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  • Meg Ubel

GUIDES GATHER TOGETHER: THE SPRING 2023 MIXER RECAP

The guide mixer on March 23 was a great success by all accounts, with about 60 guides attending the event. People were excited to be together again and there was no lack of laughter and conversation. It was an evening of seeing new and old friends, as well as catching up on all the news at Mia and opportunities for guides.


Guide Council members Shawn Gilliam, Loreen Fripp, Kit Wilson and Lyn Osgood


As we settled into our seats in the Wells Fargo Room with hors-d’oeuvres and wine, Debbi began the program by introducing Mia’s new Chief Operating Officer, Michael Sanders. Before coming to Mia, Sanders was the President of the Bakken Museum in Minneapolis and he emphasized to the guides his focus on museum education and visitor experience.


Valéria Piccoli then came to the podium. She is the new Ken and Linda Cutler Chair of the Arts of the Americas and curator of Latin American Art at Mia, having joined the museum in the fall of 2022. Piccoli is in charge of the upcoming special exhibition ReVisión: Art in the Americas. She worked with the Denver Art Museum to bring this exhibition to Mia, and is also including 37 Mia artworks in the show, which runs from July 1 to September 17. She gave us a short presentation on the exhibition and also told us about some new acquisitions in her area.


Guides listening to presentation given by Valéria Piccoli


Virajita Singh spoke briefly as well. She recently came on board as the museum’s first Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer (CDIO), following a national search. Singh comes to Mia from the University of Minnesota, where she served in the Office for Equity & Diversity (OED) since 2015, first as the Assistant Vice Provost and, since 2019, as the Associate Vice Provost. We learned that she originally trained as an architect—a field in which she has practiced and taught since 1992, both in India and in the United States. You may also know Singh from her days giving tours as one of Mia’s guides.


Turning to guide business, our Mia Guide Council members introduced themselves and each told of their role. Kit Wilson and Lyn Osgood then spoke of the many reasons why being part of the Council is so rewarding and invited guides to join the Council.


The evening closed with another opportunity for guides: joining a “buddy group.” Signup sheets were available at the mixer, and Rose Stanley-Gilbert gave examples of how a buddy group can work and how supportive it is. If you are still interested in becoming part of a buddy group, it’s not too late; just contact Kara to express your interest.


Finally, thanks to Lyn Osgood and Loreen Fripp, Mia Guide Council Social Co-chairs, for organizing this event and bringing together so many guides for an enjoyable and informative evening. If you weren’t able to make it to the mixer, be sure to mark your calendars for our next event: the Guide Anniversary Celebration on June 8.



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