July 18, 2019

Virginia's Institute for Contemporary Art Lays Off Staffers

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA—The Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond is laying off six full-time employees—20 percent of its workforce. The ICA’s executivce director Dominic Willsdon told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that the job cuts, which will begin to take place in August, are part of a reorganization.

“The staff reorganization is driven by strategic considerations designed to foster the ICA’s growth,” Willsdon said in a statement provided to Artnews. “After a successful first year, where we presented more than one hundred artists and welcomed more than 100,000 visitors, we found that it was necessary to adapt the ICA’s inaugural staffing plan, which was based on models of existing institutions, to apply what we’ve learned from our own audiences. Through a rigorous research process, involving the input of all staff, our advisory board, VCU leadership and community stakeholders, we discovered that the way our staff was structured did not serve us.”

The non-collecting museum, which opened in April 2018, is also planning to create seven new positions in the coming months, which current and former employees will be encouraged to apply for. Other recent changes at the ICA include the departure of its director of development, Carol Anne Baker Lajoie, in May and the closure of its in-house eatery, the Ellwood Thompson’s Café, which was shuttered by owner Rick Hood, who said the space was not financially sustainable.

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