Institute of Contemporary Arts to open late April

Photo by Brian Vliet
Photo by Brian Vliet
Photo by Brian Vliet
Photo by Brian Vliet

VCU announced the $41 million Institute for Contemporary Art is set to open April 21, six months later than the original designated date of October 2017.

The 3-story, 41,000 square-foot building is located at the intersection of West Broad Street and North Belvidere Street.

The ICA will work directly with the School of the Arts, the No. 1 public graduate school of art and design, according to University Public Affairs.

Johanna Plummer, curator of Education and Engagement for the ICA, said student input will always be a foundational element of the ICA’s programs.

“We’ve had student stakeholders involved in developing our mission and impact statements which will be our framework for measuring our success,” Plummer said. “Tours of the ICA will be led by student guides and we’re working with faculty to identify areas where our exhibitions can connect to curriculum.”

The institute is non-collecting but will feature diverse exhibitions, screen films and host interdisciplinary programs for VCU students and faculty. The Markel Center will be free to the public when it opens.

Carol Anne Baker Lajoie is the director of Development and interim director of External Affairs for the ICA. She said the student audience is critical for the ICA, which is why the ICA will have a membership program designed for student and alumni accessibility.

“We can’t wait to share the ICA with students and future alumni,” Lajoie said.

Allison Heerwagen, a sophomore graphic design major, is a member of the ICA Student Advisory Committee. She hopes it will not only be a space for artists, but for people who wouldn’t normally find themselves in an art museum.

“As our understanding of diverse people and ideas shift, the art of the ICA should reflect the new and improved way of thinking,” she said. “Contemporary art has the unique power to instill new ideas that shape our current and future landscape.”

The ICA’s inaugural exhibition will be called “Declaration,” an interdisciplinary approach to current social issues with pieces by over 30 different artists through different media.

The exhibit will remain open through Sept. 9, 2018.

Nia Tariq, Contributing Writer

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