ICA produces dozens of cultural events each season, some of which are for Penn students, others are open to all students. Visit the ICA Calendar to find the latest events.

For more than fifty years, ICA has brought cutting-edge contemporary art to Penn’s campus from all over the world. Claim your free student membership to gain an even closer look at the art of today.

    As a Penn Student member you will:

  • Meet artists and curators at our private exhibition previews
  • Be the first to know about each season’s programs when an announcement arrives at your door (or inbox!)
  • Receive a 25% discount in our bookshop
  • Be invited to an annual event at ICA exclusively for Penn students

Penn undergraduates can join the ICA Student Board to help foster engagement between their varied campus communities and the activities of the museum. Student Board members serve as campus ambassadors, organize student events, produce an annual arts publication, and manage promotions to students. They develop pre-professional skills and gain access to artists, curators, and other art world professionals.

Visual acuity, the ability to see beyond what is there, requires one to wrestle with difficult questions and find meaning within spaces of ambiguity. In an ever-evolving society where experiences are constantly shifting and driven by technological advancements, it is imperative we acquire the skills to effectively navigate this challenging terrain through the use of language, dialogue, and observation.

Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) is an innovative approach to cultivating dynamic, problem solving skills through the discussion of art. Extracting its foundational structure from cognitive psychology and art education, it utilizes open inquiry and engaged dialogue to access participants’ creative knowledge base. It has been cited as an essential instrument in the pedagogical approach of various professional fields such as education, design, museums, and healthcare.

The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) will host workshops for undergraduate students who are interested in receiving VTS training. Workshops will be facilitated by Dabney Hailey – a curator, writer, and educator with an extensive background in the methodology. Participants will also have opportunities to intimately engage with VTS, by leading discussion sessions focused on unpacking the layered meanings of selected artwork.

Each participant will be coached in the rigors of the method and reflect with the group on how the approach is applicable within their respective discipline. The goal is to cultivate a space free of judgement, collaborative in nature, and encouraging one’s mind to explore limitless possibilities.

If you are interested in participating in the workshops, please complete the application. Space is limited so students will be selected on the basis of their responses. The deadline to complete the application is September 26th. Trainings will take place at the museum on September 29th and September 30th. At the conclusion of the workshop, there will be an opportunity to continue involvement with VTS through the ICA’s docent program. Additional information on the trainings will be provided upon selection.

For more information about the program contact Jessica Johnson, Visitor Services Coordinator at johje@ica.upenn.edu

Intern and Work Study

Work with ICA’s team to gain valuable museum experience and enrich the arts community at large. Work-Study Students play a vital role in ICA’s mission to provide access for all to engage and connect with the art of our time. We recruit energetic, organized, sharp, and creative people for positions in all of our departments, often working closely with individual staff members. Hours are flexible and there are many opportunities to receive professional training, attend lectures and events, and link up with other art lovers. While ICA is not currently accepting internship applications, there are a limited number of positions available for University of Pennsylvania work-study students; interested parties should apply through the Student Financial Services website (under “Institute of Contemporary Art”).

Research Fellowships

Each summer, Penn’s Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships funds the Summer Humanities Internship (SHIP), an intensive, full-time apprentice position at ICA that prepares students for entry into cultural professions. Read about SHIP intern Heather Holmes’s ICA experience.

Graduate Student Lecturers

PennDesign MFA students and Penn History of Art PhD candidates can apply for one of four annual ICA graduate student lecturer positions. Lecturers work closely with our programming department to organize and lead exhibition tours and facilitate Coffee & Conversation events on topics related to their practice or research.