A new art museum in San Francisco, built on the idea of highlighting artists who are not white men, has found strong supporters in Silicon Valley investors.
The Institute of Contemporary Art in San Francisco is an offshoot of the Minnesota Street Project Foundation. The foundation was founded in 2019 and promoted working with local artists and art nonprofits. The museum is set to open sometime in 2022, though it will offer a preview as early as January next year. Alison Gass, who was previously with the San Jose branch of ICA, will be the director of this new museum. The museum will be a non-collecting one, thus diverting funds from maintaining an art collection towards helping upcoming artists.
Even before its launch, the ICA has been outspoken about burning social issues. One of its strongest critiques is the overrepresentation of white, male artists in the art world. To solve this, ICA has committed to highlighting artists from underrepresented and marginalized groups. Given that Bay Area in San Francisco is one of the costliest localities in the world, the museum will also try to financially support these artists while they focus on their work.
Surprisingly, the idea found strong support from the investors of Silicon Valley. Venture capitalist Andy Rappaport was the first one to come on board, providing $1 million seed investment to the project. Soon, other investors came along. Tech personalities like Mike Krieger (co-founder, Instagram) and Cal Handerson (co-founder, Slack) donated generously, doubly the seed amount.
Elated by the response, Gass said that this was an affirmation for her vision which is now shared by many others.