EVENT Menil to celebrate 25th birthday with public party

Cutting the ceremonial ribbon in 1987, Dominique de Menil opened the doors to the museum that bears the family name with these welcoming words, “Houston, this is your museum.”

That auspicious occasion also marked the completion of the first U.S. building by the acclaimed Italian architect Renzo Piano, who designed, with his client, a home for art, free of charge and open to all.

On Saturday, Sept. 22 the Menil Collection will celebrate its 25th birthday with a free neighborhood party. Festivities begin at 3 p.m., with a promenade performance by the legendary, award- winning Kashmere Reunion Stage Band and continue with the renowned TSU Jazz Ensemble. Each band will perform their own distinctive version of Happy Birthday! The outdoor festivities continue with improvisational jazz dancing on the lawn and a scavenger hunt for children.

Houston City Council Member Ellen Cohen will present a Mayor’s Proclamation honoring the Menil to museum director Josef Helfenstein.


Party goers should bring  a picnic blanket and enjoy the music, dancing, treasure hunt − and of course, birthday cake and ice cream – until the final notes (and birthday candles) are blown out at 6 p.m.


Housing a world of art from the prehistoric era to modern day, the still- growing Menil Collection began as the private art collection of Houston philanthropists John and Dominique de Menil. From war-torn Europe, the de Menils arrived in their adopted city in 1941. Long before John’s death in 1973, they began planning a museum that would hold their dynamic collection of art, in spare, light-filled galleries (a building not unlike their welcoming, Modernist home) and embody their ideas about art as an essential part of life that should be made available all to experience. 

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