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After Decade at NYC's Visual AIDS, Sadao Chooses Philly's ICA

Amy Sadao

During the past year, Amy Sadao has been splitting time between Philadelphia and New York, sharing a Center City apartment with her boyfriend and serving in the position as executive director of Visual AIDS. After 10 years a the prominent New York arts non-profit, she is now primed to make Philadelphia her full-time city as she has accepted the appointment of Daniel Dietrich II Director of the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) at the University of Pennsylvania, effective Sept. 1, in an announcement made by Penn President Amy Gutmann and Provost Vincent Price.  
“Why Philadelphia?” Sadao laughs lovingly about her new city. “ICA is the reason is the reason why.  My familiarity with it and time in Philadelphia has made me an extraordinary fan and big admirer of the ICA as an institution and organization.  I am thrilled with the talents of the ICA staff and the curatorial projects they do."

ICA offers innovative exhibitions, educational programs, artist talks, lectures, films, and tours.  The ICA is free at all times and seeks to inspire and inform its visitors through outreach to the Penn community and throughout Greater Philadelphia, 

"The connection of the ICA being part of the University of Penn really aligns with my interest in creating dialogue around contemporary art with the faculty, staff, and students.”

Sadao leaves a legacy at Visual AIDS not only in a catalogue of hundreds of on-site, traveling and online exhibitions of contemporary artists and curators.  She measurably expanded the organization’s attendance, revenues, and budget through cultivation of donors, strategic planning, board relations, and a team of more than a hundred interns and volunteers.   Sadao is also widely recognized as an expert speaker, juror, and media consultant.  She earned an M.A. in comparative ethnic studies in 2000 from the University of California, Berkeley, and a B.F.A. in 1995 from The Cooper Union School of Art.
“Amy Sadao promises to be a leader of unparalleled energy and vision for the next phase of ICA’s growth,” Gutmann said.  “She has an especially strong commitment to forging collaborations across a wide range of diverse communities and placing art at the center of dialogue about the most significant intellectual, political, and social issues of the contemporary world.”

Sadao’s first priorities after her September 1 start date include collaborating with her new team including curators, Kate Kraczon, Alex Klein, and Ingrid Schaffner. The ICA welcomes Sadao with a maximum thrust of visual splendor: cross-genre social and cultural archivist, Jeremy Deller's Joy in People (which opens September 19) and indie icon and artist Wendy Yao's Excursus III: Ooga Booga (which begins September 26.)
 “My interest is in presenting the work of artists, contemporary artists, and sharing that is about being able to invoke lots of questions about how we are living today in contemporary life.  For our time, contemporary activism is behind various projects, intellectually and culturally in the way we interact in the way we share in discussing art,” said Sadao. “I’m really looking to meeting cultural leaders and community organizers in Philadelphia at large and as well as with the extraordinary resources on Penn’s campus staff, faculty, and students.”
BONNIE MACALLISTER is a multi-media artist, grant writer and journalist residing in West Philly. Her work has appeared in Tom Tom Magazine, Toronto Quarterly, Nth Position (U.K.) and Grasp (Czech Republic). Send feedback here.
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