Nov 01, 2012 • By

The man in charge of our art

Don McNeil’s career at General Mills is a lot like the artwork that surrounds him – unique. For thirty-five years, he’s served as curator of the company’s large art collection.

It’s a job no one else has ever held.

Initially schooled in economics, Don later studied art history.

“I actually had worked as a picture framer, putting my economics degree to good use,” Don jokes. “I ended up working for a picture framing company that did some work for General Mills, so that’s how that connection was made. So they really hired me because I knew how to frame pictures and thought that might come in handy.”

Don’s job was to care for the art on a custodial level. It was something he could see himself doing for only a couple years. However, his role rapidly expanded, and two years turned into three-and-a-half decades, as he explains in this audio interview.

Over the years, Don’s job has involved all aspects of the collection including acquisition, deacquisition, care and maintenance, installation and movement. He’s no longer working full-time but continues to manage the collection.

“I certainly am grateful for what General Mills allowed this job to grow and develop into. It really gave me a job that I ended up really loving, and most of my friends now are artists or people in the art world.”

Editor’s note: Beginning tomorrow, and every Friday through Nov. 30, we’ll take a closer look at the company’s art collection, including some of Don’s favorite pieces. By the way, we featured five of the outdoor art pieces on the General Mills campus back in July, beginning with this post.