Virginia Commonwealth University announced today that Lisa Freiman has stepped down as director of its new Institute for Contemporary Art, which opens in April. Freiman, who has served as the ICA’s inaugural director since 2013, is departing to finish a monograph on artist Claes Oldenburg and will then return to VCU to continue teaching.
During her tenure as director, Freiman successfully completed a $37 million capital campaign, launched an endowment campaign, cocurated the inaugural exhibition, “Declaration,” and formed ICA’s national advisory board. Gail Hackett, the provost and vice president for academic affairs at VCU, commended Freiman’s strong leadership and vision for the institution. She said, “We especially appreciate how Lisa advanced the university’s commitment to diversity and inclusion in the arts and worked to integrate the strategic goals of the university into the ICA.”
Commenting on her decision to leave the ICA, Freiman said, “It has been a tremendous honor to serve as the inaugural director of the ICA over the past five years and to have the opportunity to shape an institution from the ground up. With the completion of the capital campaign last fall, the launch of the endowment campaign and a dynamic roster of exhibitions and programs in place for the opening and beyond, I would like to turn my attention to some projects that I had to put on hold. Now that we have built out our curatorial and administrative staff, I am confident the ICA is in good hands.” The institution said that it will name an interim director shortly and will launch a national search for new leadership in the coming months.