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Dominic Willsdon to Lead Virginia Commonwealth University’s Institute for Contemporary Art

The Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University announced today that Dominic Willsdon has been named its new executive director. Willsdon comes to the ICA from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) where he served as curator of education and public practice since 2006. Willsdon succeeds Lisa Freiman, who stepped down at the beginning of the year, and will take up the post on December 1.

“The VCU community enthusiastically welcomes Dominic Willsdon as the new executive director of the Institute for Contemporary Art,” said Gail Hackett, the provost and vice president for academic affairs at the univeristy. “Dominic is a dynamic leader, curator, and educator in the contemporary art world, and his career-long focus on issues related to cultural equity, inclusion, and civic engagement make him a natural fit for the ICA.”

During his tenure at SFMOMA, Willsdon launched new initiatives such as “Public Knowledge,” a project that promoted public dialogue on the impact of urban change through commissions from artists and writers Burak Arikan, Bik Van der Pol, Minerva Cuevas, Josh Kun and Stephanie Syjuco; spearheaded new community and civic partnerships; and helped the museum secure major gifts to support free admission for visitors eighteen years of age and younger and other programming. Prior to joining SFMOMA, Willsdon was curator of public programs at Tate Modern in London; a guest curator of the ninth Liverpool Biennial, which took place in 2016; and a lecturer at the California College of the Arts and Royal College of Art, London, among other institutions.  

 “I have admired the ICA team’s work to create this phenomenal new institution, which has demonstrated in a few short months how art and dialogue can powerfully address issues in society today,” Willsdon said in a statement. He added, “I look forward to continuing to shape its vision and program alongside my new colleagues to ensure the ICA remains responsive to the broadest possible audience and a vital venue for international contemporary art.”