You’ve probably walked by the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), sandwiched between Urban Outfitters and Kings Court. You’ve probably heard of the Free for All and artist opening night celebrations that happen there. But the purpose and organization of the ICA board are as big a mystery to Penn students as the tunnels under the Quad or the answers to a BEPP 250 midterm.
Street reached out to Maya Arthur and Sebastian Beaghen, two members of the 25–person board.
Street: So why did you guys want to join the ICA Board?
Maya Arthur: I wanted to ease my way into being involved in the visual art scene at Penn. When I joined, the ICA was relatively distant from the thoughts of the general student body and I wanted to promote the group and bring in new people.
Sebastian Beaghen: I found it really interesting to be in leadership for a cool resource that many Penn students don’t even know about.
Street: What are your respective roles within the organization?
MA: I have had several committee roles and consider myself a general body member. We have just recently started increasing student board involvement so I haven’t had that much impact on the organization as a whole. I am looking at joining full time staff as a Programing Chair so I can leave a legacy for other Penn students.
SB: I’m very new but I’m on the publications committee and have some relevant arts publication experience. I am looking forward to drumming up interest for the Museum among students.
Street: What is your favorite thing about being a member?
MA: While we’ve not had as much outside artist involvement as I would have liked during my time here, I’ve enjoyed having closer access to local artists and having the opportunity to learn from them in their home studios.
SB: Getting to meet other like minded students who are passionate about art.
Street: What has changed or is in the process of changing within the board?
MA: Not much has changed over the two years I’ve been here. We are starting to host more student–friendly events but still do not engage that much with the school.
SB: This year we are going to have an event in November that is specifically geared towards undergraduate students and will even feature some student art.
Street: How has being a member taught you about contemporary art?
MA: The position has taught me a lot about how programming in the art industry works. I have a really clear understanding of how the bureaucracy works. I got to see how the artists we feature create their works, which included a talk with some of the artists behind Speech/Acts.
SB: Not much yet, but I’m being encouraged to go to all of the events and that’s giving me a lot of new exposure.