Corcoran Gallery and Corcoran College partner with GWU for financial help

The Corcoran Gallery of Art and the Corcoran College of Art + Design announced Feb. 19 that they would be entering a historic collaboration with George Washington University.

While this collaboration would mean that the Corcoran Gallery and Corcoran College would no longer be independent institutions, it would increase the access of the Corcoran’s collection to the general public, while also maintaining the historic building and increasing the scope of Corcoran College and its programs.

As Interim Director and President of the Corcoran Gallery of Art and Corcoran College of Art + Design, Peggy Loar said, “This coalition among our three institutions will open important new possibilities for Washington, D.C.” The Gallery would be open and free for all museum-goers and help support the “Corcoran’s dedication to art and mission of encouraging American genius.”

It seems that the real reason the Corcoran Gallery and Corcoran College decided to enter into a partnership with GW is financially motivated. “With time and operating money dwindling, gallery leaders had a critical shift of thought about the range of solutions they would consider. Until then, they had insisted that the gallery and the college remain together,” according to the Washington Post. But, when they realized they were out of time, they entered a partnership they knew could help strengthen the Corcoran Gallery and Corcoran College and their reach into the community.

“It sounds like kind of the best thing you can do in a desperate situation. It’s good for the art,” Former Director of the Corcoran David Levy said to the Post. “It will be better cared for and well displayed. But it’s the end of a very long and kind of wonderful era.”

Nonetheless, the major transition will be bittersweet. While GW has promised to pay for and support the renovation of the Corcoran Gallery in full, which could amount to about $130 million, many people will be negatively affected by the new partnership. In particular, the fate of the Corcoran Gallery and Corcoran College’s employees is uncertain. GW promised to assume the contracts of the College’s faculty for one year, but administrative departments and other employees “might not survive the transition.”

While the GW and Corcoran partnership might save the the Corcoran Gallery and College from its close, Corcoran supporters and advocates are sad that it had to be bought out this way. Art simply isn’t the the same when its presentation is financially motivated. And, even while the galleries will remain free of charge for visitors, frequent gallery-goers and advocates of the Corcoran know that the museum simply won’t be the same gallery they know and love.

Photo: via Karen Bleir via Tumblr

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