3 artists win Boston ICA's James and Audrey Foster Prize

From left: Venetia Dale, Cicely Carew, Yu-Wen Wu. (Courtesy the artists and ICA; Carew's portrait by Tyler Noctyrn)
From left: Venetia Dale, Cicely Carew, Yu-Wen Wu. (Courtesy the artists and ICA; Carew's portrait by Tyler Noctyrn)

Since 1999, the Institute of Contemporary Art has recognized exceptional Boston-area artists with the James and Audrey Foster Prize. This year's recipients are Cicely Carew, Venetia Dale, and Yu-Wen Wu.

Their cross-genre works — said to be grounded in themes of time and transformation — will be on display in an exhibition that opens on August 24th.

“Jim and Audrey Foster’s support of the exhibition and prize program have made it possible for the ICA to highlight some of the most exciting new art being made in Boston today, and we are ever thankful,” said museum director Jill Medvedow. “This cross-generational trio of artists brings a spectrum of perspectives to this year’s exhibition, and we look forward to sharing their vision with all our audiences.”

According to the announcement, each of the artists will explore narratives about social, political, ecological and personal transitions. All three have all be actively engaged in the Massachusetts arts scene for many years.

Cambridge resident Cicely Carew is known for sculptural works that channel radical joy and liberation. Her sculptures are layered with paint, mesh and shapes and explore the parallels between play and invention.

Carew has collaborated on exhibitions and installations with local organizations, including Now + There, the Fitchburg Art Museum and Northeastern University. The award-winning artist has degrees from Massachusetts College of Art and Design as well as Lesley University. Outside of her artistic practice, Carew is also a wellness coach and educator.


Taiwan-born Yu-Wen Wu's drawings, sculptures and community video installations have illuminated the immigrant experience. Her recently exhibited outdoor public artwork, "Lantern Stories," was commissioned by the Greenway Conservancy and displayed at Chin Park in Boston's Chinatown. It debuted in 2020 and was invited back in 2022 after earning critical acclaim.

Wu's 38-foot-long sculptural drawing, "Terrain," was displayed at Harvard Business School's Chao Center. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and has been acquired by institutions, including the MIT List Visual Arts Center, Tufts University Art Galleries and the Davis Museum at Wellesley College.


Venetia Dale is a sculptor, educator, metalsmith and mother. She manipulates materials, including pewter, found objects and fiber, to express ideas about intimacy, growth, love and domestic life. Her choice of materials embody the often-undervalued stewards who keep things clean, safe and care for others.

Dale was the Polly Starr Thayer Visiting Artist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 2019 and a resident artist at the Kohler Factory in 2013. She will be participating in an upcoming group show at The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, which also holds her work in its permanent collection.


The 2023 "James and Audrey Foster Prize" Exhibition is on view from Thursday, Aug. 24 through Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2024.


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Andrea Shea Correspondent, Arts & Culture
Andrea Shea is a correspondent for WBUR's arts & culture reporter.



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