Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU nominated as one of USA Today’s best new museums

Exterior view of an art gallery.
The VCU entrance to the Markel Center. (Photo by Iwan Baan, courtesy of Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU)

The Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University has been nominated in USA Today’s 2020 10Best Readers' Choice travel awards. An expert panel selected the ICA as a contender for Best New Museum. “Each year brings a slew of new collections for museum lovers,” the website says about the category. “These museums, ranging from avant-garde art galleries to colorful children’s museums, represent the best openings of the past two years.”

The contest gives voters until Feb. 17 to vote for the candidate of their choice at A person can vote once a day for the run of the contest. Winners will be announced Feb. 28 on

The ICA, which opened in April 2018, offers a generous, rigorous, and risk-taking curatorial program as part of VCU’s commitment as a public urban research university to uniting diverse audiences, informing and activating the cultural landscape of Richmond as a progressive Southern city, promoting inclusion and social justice, and posing important critical and creative questions to the academic community and the ICA’s audience at large. The ICA highlights every medium through a changing lineup of exhibitions, live performances and film screenings. Even the building itself is a work of art, designed by Steven Holl Architects with a titanium-zinc and etched-glass exterior.

Its current exhibition in its “Provocations” series is by Guadalupe Maravilla, an artist who, at age 8, immigrated alone to the United States from El Salvador in order to escape the Salvadoran Civil War. Combining drawing, sculpture and performance, Maravilla’s installation “Disease Thrower” draws on his own experiences with illness, migration and the anxieties experienced by undocumented peoples.

About the Institute for Contemporary Art

The Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University is a noncollecting institution that showcases a fresh slate of changing exhibitions and programs. The ICA is a place to explore new ideas, providing an open forum for dialogue and collaboration across the region and the world. Mirroring the increasing emphasis on cross-disciplinary studies across VCU, the ICA has created a new environment for artists and scholars from around the world to test ideas. As a university-wide resource, the ICA links campus, community, and contemporary artists by supporting local creative communities, engaging an international network of contemporary artists and organizations, and encouraging collaborations with VCU departments, faculty, students and the Richmond community. The ICA is a responsive institution that offers a broad range of artistic perspectives with the goal of questioning assumptions and encouraging critical discourse. For more information on the ICA, please visit

About VCU and the VCU School of the Arts

VCU is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 217 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. One of the nation's leading schools of arts and design, VCU School of the Arts offers 15 undergraduate and 10 graduate degree programs in fine arts, design, performing arts, historical research and pedagogical practice. Distinguished faculty members are internationally recognized in their respective fields, contribute significantly to the stature of VCU, and are committed to mentoring the next generation of artists, entrepreneurs, scientists, scholars and engaged citizens of diverse communities around the world. Its campus in Qatar provides students and faculty with a direct tie to the Middle East and underscores the school and university's commitment to global education and experience.