Taking a Mental Break at the Minneapolis Institute of Art

Jennifer Howard and Taylor Koenig | Staff Writers

Front Entrance MIA 2It’s around five on a Thursday afternoon. The day is fairly hot but not unbearable and I am currently having a staring contest with a deathly still dragon that is half the size of me.

I am standing in front of the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

After a hard couple days at school, I wanted to take a break and do something fun that was inexpensive and easily accessible. My friend suggested the Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA).

Intrigued, I drove the under thirty-minute drive from Century to the institute. Upon first glance, I am convinced this trip will be worth it; great stone-white columns guard the entrance as an array of colors pulse up the beautiful pillars. I became mesmerized.

Art Pieces 2I smile excitedly after losing the long-lasted staring contest and race up the 100-year-old steps to huge cherry-wooden double-doors. After walking inside, I am pleasantly surprised to find out admission is free to the public.

I spend my first hour wandering the endless halls that are filled with immeasurable history. What I find most interesting is the variety of forms art takes throughout each exhibit. I stumble upon collections of clothing, holy books, pottery, statues, weapons, coffins, slabs, jewelry, paintings, instruments and so many other things I cannot possibly list them all here. Each of these pieces of art tells an extraordinary story about a people’s culture, customs, and beliefs. I spend several minutes delving into some of the artwork and for a moment I am hypnotized by it.

After studying several art pieces, I soon realize MIA is gigantic; the institute has three floors and another building with a courtyard in between. Each floor, especially the third, has intricate exhibits. The third floor holds contemporary and historical American artwork as well some very large rooms dedicated to giant renaissance paintings. I explore these fascinating exhibits. They serve as tangible glimpses into the past that make the atmosphere around me feel surreal and even a little eerie at times. Throughout my visit, my eyes dance over the hundreds of artworks hung flawlessly around the institute. I feel peaceful as I examine and explore.

When it’s time to leave I reflect on my visit during the car ride home:

PaintingHonestly, I was baffled by MIA. I always thought that you had to really love art to be able to find any joy in being surrounded by it. However, by the end of my night in MIA I was thoroughly satisfied.

As I drove home on 35W, I recalled an exchange I had with a security guard earlier while I was there. I had asked, “What do you like most about working here?” The woman in a white button-down and navy dress pants gave me a smile and thought for a moment, “Here is the only place I get to have conversations with dead artists. I speak with them all the time.” I chuckled but she was serious and totally sincere. She added, “This place. . . is for everyone and anyone and no one is charged a dime when they walk through those doors.”

She was right. MIA is this beautiful place with a little something for everyone and completely free to the public. It has been around for 100 years and hopefully will be around for 100 more, so if one day you find yourself wanting to take a mental break from school, I hope you consider taking the quick trip to the Minneapolis Institute of Art. I promise you won’t regret it.

 

*All artwork pictured are owned by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and all credit goes to their respective creators.