Students Appreciate Unique Minneapolis Institute of Art

The museum in Minneapolis allow students to learn in the real world

Jack Prince, Opinion Editor

Holding more than 90,000 works of art, the Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA)  draws visitors from all across the world. Established in 1883, the museum is home to art spanning across 5,000 years of history. The museum’s free general admission, art classes for young and old, is the reason why over 500,000 people choose the visit MIA annually. Spencer Okoronkwo ‘22 says, “I like MIA because the art activities give you a hands-on perspective of the art”.

What many people don’t know is how the museum came to be. Commonly, the creation of a museum seems like a bunch of people undergoing a massive construction project. However, when it comes to MIA, it was the opposite. In 1883, members of the Minneapolis community decided to carry out different art exhibitions around the city. This was all under the name of the Minneapolis Society of Fine Arts. The exhibitions continued for a decade until the institute moved into its first building, where the Minneapolis Public Library stands today. This sporadic first decade or so truly highlights the long and drawn-out process taken to create today’s MIA. However, it wasn’t until 1911 when the institute decided to move to its present day location. 

MIA was beginning to take its form when Clinton Morrison donated land from his father’s Vila Rosa mansion to encompass a new building for the institute. However, the vision for a new MIA came to a roadblock since the institute needed $500,000 for construction. Rather than planning out a long and egregious fundraising plan, a single fundraising dinner for the institute did the job. Within an hour and a half, $335,000 was raised for the new building. The generosity of the donors during this time period in MIA’s history reflected the high importance art held within the community. Without this importance, MIA may still be in its old location and not as substantial.

Since its unique creation, MIA has continued to expand and excite art lovers. With competition like the Walker Art Museum, MIA’s popularity has not diminished in recent decades. Instead, the 186 year old museum forges on with no end in sight.