archibald, pictured here, is flanked by 2024 Art in Bloom Co-Chairs Barb Champ and Diane Morrison. She is this year’s Honorary Chair. Ellen is a retired attorney who grew up in Minneapolis, just down the way in Edina. She fondly remembers being a frequent visitor to Mia and even interned at the museum one summer. When she “grew up” she moved away and has since lived in several cities on the east coast.

About 9 years ago, after her husband passed away, Ellen decided to move back to the Twin Cities. She soon got reacquainted with Mia and joined the Friends of the Institute. Since then, she has volunteered at Mia and has been involved for several seasons of Art in Bloom.

Ellen has always been an art lover and is an ardent proponent of equity and inclusion. She is involved with several institutions in town including the American Association of University Women (AAUW), Minnesota Orchestra, Guthrie Theater, and the Walker Art Museum. In her spare time Ellen likes to travel, walk and bike around our beautiful Twin Cities and has been known to meet friends at coffee shops.

The Friends are honored to have Ellen as an honorary chair in this 40th Art in Bloom year. Her support has been tremendous and very much appreciated!


Christi Belcourt’s spectacular painting It’s a Delicate Balance

Symmetrical design of plants, insects, birds, and amphibians in bright colors.

Christi Belcourt (Métis, born 1966), It’s a Delicate Balance, 2021, acrylic on canvas. Gift of Funds from Andy and Meg Ubel in honor of Mia’s Docent class of 2015. ©Christi Belcourt


The Friends of the Institute is excited to celebrate our 40th Art in Bloom this year, which will feature Christi Belcourt’s spectacular painting It’s a Delicate Balance as the signature piece. And we have a unique opportunity for you!

The Friends is hosting an intimate fundraising reception on Wednesday, April 24, 2024 from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. at the Minneapolis Women’s Club in honor of Christi Belcourt (pictured above). This is your chance to meet and talk with Christi in a relaxed atmosphere. There will be no formal presentation, just a wonderful opportunity to learn more about Christi’s art, thank her and acknowledge her as the force behind one of the most popular pieces at Mia.

We are limiting the tickets to 50 attendees. Savory appetizers and desserts, wine, beer, non-alcoholic beverages and a cash bar for cocktails will be offered. Tickets are $100 per individual, which will support the Friends’ goal of raising $100,000 during Art in Bloom to sustain and enhance Mia’s collections, exhibitions, and programs. Get Tickets Here.


Christi Belcourt

Here’s a little background on Christi Belcourt to whet your appetite:

Christi is a member of the Indigenous Métis of Canada, and she’s an artist who has this to say about nature and the universe: “Everything – the plants, insects, winds, stars, rocks, animals, us – is a giant web of pure spirit…the spirit world surrounds us at all moments and is present in all things….The mystery of this planet and this universe is too vast and too powerful to even begin to understand. All I know is that all life, even the rocks, need to be treated with respect.”

Her painting is an example of how Indigenous art reveres both the natural world and ancestral knowledge. These two are often indistinguishable for most Indigenous communities. The natural world of trees, plants and animals of both land and water are friends and relatives to humanity.

In her work, It’s a Delicate Balance, Christi Belcourt paints thousands of small dots as though she were beading on hide, to form a monumental image that visually shows us the interconnectedness of all things in nature. In using this approach, Christi Belcourt honors not only the tradition of Métis beadwork but also her love of plants and the natural world.

“This wondrous planet, so full of mystery, is a paradise. All I want to do is to give everything I have, my energy, my love, my labor – all of it in gratitude for what we are given. I’ll never be able to give back enough…My love for this world, and my love for everyone and everything is what drives me.”

Please join us on April 24 to spend time with this inspiring artist!


With the Arrival of Spring Comes Art in Bloom!

You are invited to experience the beauty and fragrance throughout the museum, with our 40th season of Art in Bloom. Mark your calendar and plan to join us for these wonderful events:

Wednesday evening, April 24 from 4:30 to 6:00 pm
An intimate fundraising reception for Art in Bloom will be held introducing Christi Belcourt, pictured above, who is the creator of the Art in Bloom signature piece, It’s a Delicate Balance. This event will take place at the Minneapolis Women’s Club. Ticketed and limited event, $100 per person. (Details in article above.)

Thursday, April 25 at 11 a.m.
Garden of the Mind: The Art and Practice of Christi Belcourt – Artist and creator of It’s a Delicate Balance will speak about her work and the inspiration behind it in the Pillsbury Auditorium. Ticketed event. $25 per person.

Thursday, April 25 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
The Minnesota Center for Book Arts will lead a Printmaking Workshop for guests in the Mia Studios.

Friday, April 26 from 6:30 to 11:30 p.m.
Party in Bloom, a joyful celebration of Friends with friends. Ticketed event. $300 per person.

Saturday, April 27 at 11 a.m.
Still: The Art of Noticing – Local author and artist Mary Jo Hoffman will speak about her new book project and sign advance copies (currently only available at Mia) in Pillsbury Auditorium. Ticketed event, $25 per person, books $60 each.

Saturday, April 27 from noon to 4 p.m.
Lindsey Cherek Waller will lead a Still Life Workshop for guests in the Mia Studios.

Sunday, April 28 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The annual Family Event will take place in the Reception Hall with activities geared towards our younger Art in Bloom guests, but fun for the whole family. Includes a community art project inspired by It’s a Delicate Balance. Free event.

Join us daily throughout Art in Bloom for free guided tours of Mia’s art as interpreted by our Pedestal Floral Artists. Scheduled tours begin in the second-floor rotunda of the McKim Building at:

Thursday: 10:15 a.m., 11:15 a.m., 1:15 p.m., 2:15 p.m. and 7:15 p.m.
Friday through Sunday: 10:15 a.m., 11:15 a.m., 1:15 p.m. and 2:15 p.m.

For more information and to purchase tickets for Art in Bloom events, visit the Art in Bloom 2024 landing page.


Opportunities on Friends of the Institute Board
Our vision: “Where everyone is a friend”

If you enjoy being engaged at Mia please consider serving on the Friends of the Institute Board
of Directors. The Friends Board governs the organization, which in turn, is guided by our values of belonging, learning and giving. We have leadership opportunities for the 2024-25 fiscal year, which begins on July 1, 2024. You will find that serving on the Friends Board is immensely rewarding as they are the body that discusses and takes action on the strategies that fulfill our mission– projects such as Art in Bloom, the Friends school bus fund, the Friends lecture series, art & architecture trips and our book club.

The board meets monthly at 10 a.m. on the fourth Thursday of the month. No meetings are held in June, August or December. Excused absences are acceptable. Board meetings usually last from 60 to 90 minutes, plus an optional 30 minute coffee and social time prior to each meeting. To express interest or for more information please email Julie Holland at holland.julie@gmail.com


April Friends Lecture

Thursday April 11
11:00 am
Pillsbury Auditorium

Art in Bloom at Mia is quickly approaching. Have you ever considered how this huge event comes together? How are the Pedestal Artists chosen? Who selects the art that is interpreted? Can the artists refresh their flowers? This is the behind the scenes lecture you’ll want to attend.

Our April Friends Lecture will feature a panel discussion with previous and current Art In Bloom Floral Pedestal Artists regarding their inspirations, processes and objectives in creating their pedestal pieces.

We will also hear from Barb Champ and Diane Morrison, 2024 Art in Bloom Co-Chairs, as to what happens behind the scenes throughout the year to make happen this beloved annual event.

The April lecture will be Thursday April 11 at 11:00 am. There will be coffee and treats available before the lecture. To reserve your seat call 612-870-3045 or go online to Friends Lecture: Floral Artist Panel


April Friends-Only Book Club
Friday, April 19
10:00 am
Friends Office

“All the Beauty in the World: The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Me” by Patrick Bringley

Your membership in the Friends makes it a pretty safe bet that you love art and museums. It also makes it a pretty safe bet that you’ll be interested in the book we’ll discuss on Friday, April 19; All the Beauty in the World: The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Me.

The author, Patrick Bringley, left a lucrative NY job to spend hours “doing nothing” as a guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He tells us about his own family history that led him to seek the position, particularly about his brother, who had recently died of cancer, and he does this as he is guiding us from one area of The Met to the next.

The book club will meet in the Friends office for a book discussion from 10 to 11 a.m., followed by a guide-led tour of the collection inspired by the book from 11 a.m. to noon. Space is limited and advance registration is required. To sign up, call the Friends office at 612-870-3045, or email friends@artsmia.org.

If you are looking forward to the May 17th discussion, find yourself a copy of Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus.


Globetrotting: Friends Tours Take Art Lovers to Russia, Sweden, and Our Own Basilica.
Enjoy these photos of Recent Friends Events!

A fascinated Friends group filled the Museum of Russian Art on Friday, February 16, to have our own Margo Squires tour the group on the art of Yugoslavia-born sculptor Matija Vukovic, now living in the Twin Cities and Nature’s Saints: Icons by Olga Volchkova. Painted in the traditional style of Eastern-Orthodox icon-painting, this delightful artwork shows the fundamental role plants provide to safeguard life on earth, painted in the style of icons.

This was followed by a tour of the work of Leon Hushcha, given by special request, by the artist himself. Mr. Hushcha was an enthralling speaker, as he touched on his own life growing up in a refugee camp in Austria, his parents having escaped from the Russians in Ukraine post WWII. He eventually made his way to the Twin Cities as well. We encourage you all to make a visit to TMRA to see this incredible art.

It was an enchanting tour that was led by Johan Van Parys, Managing Director of Ministries/Director of Liturgy and Sacred Arts and Kathy Dhaemers, Associate Director of Sacred Art at the Basilica of Saint Mary, Minneapolis, to the Friends of Mia on a cold January day. Not only did the group get to experience the art in the Basilica, but they experienced a behind-the-scenes view of vestments, art restoration, creches, and a private room filled with religious prints. It was truly awe-inspiring and unforgettable.

The Friends “decked the halls” of The Swedish Institute on December 12, with a delightful private tour, just in time for the holidays. As you can see from this photo, a merry time was had by all!


A Few Suggestions for More Fun Around Town:

Friends of the Minnesota Orchestra
Friends ACCENT with Thomas Sondergard, Music Director
Tuesday April 30, 6pm
Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis
Questions and ticket info: friendsofminnesotaorchestra.org

Art 4 Shelter Art Sale
Simpson Housing Services
Friday May 3, several events
Glass House, Minneapolis
Questions and ticket info: art4shelter.org