It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year – For AIA Minnesota

by Mary-Margaret Zindren, EVP/Executive Director

I was born on Christmas Day. Growing up with a church-going Catholic mother and an Agnostic father who loved classical music and sang baritone, Christmastime was a happy convergence of myriad sources of joy. The family calendar was filled with concerts, get-togethers, inspiration, reflection, gift giving, and birthday parties. People of all cultures and various faith traditions have similar times of celebration and renewal, with long-held traditions and opportunities to grow and sustain relationships.


Why I am I talking about this in October? Because for AIA Minnesota, the stretch from mid-October through early December is “the most wonderful time of the year” for our architecture community.


We’re getting a jump on the season this year with local chapter Annual Meetings being held on October 14, 3:30-5:00 pm. This virtual event will include Town Hall conversations focused on growing and mentoring the profession, making architecture accessible and highly valued, climate action through the work of architecture, and equity in the profession and the built environment. We’ll celebrate the progress of the year past, and elect local chapter leaders for the year ahead. There will also be time to simply connect with each other – and a lucky few will go home with gifts!


Then, October 27 kicks off the AIA Minnesota Annual Conference. For four days – October 27, November 3, November 10, and November 11 – we will come together virtually around shared interests and the opportunity to be inspired. Out of 60 substantive sessions, more than half are focused on sustainability or equity, with several at the nexus of these priorities. We also have program tracks focused on Practice, Health Design, Residential Design, Ethics, Codes, Preservation/Restoration, and Technology. You’ll hear from many Minnesota-based architects and designers, as well as session speakers from California to Calgary; Honor Award jurors from Boston, Los Angeles, and Columbus; and keynote speakers with work rooted in the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, the South Bronx of New York, and Minneapolis, Missoula, Seattle, and Nairobi. And our partners who we had hoped to see in person in the Exhibit Hall will be joining us virtually, too – dozens of booths with hundreds of new ideas and products to discover, and prizes hidden within them each day. We’ll close out the conference with the AIA Minnesota Member Congress – where we’ll celebrate collective accomplishments in member and community service and elect new representatives to the AIA Minnesota Board of Directors – as the last session on November 11 with a social to follow.


And mark your calendars for the annual (and virtual again this year) Awards Celebration on Friday, December 3 where we will honor excellence in architecture, leadership, and service; where we will celebrate our peers and their contributions to this community and to the broader community.


Please make these events of the coming weeks a priority for yourself and for your colleagues. We need each other. We are better together. It’s important to take time to celebrate, to be inspired, and to give each other the gift of our presence.


View the October 2021 edition of Matrix.