Located in San Jose, California, the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art is a 7,500-square-foot contemporary arts gallery, offering eight to 12 annual exhibitions of works by emerging artists along with a variety of cultural programming and internship opportunities. The San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art was founded in 1980 as a means for presenting exhibitions of new and challenging contemporary art in all media forms by emerging Silicon Valley-area artists.
In April of 2006, the Institute purchased a 7,500-square-foot building in San Jose’s downtown district, located at 560 South First Street. The new ICA building was opened to the public in June of the following year. Since its opening, the new ICA facility has attracted 20,000 annual visitors and has become a vital part of San Jose’s SoFA artist and entertainment district. Public programming at the new ICA location has been expanded to incorporate a variety of SoFA-wide events, including the city’s First Friday gallery crawls.
Exhibits and Artist Programs
Today, the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art is operated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, offering free public admission to all of its galleries and public special events. The ICA receives financial support from a variety of area cultural organizations, including the Office of Cultural Affairs for the City of San Jose, Silicon Valley Creates, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. More than 300 local, regional, and national artists are also members of the ICA and provide private support for the organization.
True to its mission of highlighting emerging artists and works in a variety of artistic fields, including visual art, music, film, video, and performance, the ICA’s gallery space is fully devoted to rotating temporary exhibitions. Between eight and 12 exhibitions are showcased annually, including exhibitions presented as part of special event programming. Past artists on display include Steve French, Elizabeth Ryono, Naomie Kremer, Cassandra Straubing, Nick Dong, and Julia Anne Goodman. While exhibitions generally focus on emerging Silicon Valley-area artists, submissions from national and international artists are also considered. Special submission consideration is given to art students and recent graduates. Current submission considerations are listed on the ICA’s website and unsolicited submissions not related to current projects are not accepted. A silent auction gallery of past exhibition works is also offered on the ICA’s website.
In addition to standard exhibitions, the ICA also presents a Sandbox Projects series of site-specific installations, encouraging experimental and large-scale works offering immersive visitor experiences. Each Sandbox Project artist or team receives a stipend of up to $5,000 to complete projects, which may be used toward materials, travel, and artist and worker compensation. Support for project installation and teardown from ICA crew members is also offered. Past Sandbox Project installations include Val Britton’s Intimate Immensity, Mike Rathbun’s Urgency, Chris Dorosz’s Painted Room, and Christel Dillbohner’s Ice Floe.
The ICA is open Tuesdays through Sundays, with special extended hours during First Friday events. Nearby metered street parking is offered, along with a city parking lot located one block south of the building. Guided tours are available for reservation by appointment, subject to availability. Volunteers are accepted at the ICA on an ongoing basis, and the facility’s 3,500-square-foot gallery space may be rented for private special events. Internships are also offered semiannually in the areas of curation, arts administration, and photography.
Ongoing Programs and Events
The ICA participates in the SoFA District’s monthly South First Friday events through ICA Live! performances, which take places either within the facility’s gallery or lounge or at the Parque de los Pobladores public park across the street from the building. Performances focus on experimental performance art in a variety of disciplines, including sound-based artists and pieces with public interaction elements. Many monthly events also feature illuminated installations in the gallery’s front windows. All ICA Live! events are free and open to the public.
An annual Collect and Connect art exhibition and auction serves as the ICA’s main yearly fundraiser, offering more than 100 pieces for silent and live auction created by local, national, and international artists. Event schedule includes an opening reception, brunch and bid party, silent auction, and live auction gala. Meet-and-greet opportunities with artists are also offered, along with curator-led exhibition tours and food and alcoholic beverages provided by local food trucks, breweries, and local chefs participating in ICA’s pop-up kitchen program. A Talking Art lecture series also offers periodic panel discussions and public talks, aiming to promote discussion and dialogue about contemporary art throughout the Silicon Valley area. Select Talking Art programs are free and open to the public, with other events requiring an admission fee for non-members.
560 S 1st St, San Jose, CA 95113,Phone: 408-283-8155