Amy Sadao, Champion of Overlooked Artists, Steps Down as Director of ICA Philadelphia -ARTnews

Amy Sadao, Champion of Overlooked Artists, Steps Down as Director of ICA Philadelphia -ARTnews

Amy Sadao.


Amy Sadao is leaving her post as director of the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania to pursue new opportunities and personal projects, including a book that will focus on the ways art, politics, and community intersect. John McInerney, executive director of Penn’s Sachs Program for Arts Innovation, has been named interim director of the museum.

During her tenure, which spanned more than seven years, Sadao increased attendance and grew the museum’s digital reach. The ICA presented 51 exhibitions of underrepresented artists under her leadership, and she developed the museum’s department of public engagement. With her team, she raised $32 million dollars for the institution and tripled its endowment. 

In an interview with ARTnews, Sadao said she strived to make the ICA accessible to a broad range of audiences and to extend “a compelling invitation to our neighbors in West Philadelphia,” where the museum is located.

I fulfilled and surpassed all of my goals, so this is the perfect time to think about my next step,” she said. “This is the right time for me to be able to write, research, and conduct interviews with people I admire, and it’s the right time for the ICA. I’m excited to see where ICA goes from here.”

Vice provost for faculty Anita Allen will chair an advisory committee for the selection of the next ICA director. The committee, comprised of staff, faculty, artists, alumni, and members of the museum’s board of overseers, includes, among others, Lynn Marsden-Atlass, university curator and executive director of the Arthur Ross Gallery; Michael Leja, professor of the history of art; and Aaron Levy, executive director and senior curator of the Slought Foundation.

Update 9/4/2019, 1:30 p.m.: This article has been updated to include comment from Amy Sadao. 

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