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Paul Rucker (Courtesy of TED) and Nontsikelelo Mutiti (Photo: Dominic Sindayiganz Photography).
Paul Rucker (Courtesy of TED) and Nontsikelelo Mutiti (Photo: Dominic Sindayiganz Photography).

Virginia Commonwealth University’s ICA Announces Research Fellows and Staff Promotions

The Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) announced today its inaugural research fellows, Paul Rucker and Nontsikelelo Mutiti, and the promotion of two staff members. Egbert Vongmalaithong, the institute’s current retail manager, has been appointed assistant curator for commerce and publications, and assistant curator Amber Esseiva was named associate curator.

“We are thrilled to welcome Paul, Nontsikelelo, Egbert, and Amber in their new roles at the ICA,” said Dominic Willsdon, executive director of the institute. “The launch of the new Research Fellows program allows the ICA to open critical pathways for creative collaboration with VCU and expand staff capacity by sharing resources across the university. Through the artistic practice and scholarship of Paul, Nontsikelelo and future fellows, we hope to create new opportunities for interdisciplinary study at the university, and extend the impact of contemporary art in Richmond and beyond.”

Rucker, a visual artist, composer, and musician, will serve as the ICA’s iCubed fellow, which builds on his current work as a visiting arts fellow within VCU’s Institute for Inclusion, Inquiry, and Innovation (iCubed), where he piloted a series of career development programs for Richmond-based creatives. In his new role, Rucker will work on developing initiatives to support students of color in the VCU School of the Arts and organizing an annual research-driven event.

Mutiti, an interdisciplinary artist and assistant professor of Graphic Design at VCUarts, is a cofounder of Black Chalk & Co., a collective that fosters curatorial and publishing collaborations between writers, artists, designers, academics, and technologists. Mutiti will be tasked with creating a visually driven publications strategy and will collaborate with Vongmalaithong in developing the gift store as a concept shop that expands upon the ideas generated in the ICA’s galleries.