VCU reaches $20 million in funding for new contemporary art building

Since announcing plans back in April to to build a $32 million contemporary art building, VCU has just announced that it has raised over $20 million towards the project.

Update #1 – September 11th, 1:40 PM

VCU is now closer to funding the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) building it announced back in April. The university has surpassed the $20 million mark, pushing it closer to the $32 million needed to fund the building it hopes to open in Spring 2014.

Here are several sizable donations, including those that will result in sections of the building adopting donor namesakes:

  • $5 million gift from Kathie and Steve Markel, co-chairs of the ICA’s Campaign Committee
  • $5 million gift from Pam and Bill Royall, co-chairs of the ICA’s Campaign Committee
  • $2 million gift from True Farr Luck, Richmond-based philanthropist. Luck’s gift will be recognized with the naming of the ICA’s third-floor gallery
  • $1 million gift from Abby W. Moore, philanthropist and former president of Moore Loans Inc. Moore’s gift will be recognized with the naming of the ICA’s café
  • $1 million gift from anonymous donors to name the ICA’s reflecting pool in honor of Martha D. Newell
  • $1.8 million in-kind gift of the property on which the ICA will be located from a Richmond-based private foundation
  • $750,000 matching grant for a total gift of $1.5 million from the Virginia-based Cabell Foundation
  • $500,000 from the Lewis and Butler Foundation. The gift will be recognized with the naming of the ICA shop for Frances, Andrew, and Virginia Lewis.  Frances Lewis also serves as honorary Chairwoman of the ICA’s International Advisory Board
  • $500,000 gift from The Pollak Society, a group of VCUarts’ patrons in the Richmond community


Virginia Commonwealth University has announced plans today for the Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA), a state-of-the art building planned to be one of the signature buildings for VCU. The new building, specifically intended for the university’s School of the Arts, a consistently top-ranked public graduate arts program in the country, will be a 32,000 square-foot facility located on the corner of Broad and Belvidere and will house approximately 8,000 square-feet of gallery space, a 210-seat auditorium with tiered seating, classrooms, gift shop, a café with a catering kitchen, as well as a room to accommodate exhibitions, installations, and social events. VCU hopes that the ICA “will provide a cultural connection between the university and the community offering an innovative, open, welcoming space and exhibition venue for interdisciplinary arts programming for a broad and diverse audience,” said VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D.

From the 64 architecture firms from around the country that competed, Steven Holl Architects was selected to design the ICA. Holl’s previous projects have included Simmons Hall for MIT (Cambridge, Mass.), the Herning Museum of Contemporary Art (Herning, Denmark), and is, perhaps, best known for the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, which Paul Goldberger, architecture critic for The New Yoker, said was “one of the best [buildings] of the last generation.” Holl’s designs utilize existing cultural components and historical structures, as well as sustainable building and site development.

“The enterprise is elevated with our choice of architect,” said Joseph Seipel, dean of the VCU School of the Arts. “We are excited to have Steven Holl, internationally recognized as one of the most-inspired and significant architects of our time. With Holl leading this endeavor, I am confident the ICA is destined to become an iconic building for VCU and the city of Richmond.”

The ICA will be funded by private donations, a process that is currently underway. The ICA is expcted to open in Spring 2014.

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