Former VCU Arts Dean Joe Seipel Named Interim Director of ICA

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A well-known and longtime former dean of VCU School of the Arts, Joe Seipel was named interim director for the Institute for Contemporary Art, which is set to open April 21.

The former director, Lisa Freiman, stepped down suddenly last week to focus on scholarly work at VCU.

“I look forward to working with the energetic and highly professional members of the ICA staff who already are well on their way to opening this world-class institute,” Seipel said in a release sent to some media outlets today.

Seipel, who retired in 2016, was an early advocate for the ICA and was heavily involved in raising funding for the project before Freiman was hired and finished off the $37 million dollar capital campaign.

He was also co-chairman of the committee that chose architect Steven Holl to design the building.

While the ICA is part of VCU, there has been a clear division when it comes to operations between the School of the Arts and the ICA. Pamela Lepley, vice-president for University Relations, explains the reporting structure of the university in an email to Style:

"The director of the ICA reports to the provost, who is chief academic officer, as do all of the deans of the schools and some other units. The ICA is its own operating unit. That said, it makes sense that expertise is leveraged between the School of the Arts and the ICA with collaborative academic programming and research."

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