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The Menil Collection

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Art Museums, Arts & Culture, Education, Libraries, Visual Arts

Mission: The Menil Collection is an art museum located in Houston, Texas, USA, in a 30-acre neighborhood of art. The Menil presents regular rotations of artworks from the growing permanent collection, organizes special exhibitions and programs, publishes scholarly books, and conducts research into the conservation of modern and contemporary art. With a growing collection of over 17,000 objects, the Menil embodies the ideals and values of its founders John and Dominique de Menil, in particular, that art is vital to human life and should be readily accessible to all persons. The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday, 11am to 7pm, and charges no admission fee.

Programs: arts public programs, conservation, publishing, research, education

Community Stories

30 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Donor

Rating: 5

The Menil is one of Houston’s hidden gems. I am inspired by the setting, the collections and the professionalism of the staff.
Having an appreciation for architecture I find the Museum’s buildings and grounds flow seamlessly together. I truly enjoy being immersed in this space to view both special exhibits as well as their permanent collection.
The staff is always friendly and extremely knowledgeable when called upon. Looking forward to attending upcoming events at the Menil.
I would encourage anyone who hasn’t visited to stop to view the amazing collection of artwork while enjoying this beautiful space.

Donor

Rating: 5

The Menil Collection is Houston's foremost cultural destination. From the Renzo Piano designed main building to its impressive holdings in Modern and Surrealist art, this is a must see for visitors and locals alike.
We are proud to extend our corporate support to this fine institution and its mission to make art accessible to all. Our thanks to the entire Menil Collection staff for delivering such a wonderful and educational experience.

Donor

Rating: 5

Nothing but great things to say about The Menil Collection. My company is involved in their Corporate Partners Program which allows corporations access to museum events and membership opportunities. We are proud to support such an incredible organization in Houston!

Donor

Rating: 5

My company has supported The Menil for just over a year now as a Corporate Partner and we are happy to do so. The art speaks for itself and the staff is top notch. Our corporate development contact is kind, accessible and flexible - just what a corporate partner needs!

Donor

Rating: 5

My husband and I have been long-time visitors and supporters of the Menil. It encapsulates so much that is special about Houston: history, elegance, texture, diversity, and color. I grew up going to the Menil and wished that one day, I would live around the corner. So lo and behold, I moved around the corner when I was 26 years old and become more involved with the Museum. Although not everyone around the country may recognize the name, it truly is a beacon of culture in the city of Houston. A necessary stop for all visitors and a soft spot in the heart of all residents. My husband knows me so well - he even PROPOSED to me at the Menil. Well, technically, the Menil main building was closed, so he had to propose in the Cy Twombly building - but it was magical and perfect and makes me tear up every time I see pictures.

Donor

Rating: 5

We love the fact that the Menil exhibitions are open to all -- never an admission fee. For those who choose to invest in a membership, the museum offers additional access to rich experiences such as home collection tours and curator-led tours of shows. It is incredibly fulfilling to be invested in a place like the Menil that is so meaningful to our family and our city.

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Donor

Rating: 5

The Menil was a primary reason why I was excited to move to Houston in 2010 and it continues to be the jewel of this city that I would most miss if I ever were to move away. I appreciate the accessibility of the museum--small enough to explore in a couple hours, always free and tucked right in the heart of the Montrose neighborhood. In addition to the unparalleled surrealist collection and provocative contemporary works, the Menil offers fascinating programming--obscure music and dance performances, rare artist talks. Some of my favorite talks have been those by Richard Serra, Brice Marden and Luc Tuymans.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

We love the Menil. The Collection is so welcoming and always a wonderful place to bring visitors who are visiting Houston. They always leave enthusiastic of how amazing the art and neighborhood are.

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Donor

Rating: 5

Most fans of great art around the globe know that the heart of the Menil Collection is housed in a stunning award-winning building which contains one of the great art collections in the USA that ranges from objects from the civilizations of Egypt, Middle East, Greece, Rome, Africa, Pacific Islands, and the natives of the Pacific Northwest to medieval, contemporary and modern art and sculpture including a renowned Surrealist collection.

Perhaps fewer art fans realize that the Menil Collection is the only major museum in Houston that not only provides free admission, but also, gives free access to the special exhibitions plus numerous free cultural events including lectures and music performances. Because we believe that providing access to culture and art is especially important for those who could not otherwise afford the experience, we decided that we needed to do our part by becoming members at the basic level.

What a great decision becoming members has been! We have especially enjoyed the enlightening lectures and tours given by one of the curators at noon on Fridays. We have also enjoyed tours of some of the other buildings and outdoor sculptures that are part of the Menil Collection campus which are also free to the public: the Cy Twombly Gallery, the Dan Flavin installation in Richmond Hall, the Byzantine Fresco Chapel, the Rothko Chapel and soon, the Menil Drawing Institute.

Donor

Rating: 5

Our family has been going to the Menil for many years. The museum is bright and welcoming, and not at all overwhelming. It is a great place to spend an hour…..or an afternoon…..visiting with the various paintings and objects. Our children, and of course, we, relate to the various objects. Our youngest wrote an essay about one of the paintings as part of one of his college applications (he was admitted to that school). The quality and depth of the collection is excellent, including an absolutely first rate Surrealist collection.

Two years ago, we decided to increase our interactions, and support the Menil by becoming members. That has been a very pleasant surprise to be warmly welcomed into a community of people who are very enthusiastic and knowledgeable about art. The noon lectures and periodic special events add additional dimensions to our experiences with the Menil. And, the reciprocal benefits are very good.

We are very appreciative that a wonderful institution like the Menil is here in Houston.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Menil is an amazing museum, added to which entry is free to the public. Membership is a modest fee and offers many diverse events in which to learn and connect with museum members as well as art lovers. I particularly love the noon talks, which are given nearly every week and cover a range of topics. Not only are they enriching, but the tone is very informal and engaging.

Donor

Rating: 5

The Menil Collection is a real gem in Houston. It is my number one recommendation for any visitor to Houston. It's free and very accessible, so I recommend frequent visits. They have a wonderful lecture program for members and their evening opening receptions are great fun and I have made several good friends at these events.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have deep respect for the Menil Collection. It offers to everyone a free, immersive, and contemplative artistic experience. The collection is stunning, the staff is knowledgeable and approachable, and the exhibitions are always thought-provoking and multi-layered. As a Member I always attend the wonderful noontime talks and the special tours led by curators. It is a real treasure for Houstonians and visitors alike.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I love this museum. I'm lucky enough to live not too far away and visit the Menil regularly. I can stop in and see one favorite painting or an exhibit, sometimes I'll spend 10 minutes sometimes an hour. I use the museum, and it's green spaces as a sanctuary- a place to sit on a bench and watch the dog walkers and families and take refuge from a busy day or go inside and delight in a particular artwork. The scale is human, it's not an "art mall". It's as if I've been invited into someone's house to enjoy what they enjoy. The host has just disappeared but will be right back so "take a look around and make yourself comfortable." It's so wonderful to have an institution that is strong and quiet to balance out the noise of the everyday. I love that admission is free keeping it accessible to all (which is becoming harder to find.)

It's just in the last two years that I became a member. ( I honestly didn't think that membership could offer me anything more than what I was already getting -an incorrect assumption). The Friday noon talks are super. I love hearing the stories behind the artists, the act of acquiring work, the friendships between artists and the interactions between patrons, the public, curators, and seeing work from their perspectives.

As a teenager, I remember my dad expressing how lucky that Houston was the recipient of the private collection and not Paris, which I guess could have happened. I'm still in awe that a family could have such a vision for a private collection and create such a gift for our ever-growing city.

Donor

Rating: 5

Having an incredible art museum that is physically accessible to all, and always without charge, makes the Menil an exceptional institution. The permanent collection has everything from ancient artifacts to the most modern with paintings and sculpture reflective of cultures worldwide. In addition, there are innovative special shows reflecting contemporary artworks. Not only is the staff incredibly knowledgeable, they are available to share their knowledge and do so regularly. Free lectures are offered as well as periodic concerts in conjunction with Da Camera. Besides their main building, which in and of itself is wonderful, there are additional art spaces that one can visit and a soon to open drawing institute. As a donor I have had the privilege of weekly lectures as well as tours “behind the scenes” and information about conservation and other interesting topics. The Menil is a place one can visit with people of all ages and for varying lengths of time knowing one can always come back!

Donor

Rating: 5

Wow what a great place! We moved to Houston 2 years ago and initially joined The Menil for the NARM benefits. As we settle in to Houston life, The Menil has become an integral part of our new home. The staff is always welcoming, the exhbits are interesting and varied, the special programs are extensive and stimulating, and even the buildings themselves are gee-whiz fabulous. Entry to the Menil is free, but joining is a good idea - the member parties are great!

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Donor

Rating: 5

The Menil is an amazing gift to the City of Houston. It's one of the best museums in the world, free to all, and both unpretentious and welcoming.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The staff, all the gallery attendants, the curators I’ve met, the bookstore and restaurant folks all make sure you enjoy your visit.

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General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We are lucky here in Houston to have many Museums. They each have their niche. When It comes to art museums, the MFAH's goal seems to be the biggest. The Menil Collection's goal is, always has been and, no doubt, always will be to be the best.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Menil, for me, is one of the most beautiful and inspiring pieces of the past, present, and future of Houston. The unprecedented collection and growth of the Menil collection is very impressive. The beautiful way in which the Menil engages the people of Houston with programming and events is incredible, and world class. The leadership and vision that the Menil has leading it into the future has created much excitement and anticipation.
Whether you are visiting while in Houston for a quick weekend trip, or as a local weekend ritual, the collection, grounds, and it’s many buildings have such breadth and depth, and are always inviting and inspiring. There is truly something, and so much to be discovered and enjoyed by everyone.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

With its ever-rotating exhibitions there's always something new to discover at the Menil. Between the Main Collection, Cy Twombley Gallery, Rothko Chapel, Dan Flavin Installation, Byzantine Chapel, and upcoming Drawing Institute, each stop throughout the campus offers unique and compelling perspectives.

About a year ago, I became a member to attend the Friday Noontime Talks and gain greater exposure to the collection. While I my awareness, curiosity, and joy in the works curated has grown, I have been equally impressed by wonderful staff that make everything possible. The collection, personnel, and campus are all world class and together create a truly meaningful experience for all.

1 dhopesmith

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Things I Love About the Menil (in no particular order):

• Noontime Talks – I have been to at least five. They are like a slice of yummy pie. Tasty, filling, and they leave you wanting more.
• Movies! – how much fun to laze on the grass and watch the mind-blowing cinema of Dali or other artists.
• Opening Talks – while I can read up on whatever exhibition is open, nothing beats hearing the curator give her or his insights.
• Neighborhood Events/Menil Fest – I’ve been to a bunch. Dancers, music, books, poetry, local artists….
• Cy Twombly Gallery – swooooon! So often when I visit I am the only person in there for long stretches of time. Somewhere I read that if the Cy Twombly Gallery was within 25 miles of Manhattan, it would be packed daily.
• The oak tree on the east end of the main building lawn, the one in front of the entrance to the Cy Twombly Gallery, and that awesome oak tree on the south boarder of the Menil Park.
• The Menil Gift Shop, the Menil Bistro, the Byzantine Chapel, Da Camera performances!