Today, Amy Sadao, Daniel W. Dietrich, II Director at the Institute of Contemporary Art
at the University of Pennsylvania (UPENN) announced the appointment of James E. Britt Jr. as the museums new Director of Public Engagement. Britt comes to Philadelphia from Chicago, where he oversaw the development and implementation of partnerships and engagement opportunities with students and local organizations as the Director of Multicultural Affairs at the School of the Arts Institute of Chicago and as Associate Director of Community Service at the University of Chicago respectively. Britt will join the ICA in August 2018.
As ICAs Director of Public Engagement, Britt will work collaboratively alongside ICA Director Amy Sadao and the curatorial department to further integrate ICAs curatorial program within the curriculum of the University of Pennsylvanias twelve schools and continue to strengthen and build new partnerships with civic, educational, and cultural institutions throughout the city. As part of ICAs commitment to engaging wider audiences, Britt will also oversee a range of public outreach programs such as lectures, workshops, and tours, among other educational and family-oriented events, and will lead efforts at improving the overall visitor experience at the museum for UPENN students and beyond.
As a museum that offers free admission, finding innovative and meaningful new ways to engage our diverse community throughout the Greater Philadelphia Area and ensuring that our program is accessible to all is central to our mission and day to day work here at ICA, said Amy Sadao, Director of ICA. Britts educational background and experience of working with various universities to foster and deepen connections with the broader community are a perfect fit for this position and were looking forward to beginning our work together.
It is an honor to have this opportunity to become a part of the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania and the Greater Philadelphia community. Both the city and museum are in the midst of significant change, evolving and shifting in dynamic fashion. It is exciting to be involved in shaping this growth in ways that enhance the relationship between the two entities, said Britt. The ICAs exceptional curatorial work, its commitment to ensuring its doors are open to everyone, and its affiliation with a highly regarded academic institution within a vibrant urban space were factors that drew me to this role. I welcome the journey that lays ahead as we develop new relationships and strengthen those that currently exist.
At the University of Chicago, Britt managed educational outreach programs and established key initiatives to support student engagement as the Associate Director of Community Service. Prior to this, from 2005 to 2013, Britt served as the Director of Multicultural Affairs at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he oversaw the development of diversity related programming and directed the schools efforts to engage and serve underrepresented populations. He previously held positions as Director of African American Student Affairs at Northwestern University, developing essential services, programs, and integrative interactions to enrich the experience of black students, and Coordinator of Student Development at California Polytechnic.
Britt earned an M.F.A in Art, Theory, and Practice in June 2018 from Northwestern University. He holds a Master of Education degree from Virginia Commonwealth University in Counseling Education and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and African American/African Studies from the University of Virginia. Britt is also an artist and has participated in artist residency programs and a number of solo and group exhibitions.