Part 1: Chartres Cathedral and the Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU, Henrico Students Compare Gothic to Contemporary

“Gothic cathedrals immediately popped into my mind when I saw the ICA’s video, Richmond’s Missing Piece,” says Rebecca Field, Art and Art History Teacher at Douglas Freeman High School in Henrico County. “I teach a lot about far away places so I’m often looking for things happening in the community that my students can relate to.” (more…)

Britnie Dates—ICA Intern and Trend Spotter

“Just like with art, you have to break the rules sometimes,” says Britnie Dates (BFA 2016), a Fashion Merchandising major with a minor in Art History at VCUarts, when describing her retail philosophy. “Even if trends indicate customers shouldn’t be interested in books, you know your customers best. Maybe you know your customers want books.”

Dates, a retail strategy intern at the ICA since the fall of 2015, conducts research about potential products and vendors for the future Lewis & Butler Foundation Gift Shop. She looks at comparable institutions across Richmond and nationally to find out what successful museum shops offer, and simultaneously, identifies unique products for the ICA’s patrons.

Dates’ relationship with the institute started more than a year ago when ICA Director Dr. Lisa Freiman gave a talk to Dates’ Emerging Leaders Program in the spring of 2015. “I’m pretty shy,” Dates says. Yet, she mustered up the courage to introduce herself. What started out as a casual conversation turned into an email exchange, a meeting to talk about Dates’ future career goals, and finally an internship at the ICA.
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Donor Q&A: VCUarts Professor Sonya Clark

Sonya Clark, artist, educator, and ICA supporter, discusses her expectations and hopes for the ICA.

1. What does the ICA mean to you and why do you support it?

The ICA is pure opportunity. It’s a vessel to bring the diverse populations of Richmond together around thought and action. The ICA presents a real opportunity to bring the world to Richmond and Richmond to the world with art at the helm.

2. What influence has art had on your life?
It’s hard to answer this question. As an artist and an educator, art is simply my oxygen. I could not survive without it. (more…)

ICA Digital Wallpapers

To help start the new year right — and to thank you for joining us on our journey — we’re sharing these complimentary ICA wallpapers for your digital devices and social accounts.

The digital files, featuring the wireframe logo, were initially conceived as possible interior treatments for ICA headquarters. When an alternative idea was accepted (details to come!) we asked the designer, VCUarts Professor Rob Ventura, to convert the files into digital wallpapers.

Download
Smart Phones & Ereaders (vertical) >>
Monitors (horizontal) >>
Social Banners >>

Image: ICA branded digital swag, 2016. Designed by VCUarts Professor Rob Ventura. © ICA at VCU

Behind the Scenes: Installing “Projected Claims”

As a Ph.D. student in art history and curatorial intern, I spend the majority of my time researching, writing, traveling, and gazing at works of art. Sounds fun, right? (Actually, it really is!) Yet for the sake of making it sound so sublime, I must tell you there is dirty work involved. One of the most arduous aspects of the curatorial process is installing the exhibition. There is a lot of planning and drafting involved — as well as painting, spackling, lighting, and sometimes construction — but when the art is placed inside the gallery, along those bare walls…that’s when the gazing gets real.

Projected Claims is a delicately balanced presentation of immersive videos and enigmatic images, which represent Evron’s oeuvre of film, photography, and video. The curatorial vision for the exhibition began with Lauren Ross — who I have the pleasure of assisting during my internship at the ICA — as she sought to expand the architectural themes of Evron’s images by transforming the Depot Gallery space into a cinematic environment for contemplation.  (more…)

Lauren Ross on New Dominion

For years I’ve been a fan and friend of Mixed Greens gallery in New York City so when they reached out to me in the spring and asked me if I wanted to curate a summer show of Richmond artists, I jumped at the chance.  At that point I had been in Richmond for only about 5 months, and felt like I had only just begun to scratch the surface in terms of getting to know local artists and their work.  So I went into overdrive, conducting as many studio visits as I could in the period of about one month.  (more…)

Garden 2016

The “Secret Garden” Project

The ICA is working with a group of community members to help transform an unused outdoor space at our temporary headquarters into a “Secret Garden” that can be used for events and educational activities. ICA Director Lisa Freiman tapped a number of community members for the project, including Sally Schwitters from Tricycle Gardens, Patrick Farley of Watershed Architects, Greg Riggs from Field of Dreams Farm, Julie and Paul Weissend of Dovetail Construction, Peter Fraser of Fraser Design, John Haddad of Slow Food RVA, Ronni McCord of Walter Parks ArchitectsMitzi Lee of VCU Real Estate Services, VCUarts Project Manager Dinkus Deane and VCU student Josh Son. The team has brainstormed some ideas for the space including a vertical garden and courtyard entertaining space. Dinkus Deane kicked off the improvements with the construction of a metal gate. 

Creating an ICA mOb

To help spread awareness, the ICA team has engaged Middle of Broad (mOb), VCU’s applied design studio located in Richmond Downtown Arts District. Under the guidance of faculty members, VCUarts students from VCUarts’ Interior Design, Graphic Design and Fashion Design & Merchandising departments can elect to participate in mOb and take on real-world projects in the community. We asked our mOb group to generate ideas for spreading the word about the ICA to the VCU and Richmond community. They generated a long list of creative happenings or “mOb Moments” that will take place over the next several months. Our first moment, 99 Red Balloons, happened during the RVA First Fridays art walk in April. Student volunteers lead a balloon parade down Broad Street and engaged the community in conversation about the ICA.

Donor Talk: Jay Collier on the ICA

Can you describe your involvement with the ICA?

Initially I supported the ICA with a gift, but I also wanted to help with fundraising and awareness.  Last spring I hosted a cocktail party for the ICA with Bill and Pam Royall to engage Richmond’s young professionals by creating ambassadors who can further spread the word about the ICA. Recently I started planning a big fundraising event for the fall so stay tuned for that! (more…)

Is This An Intervention?

Earlier this month, the ICA team moved to The Hive, our temporary offices at 818 W. Broad St., next to the VCUarts Depot and just a half-block west of the construction site for the ICA’s Markel Center. To help christen our space, artist John D. Freyer brought his “Free Ice Water” artist intervention in which he creates a dialogue about addiction and vulnerabilities with participants. Thank you to John for sharing his work with us. He even left behind a reminder, a Ball jar complete with ICA relic in it. Each time we’re visited by an artist we’re having them sign our bathroom wall. Follow that project on Twitter with hashtag #HiveTags.

Developing Signage for the ICA

One of the many things we’re working on right now is the look of the signage system or “wayfinding.” Luckily we have a resident expert: Sandy Wheeler, an alumna, and faculty member in the VCUarts Graphic Design department. Sandy has extensive experience working on museum signage, having worked with the Smithsonian and many other arts organizations. She’s put some careful thought into the look and feel of the ICA’s signage and it’s no simple task. (more…)

Bev Reynolds ICA Groundbreaking

Gallery Named for Bev Reynolds

We’re pleased to share the news that the ICA’s first-floor gallery will be named for Beverly W. Reynolds, who has been a tireless advocate on behalf of the ICA and its capital campaign. She is a well respected gallery owner and arts advocate in Richmond who has been a longtime supporter of VCUarts and VCU. In fact, the ICA project was born more than 15 years ago due in large part to Bev’s urging of VCUarts’ dean at the time, Rick Toscan.

More than 80 donors contributed to the campaign to name a portion of the building in honor of Reynolds, including a recent significant contribution by her close friends, Harmon and George Logan of Charlottesville. Campaign co-chairs Pam and Bill Royall and ICA donors Carolyn and John Snow also directed a portion of their gifts  be made in Reynolds’ honor, bringing the total gifts and pledges in Reynolds’ name to $3 million.

Reynolds is pictured at left with Steve Markel at the ICA groundbreaking in June. Read more about the news here.

Welcome ICA Curator Lauren Ross

We’re pleased to introduce our inaugural curator, Lauren Ross, who will begin in October and work closely with Director Lisa Freiman to conceptualize the ICA’s dynamic programming. Lauren joins us from the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, OK. Prior to that, she was based in New York for 18 years, where she served as the first curator of arts programs at the High Line, was a curator at the Brooklyn Museum, and a member of the leadership team at non-profit space, White Columns.

Read more about Lauren here.

Presenting … The ICA Video

We’re thrilled to share our beautiful new video explaining why we need the ICA and what this “missing piece” will mean for VCU and for Richmond.

Please forward it to your friends and share on Facebook to help us spread the word about this exciting new cultural resource coming in 2017.

Thanks to the many Richmonders who spent time with our filmmakers and their student-production-assistants this winter. Here are a few behind-the-scenes shots taken during filming.

Steven Holl Wins Lifetime Achievement in Architecture Award

Congratulations to ICA architect Steven Holl who has won the Japan Art Association’s 2014 Praemium Imperiale International Arts Award for Architecture. The awards recognize lifetime achievement in the arts and are one of the most prestigious international prizes awarded in architecture, painting, sculpture, music and theater/film.

Holl, who received the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal in 2012, will be honored with the Praemium Imperiale Award at a ceremony in Tokyo on October 15.

Holl understands how art and architecture will coalesce in VCU’s ICA:

“We have designed the Institute for Contemporary Art building, the Markel Center, to be a flexible, forward-looking instrument that can illuminate the transformative possibilities of contemporary art.

“Like many contemporary artists working today, the ICA’s design does not draw distinctions between the visual and performing arts. The fluidity of the design allows for experimentation, and will encourage new ways to display and present art that will capitalize on the ingenuity and creativity apparent throughout the VCU campus.”

In addition to the ICA, Steven Holl Architects is designing the expansion on the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. as well as the expansion of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston.

 

Temporary ICA Offices in the Works

During the two-year construction, the ICA team will take up residence in the VCU Real Estate Foundation-owned former Ramekins restaurant space on Broad Street, next to the gorgeous, new VCUarts Depot building and just a half-block west of the ICA. We’ll be able to keep tabs on construction and host some small events.

To help transform the temporary space ICA Director Lisa Freiman tapped a number of community members for their input, including Sally Schwitters from Tricycle Gardens, Patrick Farley of Watershed Architects, Greg Riggs from Field of Dreams Farm, Julie and Paul Weissend of Dovetail Construction, Peter Fraser of Fraser Design, John Haddad of Slow Food RVA, Ronni McCord of Walter Parks ArchitectsMitzi Lee of VCU Real Estate Services, VCUarts Project Manager Dinkus Deane and VCU student Josh Son. Some of the ideas tossed around include a vertical garden, courtyard entertaining space and modular ICA exhibition inside. Here are some shots from the initial brainstorming and walk-thru. As you can see, we have our work cut out for us.

A special thanks to the VCU Real Estate Foundation for use of the Ramekins space and for their continuing support of the ICA.

Groundbreaking Behind-the-Scenes Shots

Last week paint splashed down on the corner of Broad and Belvidere streets in Richmond marking the beginning of what will transform that corner — and this city. Nearly 350 people gathered for the groundbreaking of the Markel Center, the Steven-Holl-Architects-designed building that will house the Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU.

Leaders from Markel Corporation rode two scissor lifts 30 feet up and poured paint in the ICA colors down on a mural created by VCUarts alumnus Ed Trask. Then a giant stencil was pulled back to reveal the ICA logo. Afterwards, VCUarts Dean Joe Seipel broke ground with a giant backhoe to cheers from the crowd of donors, arts and community leaders, students and faculty gathered. Here are some candid shots of the event.

When it opens in 2017, the ICA will be a non-collecting institution focused on presenting a fresh slate of changing, experimental exhibitions, performances, films and programs – both inside and outside the museum – that examine the big issues of our time. This week, construction crews began digging for geothermal wells. Watch on the construction cam.