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WVU Museum Names Paden City’s Ice Director

By Staff | Dec 30, 2008

Joyce Ice

Joyce Ice, director of the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, N.M., has been selected as director of the new West Virginia University art museum, the College of Creative Arts announced recently.

The museum will be adjacent to the Creative Arts Center and will incorporate the former Erickson Alumni Center building and a new addition. Planning for construction is scheduled to begin in 2009.

Dean Bernie Schultz described Ice as “just the right person at just the right time.”

“We are most fortunate that Dr. Ice will be the director of West Virginia University’s new art museum,” he said. “She is nationally known as a thoroughly professional, dedicated, and inspiring museum director. I can think of no better person to lead us in this exciting endeavor. We are thrilled to welcome Joyce Ice back home to West Virginia.”

A WVU graduate, Ice has served as director of the Museum of International Folk Art since 1999 and was assistant director for nine years prior to that.

“I’m excited about the new WVU art museum and look forward to developing this wonderful addition to the campus, the community, and the state,” she said. “I am delighted also to be returning to my home state of West Virginia.”

Ice attended public schools in Paden City. She grew up on the same street as Jeff Casteel, the defensive coordinator for the Mountaineers, where his parents and her parents still live.

“I came to the museum profession with 10 years of teaching experience at the elementary and university levels,” she said. “Early in my career, I taught elementary school in Wetzel and Preston counties. For the last nine years, I have served as director of the Museum of International Folk Art, a well-established institution with a staff of 25 people.

“In Morgantown, we will begin from the ground up-literally-yet building on the considerable strengths of the College of Creative Arts,” she said.

The Museum of International Folk Art, the largest museum of its kind, holds more than 130,000 objects from six continents and more than 100 nations. The museum is committed to building cultural understanding through folk art.

Under her leadership, the museum has presented exciting and groundbreaking exhibitions, including “Carnaval!, Ceramica y Cultura: The Story of Spanish and Mexican Mayolica” and “Vernacular Visionaries: International Outsider Art in Context.”

Ice has also been involved in the development and planning for the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market from its inception in 2004, offering both the museum’s support and personal guidance. This year, the market featured more than 100 artists and attracted 20,000 people to the two-day event.

She graduated from WVU with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education in 1973 and a master’s degree in education in 1977. In graduate school at the University of Texas, Austin, she studied folklore and anthropology, focusing on women’s traditional arts, and obtained her degree in 1984. Her dissertation was titled “Quilting and the Pattern of Relationships in Community Life.”

While completing her doctoral dissertation, Ice taught material culture, regional identity, and folklore at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. She later was a visiting scholar at the Cornell University Center for Humanities.

Prior to joining the museum’s staff in 1990, she was folklorist for the Delaware County Historical Association in Delhi, N.Y., where she curated exhibitions on quilting, woodcarving, county fairs, and expressions of faith in material culture.

Ice recently completed her second term as a member of the U.S. National Committee of the International Council of Museums and has served on the board of trustees of the Fund for Folk Culture. She has also been a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, as well as for state arts councils in New Mexico, Colorado, and New York.

As director of the Museum of International Folk Art, Ice also oversaw the development of programming on Milner Plaza, including “Arts Alive,” an outdoor summer educational program that has become one of the museum’s most popular offerings.

She said her interest in folk art and music has been a lifelong passion, growing from her West Virginia roots.

The College of Creative Arts has committed to raise $9 million for the art museum project, which will serve both the community and the region.

The museum will contain approximately 5,300 square feet of exhibition space, including gallery space for the WVU art collection and changing exhibitions.

The museum will also have a sculpture garden and courtyard area, thanks to the generosity of WVU genetics professor Joginder Nath, who recently donated a substantial gift to fund the project.