WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 22, 2023) — The Corcoran School of the Arts and Design at the George Washington University (GW), the National Gallery of Art and the Trustees of the Corcoran Gallery of Art announced a reimagined partnership that includes a future home to foster education and creativity at the Corcoran School as well as the establishment of a Corcoran Legacy Gallery and other resources. The partnership, a revision to their 2014 agreement following the closing of the Corcoran Gallery, draws on their respective strengths to amplify Corcoran’s historical legacy and supports students and emerging artists via robust programmatic and educational partnerships, benefiting millions of museumgoers and the next generation of students at GW.
The partners will begin planning the scope and mission for future immersive learning, art making and interdisciplinary research at the Corcoran’s historic Flagg Building this fall. The results will drive exhibitions, performances and curriculum at the school. The partnership is envisioned to include spaces for students, artists, community members, museum professionals and faculty to collaborate as well as opportunities for students to gain hands-on learning under the mentorship of National Gallery experts.
"This historic partnership will not only bring the Corcoran Gallery's phenomenal art and other resources to communities throughout the District, but it will also train the next generation of artists, researchers and industry leaders," said GW President Ellen M. Granberg. "Together, GW and the National Gallery of Art are creating a one-of-a-kind opportunity for GW students and faculty to engage in interdisciplinary research, education and creativity alongside the nation's foremost experts."
The National Gallery, which welcomes nearly 4 million visitors annually, will present exhibitions and installations highlighting works from the Corcoran Gallery on its Mall campus, and produce a book and digital offerings that extend the reach of the Corcoran legacy. It has established a Corcoran Legacy Gallery in the American galleries on the main floor of its West Building, where iconic works from the collection will rotate. The initial installation features works including Frederic Edwin Church’s “Niagara” (1857) and Albert Bierstadt’s “Mount Corcoran” (c. 1876-1877).
“The addition of more than 9,000 works from the Corcoran’s collection to the National Gallery of Art’s collection was a transformative moment in our history. Some of the most famous works by Cecilia Beaux, Albert Bierstadt, Frederic Edwin Church, Thomas Cole, Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent and many others greatly strengthened our holdings of pre-1945 American art. Works by Lee Bontecou, Sam Gilliam, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Rozeal, Joan Snyder, Alma Thomas and many more have enabled us to tell a fuller, more diverse story of later 20th- and early 21st-century art for our audiences,” said Kaywin Feldman, director of the National Gallery of Art.
“With this newly reconceptualized partnership with our colleagues at GW, we are eager to expand on the work we have already done to sustain and share the important legacy of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, which was such a critical voice in the landscape of American art for nearly 150 years, and to fulfilling the spirit of the original 2014 agreement,” Feldman added.
“The Corcoran has a long and distinguished role in the Washington art community. We are excited that the new plans for Corcoran exhibitions and programs at the National Gallery and the reimagined relationship between National Gallery and GW’s Corcoran School of the Arts and Design will bring even greater attention and prestige to that legacy. Millions of museum visitors and thousands of GW students will benefit as we draw on the combined strength of our esteemed institutions,” said Harry Hopper, chairman of the trustees of the Corcoran Gallery of Art.
“As we launch our first major, multi-faceted programmatic partnership with a university, we are brimming with excitement about the potential that joining forces with the Corcoran School at GW presents to bring more emerging artists into the National Gallery, to more widely engage our local D.C. community, and to foster a rich conversation among creative thinkers within our respective institutions and from around the world,” said Kate Haw, executive officer for collections, exhibitions and programs, National Gallery of Art.
“It has been invigorating working with the National Gallery team to re-envision how we create a vibrant, interdisciplinary collaboration that will support challenging, community-facing art, performance and research,” said Lauren Onkey, director, Corcoran School, and professor of music at GW. “The expertise and resources of the National Gallery will provide essential support to our students and faculty in creating and sustaining these efforts.”
Two upcoming installations at the National Gallery of Art prominently feature works from the Corcoran Collection. “American Places: Featuring Selections from the Corcoran Collection” (Nov. 3, 2023–March 2024) will showcase nearly 50 paintings and works on paper that consider the diverse ways artists have understood place in America, defined by geography, community or more abstractly. “Gordon Parks: Camera Portraits” (July 2024–January 2025) will present approximately 30 portraits made by Parks throughout his career. On Nov. 5, 2023, the first annual Corcoran Lecture will be delivered in celebration of a new exhibition, “Dorothea Lange: Seeing People,” presented by Philip Brookman, a National Gallery consulting curator and former chief curator at the Corcoran Gallery of Art (1993-2014).
Educational programming between the two institutions kicks off this fall with an inaugural 24 events. Students will experience the behind-the-scenes operations of conservation labs, interpretation audio and print rooms and present work at National Gallery Nights, a popular after-hours program.
Since GW acquired the Corcoran School and Flagg Building in 2014, the Corcoran has hosted over 50 exhibitions and over 500 individual performances, lectures and other live and virtual events, reaching 50,000 students and visitors across 20 locations on campus. Recent shows include “NEXT Festival 2023” and “Framing Fatherhood.”
Restoration work has already begun to enhance the Flagg Building in preparation for programming, including expanded space for classrooms, studios and exhibitions.
About the Corcoran School of the Arts & Design
The Corcoran School of the Arts and Design at the George Washington University is dedicated to educating the next generation of cultural leaders. Part of the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, the school functions as an incubator for artists, designers and scholars, who learn from internationally renowned faculty at the intersection of creativity and social innovation. The school has seven program areas that offer 22 undergraduate and graduate degrees in art history, design, interior architecture, museum studies, music, fine arts, theatre and dance. Its home in Washington, D.C., means students work and study at some of the city’s most prestigious companies, galleries and museums.
About the National Gallery of Art
The National Gallery of Art welcomes all people to explore art, creativity, and our shared humanity. Nearly four million people come through our doors each year—with millions more online—making us one of the most visited art museums in the world. Our renowned collection includes nearly 160,000 works of art, from the ancient world to today. Admission to the West and East Buildings, Sculpture Garden, special exhibitions, and public programs is always free.