Virginia Commonwealth University New Institute for Contemporary Art celebrates groundbreaking

Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) today celebrated breaking ground on the Markel Center, which will house VCU’s new Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA).

Anticipated to open in 2016, the ICA will be dedicated to contemporary visual art, design, music, performance, and film by national and internationally recognized artists. The non-collecting institution will enhance VCU and its renowned School of the Arts, while introducing a vibrant destination for contemporary art to the region.

Located at one of the most prominent intersections in Richmond — the corner of Belvedere and Broad streets — and adjacent to several historic neighborhoods, the ICA will link VCU’s two campuses and crown Richmond’s Downtown Arts District.

The groundbreaking included university leadership, donors, architects, students and community leaders. After remarks by ICA Director Lisa Freiman and VCU President Micheal Rao, artist and VCUarts alumnus Ed Trask led a performance that creatively branded the future site of the ICA.

From the top of two scissor-lifts, leaders of the Markel Corp. emptied numerous gallons of paint in red, fuchsia and purple — the ICA logo colors. Afterward, Trask pulled up a giant template to reveal the monumental bright letters spelling out ICA. Afterward, VCU School of the Arts Dean Joseph Seipel broke ground on the site with a giant backhoe.

Images, top to bottom:

ICA Director Lisa Freiman; Steven Holl Architects’ Senior Partner Chris McVoy; VCUarts Dean Joseph Seipel; architect Steven Holl; Steven Holl Architects’ Project Architect Dimitra Tsachrelia at the Institute for Contemporary Art groundbreaking on June 3, 2014.

VCU School of the Arts Dean Joseph Seipel breaks the ground for the Institute for Contemporary Art with a backhoe.

Leadership from the Markel Corporation participate in a paint performance marking the future site of the Markel Center at the Institute for Contemporary Art.