Institute for Contemporary Art unveils summer schedule of free public programs, including new ICA Cinema

ICA Cinema, will debut June 13 with a series, “Declarations of INDIEpendence,” that will feature ...
ICA Cinema, will debut June 13 with a series, “Declarations of INDIEpendence,” that will feature films created by independent filmmakers from Richmond and throughout the country. (File photo)

The Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University will host a series of free, public programs this summer to coincide with its inaugural exhibition “Declaration,” on view through Sept. 9.  

ICA Cinema, which debuts June 13, will use film as a catalyst for conversation and connection. The cinema program’s first series, “Declarations of INDIEpendence,” will feature films created by independent filmmakers from Richmond and throughout the country that explore the ways we make declarations as individuals and society as a whole. “Declarations of INDIEpendence,” will take place the second Wednesday of each month, June through September, in the ICA Auditorium. ICA Cinema is developed and produced by Enjoli Moon, adjunct assistant curator of film at the ICA.

ICA Cinema is part of a broader slate of programming that will take place through September. Programs include topic tours about particular works of art and artists in “Declaration;” monthly artist choice events featuring “Declaration” artists; tours of the Markel Center, a Steven Holl-designed building; live performances; interactive projects and participatory opportunities; student-led tours; artist lectures; mindfulness sessions; and the Festival of the River, June 8-10, in conjunction with the Richmond Symphony.

ICA members may opt to attend specific events designed exclusively for them, including a monthly Coffee + Conversation event with a member of the ICA leadership team.

All programs are free but may require advance registration. ICA members will receive priority advance registration for summer programs through May 31. The general public can register beginning June 1. For a full schedule visit

Summer 2018 ICA Cinema schedule:


June 13: Richmond Speaks

This short-film showcase highlights a selection of Richmond residents who have -- through proclamations, acts of kindness, and direct calls to action -- put their stamp on the city. A post-screening conversation with the filmmakers and subjects will focus on how their work creates space for the individual while also building community, as well as the role of institutions such as the ICA in developing Richmond’s story.


“May It Be So”

Richmond is a city of monuments, but many people who live here say the monuments do not tell the full story of the city. This short film is about how Richmond remembers its past through the voices of the people who live in the city today.


“Adrian’s Story”

Adrian Swearengen is a barber in training who is refining his skills with the clippers while offering haircuts for individuals who cannot afford to visit a barber shop. Swearengen has long dreamed of becoming a licensed barber and is realizing this goal after years of incarceration.


“Don’t Touch My Hair”

This film uses hair expressions as metaphor to depict a multiplicity of blackness and reveal the wealth of black experiences. Black women in particular provide the bridge and backbone to social justice movements.

Panelists: Free Egunfemi, Chaz Barracks, Lance Warren and Hannah Ayers, and Rebecca Keel


July 11: Oh Say, Can’t You See

The second ICA Cinema event offers an exclusive look at the HBO documentary, “Say Her Name: The Life and Death of Sandra Bland,” which recounts the events leading to Bland’s death in police custody. This screening coincides with the three-year anniversary of her arrest and death.


“Say Her Name: The Life and Death of Sandra Bland”  

The documentary explores the mysterious death of Bland, a politically active 28-year-old African American who, after being arrested for a traffic violation in a small Texas town, was found hanging in her jail cell three days later. The filmmakers followed the two-year case beginning shortly after Bland's death, exploring what really happened to her, and what we can learn from her tragedy.

Panelists: Directors Kate Davis and David Heilbroner, Bland family members and lawyers


Aug. 8: The [re]Birth of a Nation

Using film as a tool to examine artist Paul Rucker’s “Declaration” installation, “Storm in the Time of Shelter,” the ICA will screen “Rebirth of a Nation” by DJ Spooky, a retake on D.W. Griffith’s “The Birth of a Nation.”


“Rebirth of a Nation”

Originally commissioned as a live multimedia performance, “Rebirth of a Nation” is a “DJ mix applied to cinema” that challenges a legacy of revisionist history as it deconstructs one of the most influential and inflammatory movies of all time.

Discussion: “Declaration” artist and VCU iCubed Visiting Arts Fellow Paul Rucker


Sept. 12 : New Negress, An FUBU experience

The New Negress Film Society, a collection of New York City-based black women filmmakers, will present a sample of their work, followed by a discussion about the group’s mission to inform and empower women and to move society closer to its best version of itself.

Films to be screened on Sept. 12 to be announced at a later date.

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.