Joe Siepel, left, at the ICA groundbreaking in 2014. Siepel was named interim director of the ICA on Tuesday. <br>File photo

VCU School of the Arts Dean Emeritus Joseph Seipel to serve as interim ICA director

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Virginia Commonwealth University announced today that Joseph H. Seipel, dean emeritus of the VCU School of the Arts, has agreed to serve as interim director of the university’s Institute for Contemporary Art.

Seipel will fill the role left vacant by Lisa Freiman, who announced last week that she was stepping down as director to focus on scholarly projects at VCU.

Seipel retired from VCU in 2016. Under his leadership the VCU School of the Arts rose to and then maintained its position as the top public arts and design school in the country, as ranked in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Graduate Schools. He was an early advocate of the ICA, serving as the co-chair of the committee that chose renowned architect Steven Holl to design the building. Seipel also played an important role in the initial ICA concept, planning and fundraising.

Most recently, Seipel was interim dean of the School of Art and Design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. Interrupting his more than 40 years as a professor and administrator at VCU, and before becoming dean of the VCU School of the Arts, Seipel served as a vice president at the Savannah College of Art and Design for two years.

“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.

Gail Hackett, Ph.D., provost and vice president for academic affairs at VCU, said Seipel “brings exceptional and proven leadership to the ICA as it conducts an expedited national search for the next director of the institute.”