Paul Rucker Studio-Shot-mike-morgan_150618_7173

Inventing ICA: Artist Perspective with Paul Rucker

In this talk and performance, artist Paul Rucker will share stories from REWIND — an ambitious installation that re-envisions historical events and links them to current issues of race, class, and injustice in America. Rucker will also present an excerpt from Stories from the Trees, a powerful multi-media cello performance that creates a live soundtrack for an animation based on vintage postcards of lynchings. To close the evening, Rucker and ICA Chief Curator Stephanie Smith will discuss the changing roles of artists and cultural institutions.

Rucker’s work will be featured in the ICA’s inaugural exhibition Declaration, opening October 28, 2017.

Free and open to the public; Tickets required
Reserve >>

Livestream >>

Presented in conjunction with ROOTS Weekend-Richmond. Parking available at VCU’s Main Street lot located at 801 West Main Street. (more…)


RTD Presents: Arts in Richmond

Learn more about this culture hub we call home. Join reporters Markus Schmidt, Katherine Calos, and others to hear the latest updates on the Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU, local music, Virginia’s many film and TV projects, and more. Part of the Richmond Times-Dispatch‘s second annual RTD Presents Speaker Series.

Guest speakers include Lisa Freiman, Director, and Stephanie Smith, Chief Curator.

Where: Virginia Historical Society, Robins Family Forum, 428 N Boulevard, Richmond, 23220

Tickets: $20 / $35 for two; Purchase >>

Parking: Free parking on site

Questions: Contact the Richmond Times-Dispatch

Sponsored by: Virginia Historical Society

Conversation: A Forum of Ideas

During the Spring 2016 semester, graduate and undergraduate VCU interior design students took their studies beyond the studio and into the university’s most high-profile construction project, the Institute for Contemporary Art’s (ICA) Markel Center. In this collaboration among ICA staff, VCU School of the Arts Interior Design (IDES) faculty and BCWH Architecture colleagues (the ICA’s architect), the students examined design challenges presented by the ICA’s forum, a space defined by a lofty ceiling, curved wall, glass facade and a sweeping grand staircase.

To conclude the project, participants — including students, architects, and faculty — will discuss the process, outcomes, and lessons learned. The program will be followed by a reception. (more…)

Current Art Fair 2016 logo

Current Art Fair: Panel Discussion

Lisa Freiman, Director of the Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU, will moderate this discussion on how to start and build an art collection at Try-me, home of Pam and Bill Royall’s museum-quality collection. Panelists include Ted Elmore, Ashley Kistler, Jane Knox, Jennifer Sisk, and Woody Woodruff.

1623 West Main Street

Free and open to the public; Seating is limited
Register >>

About the Fair
Current, Richmond’s first contemporary art fair, provides accessible opportunities to collect art and features works from local, national and internationally recognized artists. The fair will take place from October 20—23, at Hohman Design in Scott’s Addition.


When Art Meets Fashion

Join your friends at the second annual “When Art Meets Fashion” event presented by Style Weekly in partnership with the ICA, Saks Fifth Avenue, and SPARC, on October 6, 2016.

The evening will include a fashion show featuring an exclusive Saks designer and an art auction organized by local galleries. Proceeds benefit the ICA’s capital campaign and SPARC’s programming initiatives.

Attention and Seeing: Shaping New Museum Experiences

Attention and Seeing: Shaping New Museum Experiences

Phillip Long and Koven J. Smith
University of Texas, Austin

Every visitor to a museum brings with him or her a unique way of seeing and understanding shaped by his or her upbringing and selective concentration. Ten visitors to the same exhibition will, in effect, “see” 10 different exhibitions. And yet, museum experiences are still designed to encourage all visitors to see the same way. Phillip Long, Chief Innovation Officer at the University of Texas, Austin, and Koven J. Smith, Director of Digital Adaptation at the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas, Austin, will examine how museums might be able to deliberately design experiences to account for multiple ways of seeing and multiple types of attention. Using some projects currently underway at the Blanton as a framework, they will examine how museum experience design and digital interpretation might be used to help visitors to “see” in myriad new ways. (more…)


Museums and Big Data — Supporting Exploration, Innovation, and Audience Engagement in the Cultural Sector

Today’s museums are awash in data. With so many sources of information available, an organization can be drowning in numbers, but starved for real insight. Robert Stein, former Deputy Director of the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA), will examine how museums can begin to collect and analyze data to illuminate their practice and enhance their impact on visitors. Using a unique visitor loyalty program at the DMA as a case study, he will raise questions about what “big data” in the cultural sector looks like and what insights it might provide. (more…)

In Virgin Land (still), 2006. Digital video, stereo sound. Running time 12 min. Courtesy of the artist and Chelouche Gallery, Tel Aviv

Artist Talk: Nir Evron

Hear artist Nir Evron discuss his work on view in the exhibition Nir Evron: Projected Claims

Free and open to the public

About the artist
Nir Evron lives in Tel Aviv. His work has been exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including the 19th Biennale of Sydney (2014); The International Center of Photography Triennial in New York (2013); and the 6th Berlin Biennale (2010). Evron received his BFA in photography and media from Bezalel Academy in Jerusalem and his MFA from the Slade School of Art in London. Since 2007, he has been a professor of photography at Bezalel. In conjunction with the presentation of Projected Claims, Evron is in residence at VCU’s acclaimed School of the Arts during the fall 2015 semester, teaching in the Department of Photography and Film.


Image: Nir Evron, In Virgin Land (still), 2006. Digital video, stereo sound. Running time 12 min. Courtesy of the artist and Chelouche Gallery, Tel Aviv

In Virgin Land (still), 2006. Digital video, stereo sound. Running time 12 min. Courtesy of the artist and Chelouche Gallery, Tel Aviv

First Friday with the ICA

Add the ICA to your First Friday art walk and join us in celebrating the opening of Nir Evron: Projected Claims.

Free and open to the public


Image: Nir Evron, In Virgin Land (still), 2006. Digital video, stereo sound. Running time 12 min. Courtesy of the artist and Chelouche Gallery, Tel Aviv



Art as Language: a panel moderated by Lisa Freiman

The Chrysalis Institute launches their fall theme, Creativity: The Soul Speaks, with a panel moderated by ICA Director Lisa Freiman, who has assembled a panel of creative arts professors discussing how their art enables them to “speak” in different languages. A group of musicians, visual artists, writers, and dancers will demonstrate how their art forms communicate by performing an act of “translation” for the audience. The panel’s goal is to enable participants to understand the unique ways in which art can be an expressive tool and how artists can interpret the same theme or concept in different ways.

When: 7-9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015
Where: Richmond CenterStage’s Gottwald Theater
Cost: $20
Purchase tickets on the Chrysalis Institute website.

Panelists will include:

Lisa Freiman, moderator, is the inaugural director of the ICA and a VCU School of Arts professor. She is an internationally recognized curator and leader in contemporary arts and comes to VCU from the Indianapolis Museum of Art, where she served as senior curator and chair of the contemporary art department.

Ed Coleman, co-moderator, currently teaches English at Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School in Richmond. In his 20 years of teaching, Ed has designed curriculum for a number of high schools and, in 2009, was recognized as a Milken Family Foundation educator for Indiana. (more…)


Lisa Tells All

Have any burning questions for ICA Director Lisa Freiman? She’ll tackle them over a beer at Isley Brewing Company. All ages are welcome. VCUarts Dean Joe Seipel will act as referee. Visit and come armed with a zinger! Can’t make it? Tweet your questions to @VCU_ICA.

“Free Ice Water” Installation

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.


When Art Meets Fashion

Please join us at Style Weekly’s When Art Meets Fashion event at Richmond’s Saks Fifth Avenue on April 11. Reynolds Gallery generously donated fine art which will be auctioned to benefit the ICA. Guest will also enjoy a Diane Von Furstenburg fashion show, music, cocktails and more. Tickets $75-$125 available here.


Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Location: Future ICA site, corner of Broad and Belvidere streets

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. Following remarks by Board of Visitors Vice Rector Bill Royall, ICA Director Lisa Freiman, Markel Corporation Vice Chairman Steve Markel, and VCU President Michael Rao, the groundbreaking festivities began. 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.



“Virginia’s Favorite Architecture” Exhibition at Virginia Center for Architecture

Architects across the state nominated the ICA’s Markel Center for Virginia’s Favorite Architecture, a contest and exhibition organized by the Virginia Society of the American Institute of Architects. After voting by the public, the ICA was ranked no. 49 out of 100 structures. An impressive feat considering the ICA’s Markel Center is the only unbuilt structure on a list that includes Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and Virginia state capitol, as well as other widely regarded structures. The exhibition runs through Oct. 19 at the Virginia Center for Architecture.

VCU Institute for Contemporary Art Pavilion at the Fall Line Fest

The VCU Institute for Contemporary Art presents Aziz + Cucher’s video installation, Synaptic Bliss, on the site of its future home during the two-day Fall Line Fest along Broad Street, Friday, Sept. 6 from 5-8 p.m. and Saturday, Sept. 7 from 12-8 p.m. Prior to the festival, artists Aziz + Cucher will speak at the Grace Street Theater on Friday, Sept. 6 at 4 p.m. All events were free and open to the public. Special thanks to Altria whose generous support made this event possible.


2012 Windmueller Artist Lecture Series Presents: Steven Holl

The 2012 American Institute of Architects Gold Medal recipient, Columbia University professor, and architect of the VCU ICA shared his insights on designing for the arts. The lecture was free and filled with a standing-room-only crowd.

Watch the video >

The Pollak Society Luncheon with Steven Holl

The Pollak Society, a group of arts enthusiasts and community supporters for VCUarts, were invited to a luncheon with Steven Holl at the Virginia Center for Architecture, where his exhibition “Forking Time” was mounted. Holl made remarks, as did several key supporters of the VCU Institute for Contemporary Art.

Steven Holl Architects: Forking Time: Opening Exhibition

An exhibition featuring Steven Holl Architects watercolors and study models of the new VCU Institute for Contemporary Art. Steven Holl Architects Senior Partner Chris McVoy gave remarks. VCU students and the community responded to the question “What do you hope to experience at the VCU ICA?” via social media. See their thoughts here. Read a review of the exhibition from Style Weekly.