Tim and Ashley Francis

Tim and Ashley Francis are pictured at Newcomb Art Museum in front of Frederick J. Brown's portrait
of Lionel Hampton, one of several artworks the couple has donated to Tulane.

Sharing a Love of Art with Tulane

TIM AND ASHLEY FRANCIS' connections with Tulane University span generations. Ashley Francis' father attended and played football for Tulane, and Tim Francis' father holds an honorary degree from the university. Tim's brother played basketball and obtained his MBA at the university. Ashley received her MBA at Tulane as well, and Tim never imagined seeking his law degree anywhere else. However, this New Orleans couple's commitment to the university extends beyond their family history. Having donated multiple times to the university in the past, they wanted their next donation to be special. Both admirers of art and the impact it has on people, they thought giving works of art would be the best way to continue to share their love for Tulane.

"We wanted to give art because it helps create a space for students, faculty and staff to be enriched in culture and history all while beautifying the campus," said Tim Francis. "This makes Tulane a more inspiring place to live, learn and work."

Having two close friends who were renowned African-American artists, it did not take long for Tim and Ashley to decide what pieces of art they wanted to donate to Tulane. Frederick J. Brown was a Chicago-raised artist who has been featured at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and John T. Scott was a New Orleans-born artist who has been featured at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington D.C. Ashley and Tim knew that giving pieces from those acclaimed artists to Tulane would help achieve their goal—"to give Tulane spaces a museum-like quality."

Among the recently donated works were Brown's well-known portrait of Lionel Hampton and Scott's famous print "Dangerous." Additionally, the sculpture "Black Butterfly" by Scott will be displayed in the Goldring/Woldenberg Complex.

"Tim and Ashley Francis' generous donation critically enhances Tulane's collections with works by two important African American artists: Frederick J. Brown and John T. Scott," said Monica Ramirez-Montagut, director of the Newcomb Art Museum. "Scott, whose sculptures are found in public spaces across New Orleans, has particular significance for the campus community as he was awarded a Doctor of Humanities from Tulane in 1997. More broadly, both artists' poignant explorations of the black experience help to further our understanding of, and appreciation for, diversity in today's world."

The process for donating art to Tulane was made seamless by the Office of Gift Planning and the Newcomb Art Museum. Once the Office of Gift Planning was notified that Tim and Ashley were interested in donating art, they immediately consulted the Museum to make sure that the art was of the quality and stature that should be displayed at Tulane.

"The Office of Gift Planning made this process extremely effortless, and were all on top of their game," said Tim. "I sent an image of the Frederick J. Brown painting of Lionel Hampton, which is going to be displayed at the Law School, and they were immediately interested. It did not take long for us to come to an agreement."

Tim is currently an attorney with the New Orleans firm Sher Garner Cahill Richter Klein & Hilbert L.L.C., where he focuses on litigation, business transactions and government relations. Additionally, he currently serves on the Board of Tulane.

Ashley is currently the Director of Graduate Programs/Assistant Visiting Professor for Marketing & Management at the Loyola College of Business. She has numerous years of professional experience in agency, arts and higher education marketing and management.

"I have good feelings for the direction that Tulane is heading, and I know that it will continue to be one of the greatest institutions in America," said Tim. "I hope that more people will be inspired to give art to Tulane. We want the student experience to be visually rich and inspiring outside of the classroom."