Inspired by a commitment to creativity, our staff decided earlier this year that the façade of the ICA’s temporary headquarters at 818 West Broad Street should undergo a bold, vivid makeover. Based on the ICA’s brand identity, a once stark white brick storefront now features a bright color palette of red, pink, and purple. Using a 3M brick adhesive vinyl, the front exterior was wrapped from top to bottom with matching laminate for doors and windows. Mounted high above, the ICA’s logo is presented in custom-fabricated white channel letters. Deceptively simple during the day, the logo is illuminated in the evenings for an equally powerful effect. (more…)
This past spring, 38 undergraduate and 8 graduate VCU interior design students were given the opportunity to take their studies beyond the studio and into the real world. In a joint collaboration between ICA staff, School of the Arts Interior Design (IDES) faculty, and BCWH Architecture colleagues, students were asked to examine design challenges presented by the ICA’s forum, a space defined by a 36-foot ceiling, a glass facade, a curving wall, and a sweeping grand staircase. (more…)
Last summer, the ICA and VCUarts Department of Sculpture + Extended Media jointly hosted four high school interns from area schools participating in the Cochrane Summer Economic Institute. The interns were tasked with conducting research on local arts programming for teens and providing recommendations for the creation of teen programs at both the ICA and Sculpture + Extended Media.
Rahim Hassan, one of the four interns and a Clover Hill High School senior, discusses his experience and takeaways from participating in this unique summer internship experience.
Listen as Rahim reflects on what the ICA could offer teens and read more of his Q&A with education assistant Alexander Crawford.
AC: What opportunities do you think the ICA can offer teens?
RH: The ICA’s teen programs will be more than a safe space for teens to meet and talk about important topics. Through offerings like a teen council and other leadership opportunities, teens can learn skills like public speaking, organization, teamwork and problem-solving. At the end of the summer internship my fellow interns and I suggested that a teen council be formed, one that would be responsible for creating innovative programs for fellow teens. This council would be an important voice in the institution that would make sure that programs for teens are developed by teens.
AC: What was the most rewarding aspect of your internship?
RH: Even though my colleagues and I were just teenagers in our first internships, it was really rewarding to see that our findings were taken seriously and actually provided important information to the ICA and Richmond arts community. When we gave our final presentation, people in attendance were interested in our findings and had questions about our research and our opinions. It really gave meaning to why we were researching teen programs. The work we did is giving back to something that is going to be great for the Richmond community. (more…)
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 Architects, Mitzi 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.
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.
John D. Freyer’s “Free Ice Water” installation can be seen in the ICA office window through March 31. Here’s a bit about the project.
In 2013, VCU Professor John Freyer begun Free Ice Water, an art project in which he sits down with individuals for conversation over a Mason jar filled with ice water. Intended to be focused and uninterrupted, this conversation can be around personal, even difficult topics. At its conclusion, the participants sip the water, drop a small object of personal significance into the jar, then seal and sign the jar with its lid. This ongoing project is loosely based on therapeutic methods of treating substance addiction, and arose from the artist’s questioning of his own dependency on alcohol.
Free Ice Water offers the possibility of art as a gesture of giving; a humble service, free of charge, intended to encourage moments of self-reflection and sharing between people. Each jar offers something universal—water, one of the most basic, elemental needs—combined with something very individualistic, as captured in the object and signatures.
The thirty jars on display in the ICA window are the result of Freyer conducting sessions with participants of the Virginia Collegiate Recovery Conference, held at VCU’s Wellness Resource Center on March 27, 2015.
The ICA team is working with a group of architects and interior designers from BCWH to help develop a vision for the interiors of the ICA. BCWH was chosen in part because they are the architects of record for the ICA construction project, and also because they have a staff filled with many, talented VCUarts alumni. The goal of the project is to give the interior design of the ICA a sense of place by exploring the possibility of building its furnishings using local materials and talent.
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…)
Over the last six months, the ICA team has been working with the talented filmmakers at Milkbox studios in New York to create a video that speaks to why we need the ICA and how important it will be in the larger contemporary art world. A big task, to be sure, but we knew Andrew Bordwin and Ed Nammour of Milkbox were up to it. (more…)
ICA Director Lisa Freiman engaged a group of MBA students in Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Business to provide research and recommendations during an early phase of planning the development team and fundraising goals for the ICA. The project offered opportunities for students to conduct an environmental scan within contemporary art fundraising, to determine appropriate benchmarks for an innovative start-up business, and to explore entrepreneurial business practices within the competitive landscape of university advancement and development. The students’ resulting report offered valuable insight and recommendations to Freiman.