This June, Virginia Commonwealth University broke ground on the Institute for Contemporary Art. This $35 million dollar non-collecting institution, designed by Steven Holl Architects, will be a place of inspiration that will affect the global conversation on the arts and become a cultural hub for VCUarts and the broader Richmond community. Because of the generosity of numerous donors, including our founding supporters and advocates, Pam and Bill Royall and Kathie and Steve Markel, as well as a naming gift from the Markel Corporation, the Markel Center at the ICA is becoming a reality. Our focus will be on a fresh slate of changing, experimental exhibitions, performances, films and programs – both inside and outside the museum – that encourage in-depth consideration of the central issues of our time.

Richmond is on fire. Frommer’s named Richmond a Top Destination for 2014. The nine-day World Road Cycling Championships, cycling’s pinnacle event, has chosen Richmond for the 2015 race – this is huge for our river city. The popular Richmond Folk Festival, with its approximately 200,000 happy attendees brings culture of all kinds to town. And Outside Magazine has recently named Richmond the Best River Town in America.

Richmond has become a true dining destination, an advertising and design mecca, and yes, we’re even the third most-tattooed city in the country. With the ICA, VCUarts’ new interdisciplinary space, The Depot, and our Fine Arts Building within two blocks, VCU is becoming the crowning jewel of the Richmond Arts District, making an important statement in the middle of the city. This town takes visual art, performance and design seriously.

We hope you will consider making a gift to the ICA’s Capital Campaign or Endowment as a means to help ensure our future stability and agility.

Here’s to a very bright future,

Lisa D. Freiman

[Read Lisa Freiman’s Inaugural Letter from July 2013 and more recent accolades for Richmond, Va.]

Lisa Freiman is an internationally recognized curator and leader in the contemporary art field.