Philanthropist Franci Neely Celebrates Houston Art Exhibition at The Menil Collection

Franci Neely
2 min readMar 21, 2023


March 21, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Thanks to the support and contributions from art aficionados, including Houston philanthropist Franci Neely, Houston-area art lovers can enjoy The Menil Collection’s brand-new exhibition, Art of the Cameroon Grassfields: A Living Heritage in Houston . The exhibit, which is now on display at the museum through July 9, 2023, debuted with a Q&A with Cameroonian artist Hervé Youmbi in the main gallery of the building. Attendees were welcome to peruse Youmbi’s colorful art displays like headdresses, masks, hats, royal stools, and sculptures, and cultivate a greater understanding of this unique cultural heritage.

The exhibition comprises an array of holdings from private collections, The Menil Collection, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Focused on portraying the artistic traditions of Cameroon, the exhibit also demonstrates the impact of the culture’s global diaspora. The displays include representative artifacts from several Grassfields kingdoms in Cameroon, as well as modern works documenting the legacy of African art as impacted by colonialism and the region’s rich heritage.

As one of the enthusiastic financial contributors to the exhibition, Franci Neely continues to be a strong supporter of the arts in her local Houston community. Neely is also the co-chair for the Art of the Islamic Worlds subcommittees for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and sits on the board of trustees for The Menil Foundation. Her other philanthropic efforts often focus on supporting artistic endeavors, as established by her co-founding of the Houston Cinema Arts Society. Neely also sits on the board for the Moody Center for the Arts at Rice University. Extending beyond the arts, she recently donated $250,000 to the Hermann Park Conservancy in the name of her grandchildren to fund an interactive water-play feature.

About Franci Neely

is a Houston-based philanthropist dedicated to creating awareness around community programs in the arts. Having retired from active practice as an attorney, Neely now focuses her efforts on volunteerism and patronage to make a direct impact in and around Houston. She sits on the board of several art committees, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston , and strives to bring diversity and inclusion to arts programming in meaningful ways throughout the city. She formed the Foundation in 1999 to ensure the regular gifting of funds for higher education and the arts. To learn more, visit

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