local ’84 May Featured Artist – Member Neely Benn

Neely Benn (aka just Nee) initially trained at New York University’s Tisch School of the Performing Arts as a musical theater student until she realized living out of a suitcase ignored her needs of being basic and stable. She now has a master degree in social work from Washington University, St. Louis, and a bachelor of arts in applied psychology from NYU.

Neely’s URBEX (urban exploration) work accidentally emerged after she got lost at an art fair in St. Louis. She found her eyes locked with a photo of a collapsed sink tagged, “Please Wash Your Hands.” This fateful misstep sprung Neely’s relentless curiosity of abandoned structures that continues to lead her across the country and the world in search of decay and an understanding of the stories (and ghosts) that remain. Neely has since founded her own photography company, Just Nee Photography, to honor her nickname and to avoid embarrassment for those who try to pronounce “Neely” for the first time. Her work has been featured in various showcases across Chicago including RAW: Natural Born Artists and General Assembly & Artisan Talent. Her next show is in June with Conception Arts. When she is not spending her weekends in abandoned buildings, Neely spends her weekdays with her patients as a full-time psychotherapist in the Chicagoland area.