The end of the year offers a time to reflect, take inventory, and celebrate our achievements. I am proud of how much we—the staff, University, donors, and friends—have accomplished in realizing the ICA. In 2015, we expanded our staff to include key members of the senior leadership team, built up our internship program with VCU students, hosted our first exhibition in Richmond, curated a critically acclaimed show of Richmond artists in New York, and made significant progress toward completing our capital campaign. Through these initiatives we are giving our community a glimpse into how ambitious and inclusive the ICA will be once it officially opens in 2017.
With the School of the Arts, we were delighted to coordinate Israeli artist Nir Evron’s visiting professorship in the Photo/Film department in conjunction with his ICA exhibition, Projected Claims, curated by ICA’s Lauren Ross. In addition to teaching, Evron’s work with students included a guest lecture, studio visits, and gallery talks. Off-campus collaborations involved conversations about art through the lens of fashion and faith. From a fashion show and benefit auction at Saks Fifth Avenue to a joint program about spirituality with the Chrysalis Institute, we helped raise the ICA’s profile and engaged new audiences.
Ongoing initiatives include collaborations with the Martin Agency and other community partners to host thought-provoking projects that engage audiences before the ICA opens. Our first, the Art Tag campaign on social media, has resulted in numerous innovative posts. Each submission is a testament to individual creativity and the endless potential answers to, “What is art?” Planning continues for other large-scale and multisite initiatives, which will be accomplished with the support of artists, community members, and University partners. These projects are certain to energize the city and generate discussions near and far—stay tuned for more details.
The most incredible highlight of the year—and the greatest gift—was the continued success of our capital campaign, its goal imminently near completion. A testament to the dedication of our donors, this campaign is VCU’s largest private fundraising initiative in support of the visual and performing arts to date. These contributions are more than financial. They represent symbolic gifts of trust, support for VCU as a leader in arts and education, recognition for Richmond’s place in the national landscape of creative communities, and a steadfast commitment to contemporary art.
These accomplishments are the result of months of planning and coordination. My staff and I are humbled by the dedication of our colleagues, our capital campaign committee, and our extended communities. From the completion of numerous firsts, to the fulfillment of major initiatives, the ICA thrives because of its many partners and audiences. On behalf of the ICA’s staff, interns, volunteers, and collaborators, we thank you for your support, and we look forward to 2016 and all that it promises.
Lisa D. Freiman, Ph.D.
Lisa Freiman is an internationally recognized curator and leader in the contemporary art field.