The Minneapolis Institute of Arts now wants to be known as Mia, as in “Mee-ah.” No one’s going to call it Mee-ah. Hey, do you want to go to the Mee-ah? Oh, is that the precious new identity intended to make it sound friendly and approachable, but makes people think of Woody Allen’s wife and the fact that he married his stepdaughter? Yes. And she wasn’t his wife. Well, that doesn’t excuse what he did.
Granted, MIA does bring to mind Missing in Action, but if you say, “Do you want to see the Vermeer exhibit art at the MIA?” no one thinks, “It’s odd that an organization devoted to raising awareness about missing soldiers has branched out into Dutch painting.”
Perhaps it’s because no one says MIA anyway. It’s the INSTITUTE. A fine strong name as sturdy as its white columns. Mee-ah is softer and cuddly, the yowl of a kitty. THE INSTITUTE is a place where severe curators ruthlessly cull substandard 18th century French landscapes. Mee-ah sounds like a place where you get a room full of enormous Care Bear stuffed animals re-imagined as a pedantic critique on commercialization of childhood. And that’s the Walker’s job.
And why drop the S from Arts? Plural “arts” suggests a variety of styles and exhibits; “art” says it’s all equal like different fruits and vegetables dumped in a blender for a Culture Smoothie.
Future suggestions from the Mee-ah branding team:
The Minnesota Viking. The astringent simplicity of the singular reinforces the unity of the team.
Id Hartman, venerable sportswriter. The removal of the S reveals the primal Id that is the essence of sports. Sorry, sport.
MPL, City of Lake, It’s pronounced “Mipple,” and the gathering of the lakes into one conceptual entity reinforces the city’s liquid identity.
Come to Mipple and visit the Mee-ah! Then we’ll go to Perkin.