ICA receives ‘transformative’ $10 million gift

The Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania has received a $10 million gift—the largest donation in the museum’s history—from philanthropist Daniel W. Dietrich II, an emeritus ICA board member and patron of the arts. The gift to support the ICA’s artist-centered mission nearly doubles its endowment.

ICA Director Amy Sadao says that the gift will help the museum strengthen its relationships with artists and curators developing future exhibitions.

At a benefit last month to announce the Dietrich gift, Sadao thanked the museum’s benefactor for his generosity saying, “It feels like you’ve handed ICA the sky.”

Dietrich is president of the Dietrich Foundation and the Daniel W. Dietrich II Trust, nonprofits that support higher education and arts institutions in Pennsylvania and New York. 

For more than 50 years, the museum has been at the forefront of contemporary art institutions that support the work of emerging and under-recognized artists. Andy Warhol’s first solo museum exhibition was held at the ICA in 1965. The museum is well-known for providing curators the resources needed to conduct significant research, time to develop relationships with artists, and exhibition space for artists.

Located at 118 S. 36th St., the ICA is a non-collecting museum with an electronic archive serving as its virtual collection. Admission is free.

The new funding will advance ICA’s five-year, $20 million plan to develop artistic projects and educational programming, increase outreach efforts, and enhance visitor experiences in the space.

“It is crucial to ICA’s mission to seek work that illuminates our contemporary moment and challenges us to think in new ways,” says Sadao. “Dan’s gift allows ICA’s curators and artists wide latitude to engage with what is difficult and daring; to investigate unknown territories, new exhibition strategies, and alternative presentations; and to take invaluable risks.”

Dietrich says that the endowment enables ICA to “probe things that curatorially have not been possible before.”