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Institute of Contemporary Arts records, 1927-circa 1985, bulk 1947-1967

Institute of Contemporary Arts

Collection Information

Size: 36 Linear feet

Summary: The records of the Washington, D.C. arts and educational organization, Institute of Contemporary Arts, measure 36 linear feet and date from 1927-circa 1985, with the bulk of the material spanning the organization's active years, 1947-1967. The collection documents the arts and cultural programming organized by the ICA through correspondence, artists' files, program and exhibition files, administrative and financial records, printed materials and photographs. Also found are administrative, student, and teacher records of the ICA school; records of the Fine Arts Committee of the People-to-People Project; and some personal papers of the ICA's founder, Robert Richman.

Biographical/Historical Note

The Washington, D.C. arts and educational organization, Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), was founded by poet Robert Richman in 1947 to bring arts and culture to the nation's capital. The school, originally named the King-Smith School of Creative Arts, was redesigned and renamed Institute of Contemporary Arts by Richman in 1948. The school's philosophy was based on Sir Herbert Read's Education Through Art , and provided professional training in painting, sculpture, literature, music, and theater. In addition, the ICA operated an evening school and brought prominent artists and literary figures to the nation's capital for exhibitions, concerts, workshops, lectures, readings, and performances. Teachers at the school included potter Alexander Giampietro, sculptor David Aaron, designers Beatrice Takeuchi and Hubert Leckie, and painter Kenneth Noland.


The Institute of Contemporary Arts records were donated by Maida Richman, the wife of the ICA's founder, Robert Richman, in 1986.

Language Note

The collection is in English.


Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Smithsonian Institution Collection Care Preservation Fund.