Friends Forum

This series of biographies of members of the Friends of the Snite Museum of Art is presented as an introduction to the Friends membership. Every few weeks, a different Friend will be featured. Get acquainted with:

Meet Mary Kay Welle, member, Friends Board of Directors

Mary Welle Smc


Mary Kay Welle has always had a dual fondness for the arts and sciences. She was drawn to the arts in her early college years, especially studio ceramics and fiber arts. Later in life, she obtained a second degree in nursing to follow her love of science. Shortly after marrying in their 20s, she and her husband John took off for Europe and lived in Italy for three glorious years. During that period and with additional travel, this small-town Minnesota girl saw some of the most beautiful art, architecture, and design in the world while living in Verona, Florence, Rome, and Brindisi, Italy, and exploring Greece and Turkey.


Read more about Mary Kay

Juliane Morris

...her dedicated service, and her joy. We will miss our friend, Juliane Morris!

Tucked away in baby books collected by Juliane Morris’s parents are notes from her elementary school teachers, calling Juliane “resourceful,” “creative,” and “rebellious.” Did she know then that those adjectives would ring true throughout her life and career involving photography, graphic design, and marketing? Possibly she did, since art and art appreciation have been part of her life in many ways, from her time at age 21 contemplating Thomas Cole’s The Voyage of Life at the National Gallery of Art on her lunch breaks to the present. For Juliane, it is through art that storytelling, language, context, and interpretation intersect to find common ground and spark the imagination.

Read more about Juliane

Dru Cash and Maura Ratigan, 2021 Christmas Benefit Co-chairs

cropped Dru & Maura

For the 40th anniversary of the Snite Gala, the Friends of the Snite Board could not have chosen two more charismatic and energetic co-chairs than Dru Cash and Maura Ratigan. 

Dru Cash grew up in South Bend and today is a successful local real estate expert and agent. He traces his love of art to his many childhood visits to museums and to a lifelong love of history, an interest which has expanded to include collecting historical artifacts and visiting historical locations as an adult. One of Dru’s hobbies is collecting “smalls” such as collectible boxes and antique silver. Some of his favorite artists are the portraitist Gilbert Stuart, the landscape painter Albert Bierstadt, the Pop artist Andy Warhol, and painter Edward Hopper.

Maura attended Notre Dame as an undergrad (’93), where she met her husband Brian, and then attended the University of Notre Dame Law School (magna cum laude ’96). After working as an attorney in Los Angeles and Philadelphia, Maura returned to South Bend in 2008 to raise her five children. An integral member of our community, she is an attorney for Lippert Components is a volunteer and advisor to several organizations. 

Read more about Dru and Maura

How the Friends Christmas Benefit Dinner Supports Art Exploration and Our Community

“Christmas waves a magic wand over the world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.” – Norman Vincent Peale

Cropped Snt7802 Copy

For an organization to be flourishing four decades after its founding and continuing to work to serve the community in positive and impactful ways as originally intended is quite a feat. When the focus of the organization is art exploration, acquisition, and education, those forty years of work and success are an admirable accomplishment indeed.

On the occasion of the 40th Anniversary Christmas Benefit Dinner, which will be held on Thursday, December 2, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on our history and the impact of the Christmas Benefit Dinner on the Friends and on the Museum.

The Museum's Advisory Council decided in the late 1970s that a membership organization of the Museum should be established, for the purpose of supporting the Museum's educational programs, public events, and collecting activities. And so, in the fall of 1979, the Friends of the Snite Museum was founded.

Read more about the benefit dinner history.

Art + Education = Bill Tourtillotte


One of our newest members of the Friends of the Snite Board is William “Bill” Tourtillotte. Bill has been involved in the local art community for over thirty years. Together with his wife Julie, Chair of the Art Department at Saint Mary’s College, and their son Henry, the family maintains an eighteen-acre organic farm and an art studio near Potato Creek State Park.

Bill grew up in Clearfield, Pennsylvania. While still in high school, he started college at the Cleveland Institute of Art. As a condition of receiving his high school diploma, he was required to pass his freshman year of college, an experience he described both as a great opportunity as well as a challenging one. With his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree completed, Bill went directly to graduate school at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. He met Julie at Cranbrook, and after they received their MFA degrees, they relocated to this area to work at Saint Mary’s College. Bill has taught at several institutions, including Saint Mary’s College, Holy Cross College, Purdue University, and the University of Notre Dame. Since 2015, he has been a Lecturer in the Fine Arts Department of the Raclin School for the Arts at Indiana University South Bend. His primary areas of interest and practice are printmaking and letterpress.

Read more about Bill

Check back regularly and get to know some new Friends!