Press Release


Museum Will Celebrate Anniversary with a Free Community Day on Sunday, December 9

Boston, Mass.—Since opening its new waterfront facility on December 10, 2006, the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston has enjoyed tremendous success, with attendance increasing to 280,000 visitors-an eleven-fold increase from the museum's former Boylston Street location.  The ICA's new performance program premiered 20 works by some of the world's leading performing artists in the stunning, glass-enclosed Barbara Lee Family Foundation Theater, and the museum announced 22 acquisitions to its first ever permanent collection. The ICA will celebrate its first anniversary with a Community Day, sponsored by Target, which will offer free admission, extended hours, and screenings of The Making of the New ICA, a documentary about the construction of the ICA's iconic building. The Community Day will be held on Sunday, December 9, from 10 am to 7 pm. 

"It has been wonderful to see hundreds of thousands of people visit the museum over the past year, so many of them with smiles on their faces," says Jill Medvedow, Director. "The art, artists, and architecture all contributed to a rich, diverse, and emotionally satisfying artistic experience and sense of civic pride.  I hope everyone will join us on our Community Day."

> "The success of this first year has exceeded our wildest expectations," says Chuck Brizius, President of the ICA Board of Trustees.  "We are working to build on this momentum to create a cultural and civic institution that is increasingly important and influential."

The museum's attendance (including paid admission, opening events, and theater and education programs) well exceeded the projected attendance of 225,000.  More than 10,000 people visited the museum through the group tour program.  Membership surpassed 10,000 households in May, an increase of over 300% in 11 months.  The ICA's web site has received over half a million visits since December.

Performing Arts and Programming
The ICA launched its new performing arts program with sold out performances by STREB Extreme Action Company, Donal Fox and Bruce Brubaker, the world premiere of a multimedia theater piece by Jay Scheib, a concert by the Ying String Quartet curated by Tod Machover, and a Bessie Award-winning dance and video performance by Cathy Weis. The climax of the season was the world premiere of Looky, a new work by the Mark Morris Dance Group.  The ICA also partnered with CRASHarts, a division of World Music, to present nine performances of contemporary performing arts.

The celebrity speaker series What New Is featured ICA architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro, a conversation between Mark Morris and music and arts critic Richard Dyer, the late poet and performance artist Sekou Sundiata, and an appearance by Patti Smith two weeks prior to her induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

A diverse series of outdoor programs throughout the summer took advantage of the new ICA's location on Boston Harbor. HarborWalk Sounds, a series of free concerts featuring Berklee College of Music faculty, students and alumni from around the world, attracted an average of 1,000 on Target Free Thursday evenings. On Friday nights in July and August, You Dance Fridays offered free dance lessons and performances to an average of 250 people per night. The ICA also commissioned the first site-specific dance for the building, as choreographer Stephan Koplowitz premiered a piece for three dozen dancers that wound inside and around the exterior of the museum.

> The ICA's film program presented several Boston premieres, including previews of the Oscar-winning Pan's Labyrinth, Ang Lee's new film Lust, Caution, and Zidane, a 21st-Century Portrait. The program, presenting work that cannot be seen elsewhere in the Boston area, also highlighted excellent new work in the field of animation, with screenings of Oscar-nominated live action and animated shorts, new independent animation from Japan, and animation by New England filmmakers.

Exhibitions and Permanent Collection
For the first time in its 70-year history, the ICA exhibited a permanent collection of 21st-century art, including painting, sculpture, video, photography, and text-based work. The Trustees of the ICA voted to accept 22 works of art into the collection over the first year, with acquisitions of work by Laylah Ali, Kai Althoff, Louise Bourgeois, Ambreen Butt,  Paul Chan, Taylor Davis, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Rineke Dijkstra, Tara Donovan, Marlene Dumas, Noriko Furunishi, Nan Goldin, Mona Hatoum, Thomas Hirschhorn, Christian Jankowski, Josiah McElheny, Lucy McKenzie, Boris Mikhailov, Julian Opie, Cornelia Parker, Kelly Sherman, and Rachel Perry Welty.

In addition, the ICA mounted 12 exhibitions in its first year. The museum opened with Super Vision, which gathered spectacular works in a range of media from artists including James Turrell, Anish Kapoor, Andreas Gursky, Mona Hatoum, Jeff Koons, and Yoko Ono.  Philip-Lorca diCorcia was the first major survey of the renowned American photographer in 20 years, and the largest museum exhibition of his work ever assembled.  Design Life Now, the first of the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum's Design Triennial exhibitions to travel outside of New York, is presented at the ICA with a dramatic exhibition design by architect Michael Meredith. 

The museum opened with an exhibition of four finalists for the James and Audrey Foster Prize, awarded to a Boston artist of exceptional promise.  The winner, Cambridge artist Kelly Sherman, was announced in February.  Her work, Wish Lists, as well as Karaoke Wrong Number, a video by fellow finalist Rachel Perry Welty, were accepted into the ICA's permanent collection. The Foster Prize, selected by a jury, will be awarded biennially. The Momentum series also presented international artists gaining pace in the field: Argentine artist Sergio Vega, Japanese artist Misaki Kawai, and New York-based Dave McKenzie. French-Algerian artist Kader Attia created new work during a six-week residency in Boston, with the help of students from Massachusetts College of Art and Design and the ICA's Teen Arts Council.

Bourgeois in Boston drew on the wealth of important works by Louise Bourgeois in local private and museum collections, and Art on the Harbor Islands highlighted the historical and natural richness of the Boston Harbor Islands, continuing the ICA's record of presenting major temporary exhibitions in untraditional sites throughout the city.  The Gerald and Sandra Fineberg Art Wall in the ICA lobby has featured a bold, graphic work on vinyl by Japanese artist Chiho Aoshima and a drawing and sound piece by Los Angeles-based artist Dave Muller.

The ICA's second year promises to be equally strong, with an exciting roster of performances planned, featuring artists such as Bill T. Jones and DJ Spooky, and an exhibition schedule that includes The World as a Stage, organized by Tate Modern, Anish Kapoor, and Tara Donovan, among others.

Education and Family Programs
The ICA's popular Play Date programs, offered each month and during vacation weeks free of charge, have been extremely popular, drawing over 10,000 people in the first year.  The museum has launched a marketing and outreach initiative to reach families in Roxbury and Dorchester, working with organizations, churches, community centers, and individuals serving families in those communities. 

Teen Programs included Fast Forward, an advanced video production program, and classes in digital media-blogging, digital photography, and basics of video and sound design. The Teen Arts Council hosted three Teen Night events and a Fast Forward screening with a combined attendance of 600.  In total, 1,000 teens have participated in programs in the new ICA, exceeding the museum's projection of 850.  In recognition of the ICA's important work in teen programming, the museum received a $500,000, three-year grant from the Wallace Foundation.  In May, over 100 middle and high school students read their original writings and performed at a Reading Jam, the culmination of the WallTalk creative writing program, which received a $50,000 grant from the Boston Globe Foundation.

The ICA's First Anniversary Community Day is sponsored by Target.

An influential forum for multi-disciplinary arts, the ICA has been at the leading edge of art in Boston for seventy years. Like its iconic building on Boston's waterfront, the ICA offers new ways of engaging with the world around us. Its exhibitions and programs provide access to contemporary art, artists, and the creative process, inviting audiences of all ages and backgrounds to participate in the excitement of new art and ideas.  Located at 100 Northern Avenue in Boston, the ICA is open Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 am - 5 pm; Thursday and Friday, 10 am - 9 pm; and Saturday and Sunday, 10 am - 5 pm.  Admission is $12 adults, $10 seniors and students, and free for members and children 17 and under. Free admission on Target Free Thursday Nights, 5 9 pm. For more information, call 617-478-3100 or visit our Web site at


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