The Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, also known as ICA LA, is set to undergo an exciting transformation. As per reports from the New York Times, the museum has revealed its intention to buy its existing premises and enhance its amenities. This renovation will improve the offerings of the art museum with upgrade like a café outdoor area and specialized studios for a new artist-in-residence program.

Founded in 1988 as the Santa Monica Museum of Art, the ICA LA relocated to downtown Los Angeles in 2017, assuming its current name. Over the past three decades, the museum has earned a reputation for displaying the works of emerging and underrecognized artists and also organized notable exhibitions featuring artists such as Pope. L and Mickalene Thomas. ICA LA’s commitment to diversity and inclusion has transformed it into a vital cultural hub in the art scene in Los Angeles. 

To raise $12 million to finance the project, a fundraising campaign has been launched that already secured $7 million. The purchase price for the former manufacturing building that houses the museum is $5 million. A significant contribution of $4.4 million from the Mohn Family Trust will cover the majority of this cost. In recognition of this generous gift, the building will be renamed as Mohn Family Building. Anne Ellegood, the of Director ICA LA, emphasized that this move demonstrates the museum’s commitment to the neighborhood, reassuring them that “we’re not going anywhere.” 

The planned upgrade of the museum aims to foster a sense of community and accessibility. The modest parking lot will be transformed into a vibrant gathering area with seating for a new café that will face Seventh Street. This café will host a residency program for emerging chefs, adding a culinary dimension to the cultural offerings of the museum. The rear of the building is undergoing renovations where a pedestrian walkway designed for programming and performances will be constructed along with a plaza, and a new entrance through a 450-square-foot pavilion. 

The new studios are an integral part of this upgrade and are intended for Los Angeles-based artists who will participate in the artist-in-residence program. As the program grows, additional studios will accommodate national and international artists. This reflects ICA LA’s widespread influence and outreach. Ellegood revealed that these studios aim to bring back artists who have been priced out of the Arts District, thereby reinforcing the role of ICA LA as a supportive space for creativity and culture. 

Andrea Fraser, an artist and museum trustee, highlighted the broader vision behind this upgrade, which is to make the museum more inviting and accessible. She explained, “You’re not just coming to see shows or go to a specific program.” This emphasis on community building forms the core of ICA LA’s mission behind transforming the museum into a dynamic and inclusive place for artists and visitors alike. 

The Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles is beginning a new chapter in its journey, blending its rich history with a forward-thinking approach to art and community. As ICA LA prepares to enhance its facilities and expand its programs, it remains dedicated to fostering artistic expression and cultural dialogue in the heart of the city of Angels.