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Institute of Contemporary Art Sets Opening Date in April

Courtesy of VCU



Virginia Commonwealth University announced Tuesday that Virginia's newest art museum, the Institute for Contemporary Art in Richmond, will open this Spring. The museum has also reached its $37 million fundraising goal.


Ask Lisa Freiman what the new Institute for Contemporary Art will look like, and she laughs. Freiman is museum’s first director.

“I laughed because it’s difficult to describe it without seeing images,” she said. “It’s like a sculpture in the round. It’s not a shape or form that you’ve ever seen before in your life.”

The steel, glass and concrete structure is 41,000 square feet, and currently stands gleaming at one of Richmond’s busiest intersections.  

“It’s comprised of four galleries, a 240 seat auditorium, a cafe that Ellwood Thompson’s -- a really wonderful local vendor is doing to run for us, a bar, an outdoor garden area referred to as the thinking field, and a beautiful terrace that overlooks the city,” described Freiman.

Unlike the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the ICA will focus solely on the art of today, and will have constantly rotating exhibits rather than a permanent collection.

“One of the things that the ICA will do is bring more positive attention to this region as a progressive region that is engaging with the wealth of art and culture that is being produced across the world,” said Freiman.

The ICA has been years in the making. It opens April 21st with a block party.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.