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Release Date: February 21, 2014

UPDATE: The Corcoran, the National Gallery of Art and the George Washington University to Enter Historic Collaboration


The Corcoran Gallery of Art and College of Art + Design
Photo by William Atkins / the George Washington University
© Copyright George Washington University Photography. All rights reserved.

Washington, DC―Works of art will not be sold. Curators from both museums will work in concert to review the esteemed Corcoran collection. The National Gallery of Art will determine what it can bring into its collection and the works will be identified as Corcoran Collection, as in Mellon Collection, Kress Collection, etc.  Of that group, many works will be integrated into the Gallery’s collection on view, some may undergo conservation and study, and some will go into storage. All of the Gallery’s works on paper and photographs are available to the public by appointment when not on view. Some of the objects could go on loan. Signature Corcoran works will rotate in the Legacy Gallery at the Corcoran. Exciting modern and contemporary exhibitions will be organized for Corcoran Contemporary, National Gallery of Art (at the historic Flagg Building on 17th Street NW), including works from both collections, and other sources.  A plan will be developed between both institutions for art not accessioned into the Gallery collections to be distributed to Washington museums.

Release Date: February 19, 2014

The Corcoran, the National Gallery of Art and the George Washington University to Enter Historic Collaboration


L to R: Steven Knapp president of the George Washington University; Peggy Loar, Interim Director and President of the Corcoran Gallery of Art and College of Art + Design; Earl A. Powell III, Director of the National Gallery of Art .
Photo by William Atkins / The George Washington University
© Copyright George Washington University Photography. All rights reserved.

Washington, DC—The Corcoran Gallery of Art and Corcoran College of Art + Design, the National Gallery of Art and the George Washington University (GW) today announced a proposed collaboration that would safeguard and increase access to the Corcoran’s iconic collection as a resource for the public in Washington, DC, maintain the historic Corcoran building as the renovated showplace for an important new program of exhibitions of modern and contemporary art, and strengthen and elevate the Corcoran College and its programs. The collaboration would raise the stature of arts education in the District and expand the benefits, services and interdisciplinary opportunities that both the National Gallery of Art and GW provide to students, museum-goers, and the Washington community.

The three institutions are now entering a discussion period to set the definitive terms of a collaboration, under which the Corcoran College of Art + Design would become a part of the George Washington University. GW would operate the College, maintain its distinct identity, and assume ownership of, and responsibility for, the Corcoran building. The National Gallery of Art would organize and present exhibitions of modern and contemporary art within the building, under the name Corcoran Contemporary, National Gallery of Art. The National Gallery would also maintain a Corcoran Legacy Gallery within the building, displaying a selection of works from the collection that are closely identified with the 17th Street landmark. These and other works of the Corcoran collection would become the responsibility of the National Gallery of Art. Works accessioned by the National Gallery would bear the credit line “Corcoran Collection.”  For works not accessioned by the National Gallery, the Corcoran, in consultation with the National Gallery, will develop a distribution policy and program.

The proposed arrangement among the three prominent Washington, DC, institutions comes as the culmination of a five-year effort by the Corcoran’s Board of Trustees to preserve the 17th Street building as both a museum space and a home for the College and to ensure the future of the Corcoran collection as a treasure accessible to all. Due to the challenges faced by the Corcoran, its Board has sought to achieve these goals by exploring collaborations with other cultural and educational institutions.

“This coalition among our three institutions will open important new possibilities for Washington, DC,” said Peggy Loar, Interim Director and President of the Corcoran Gallery of Art and Corcoran College of Art + Design. “The Corcoran’s great cultural, educational, and civic resources that are at the heart of this city will not only remain in Washington but will become stronger, more exciting and more widely accessible, in a way that stays centered on the Corcoran’s dedication to art and mission of encouraging American genius and opens the galleries free to all. We are deeply grateful for the bold imagination of the boards of all three institutions for working to make this outcome possible.”

"All of us at the National Gallery of Art are excited at the prospect of working with the Corcoran and George Washington University in a unique collaboration that ensures the Corcoran legacy, keeps the core collection in the nation's capital, and offers great opportunities for exhibitions of contemporary art and programming," said Earl A. Powell III, Director, National Gallery of Art.

“The George Washington University will work with the Corcoran to create a world-class arts education program in close affiliation with the National Gallery of Art,” said GW President Steven Knapp. “Such a program, situated in this iconic Washington landmark, will offer unparalleled opportunities for students and scholars, and provide a powerful new focus for the arts in the heart of the nation’s capital.”

The terms stipulate that the Corcoran would continue as a non-profit organization, committed to its original mission: “Dedicated to Art and Encouraging American Genius,” continuing its 145-year history of pursuing and supporting new art and new ideas. The Corcoran would support the National Gallery of Art’s and GW’s stewardship of the Corcoran name and legacy, consult with and provide advice to the National Gallery and GW on programs and interconnected activities, and promote the important role of contemporary art and artists in provoking new thinking and realizing exciting new cultural initiatives.

General Information

The National Gallery of Art and its Sculpture Garden are at all times free to the public. They are located on the National Mall between 3rd and 9th Streets at Constitution Avenue NW, and are open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The Gallery is closed on December 25 and January 1. For information call (202) 737-4215 or visit the Gallery's Web site at Follow the Gallery on Facebook at, Twitter at, and Instagram at

Visitors will be asked to present all carried items for inspection upon entering. Checkrooms are free of charge and located at each entrance. Luggage and other oversized bags must be presented at the 4th Street entrances to the East or West Building to permit x-ray screening and must be deposited in the checkrooms at those entrances. For the safety of visitors and the works of art, nothing may be carried into the Gallery on a visitor's back. Any bag or other items that cannot be carried reasonably and safely in some other manner must be left in the checkrooms. Items larger than 17 by 26 inches cannot be accepted by the Gallery or its checkrooms.
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Candace Smith
The George Washington University
(202) 994-3566
[email protected]