Statement from Save The Corcoran in Response to Recent Corcoran Announcements

Save the Corcoran, is a community coalition of Corcoran alumni, current and former faculty, members, arts leaders, artists, educators, and business professionals who care deeply about the fate of the institution.  Save the Corcoran issues the following statement today:

Save the Corcoran remains concerned about the leadership’s lack of transparency. We urge the Board of Trustees and administration to embrace the community, including the contingent of Corcoran supporters who have challenged decisions and expressed an interest in collaborating on a path moving forward.

As leadership continues to release conflicting messages and inconsistent claims, Save the Corcoran fears that the Board of Trustees is jeopardizing the institution’s credibility, public trust and long-term financial picture.

Specifically, last week’s Washington Post article has alarmed the community for several reasons:

The timeline in this article indicates that not only did the Corcoran initiate site visits nearly a year before publicly disclosing a plan to explore the sale of the Corcoran’s historic home, but that staff did so without formal Board approval.

Although the Board of Trustees voted to approve assessing the value of the building in June of 2012, according to the article’s timeline, Board Chairman Harry Hopper and other senior Corcoran staff had already begun discussions with the City of Alexandria as early as Summer of 2011.

Considering a move outside of the District violates the Corcoran’s founding charter.  Save the Corcoran is concerned that the time and energy spent on seeking incentives in Alexandria, and other places, over the past 16 months has detracted from developing a focused strategy and fundraising plan for the future.

Furthermore, Save the Corcoran presents several follow-up questions to Corcoran leadership in response to its recent announcement that the Corcoran Gallery of Art and College of Art + Design are in conversation with both the National Gallery of Art and George Washington University.

  1. What is the nature of these discussions?
  2. Are you considering selling the building to the National Gallery? If so, what concern has been given to the collection?
  3. Is the Board exploring a merger with George Washington University? If so, how does this affect student and alumni degrees? And the collection?

The ongoing lack of strategy and a solid plan has created a renewed urgency in the community to know what is unfolding behind closed doors. To this end, Save the Corcoran is working with a team of fundraising experts and an influential Advisory Council, calling for Corcoran leadership to be receptive to and embrace their help.

Save the Corcoran asks Corcoran leadership to take the sale of the building off of the table and work with the community to reconstitute leadership with a progressive, innovative vision that will leverage the resources the institution needs for long-term health and sustainabilty.


About Save the Corcoran

Save the Corcoran is a non-profit organization comprised of a broad community of donors, artists, students, faculty, alumni and supporters, united to oppose the sale of the National Historic Landmark Building that has housed the Corcoran since 1897.  Proposing a more open and honest dialogue about the institution’s future, the group is rooted in a sincere effort to collaborate with Corcoran leadership on a solution that will address the gallery’s needs while maintaining its historic home and identity.


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