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  • Writer's pictureMaryam Marne Zafar

The Fall Mixer: Friends, New Faces and Vitality Arts

On a rainy evening in October, a sizable group of guides gathered in Target Reception Hall for the fall mixer. Guides enjoyed conversation and hors d’oeuvres before settling in for an informative program.

Lynn Farmer chatting with Rose Stanley-Gilbert greeting all who attended Photo: Meg Ubel

Debbi welcomed us with words of appreciation for the ways in which guides engage visitors and provide a doorway to the art. She introduced Avi Mylrea, Major and Planned Gifts Officer from Mia’s Advancement division, who joined us for the evening. A number of new Mia employees then introduced themselves and were greeted warmly by the crowd. First, we met Lori Williamson, who is the Collection Care Specialist in the Print Study Room. She takes the place of Kristin Lenaburg in that position, and she encouraged us to bring tour groups in to visit the study room and look at prints. She can be reached at

We also met Lynn Farmer, Mia’s Chief Audience and Engagement Officer, who joined Mia in September. She is in charge of the Audience division, overseeing Mia’s marketing, communications, and the learning group of which Mia Guides is a part. She said she sees herself as a “community steward,” using her skills to help the community. Lynn comes to us from Twin Cities Public Television, where she was VP of Marketing. Last but not least, Ashley Linarte was introduced; as the new Tour Coordinator, she will play an important part in our work, and you can learn more about her elsewhere in this issue.

Lynn Farmer chatting with Kit Johnson, Co-Chair of the MiaGuides Council Photo: Meg Ubel

The rest of the evening was given to a presentation by Sheila McGuire, Head of Student and Teacher Learning and Julie Bourman, Vitality Arts Coordinator. They provided us with an overview of the Vitality Arts program at Mia, which aims to tap into the creativity of older adults throughout the Twin Cities. The program launched in September 2022 with a grant from E.A. Michelson Philanthropy. So far Mia has collaborated with a variety of community partners such as Centro Tyrone Guzman and Opportunity Partners to put on seven art making workshops for adults age 55 and over, each led by a professional teaching artist and lasting 8 weeks. Participants learned new skills, from drawing to painting to theater, while stretching their imaginations and meeting new friends. An exhibition of works made by the participants was on view in the Community Commons gallery this fall. For more information, see Mia’s website:

Lynn Farmer chatting with Kit Johnson, Co-Chair of the MiaGuides Council Photo: Meg Ubel

Guides lingered for a bit more conversation and connection before heading out into the night. Lyn Osgood and Julie Holland (Guide Council Social Co-chairs), together with Rose Stanley-Gilbert and Lisa Mayotte, were responsible for planning and executing this wonderful event. Thank you!

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