STC Endorses Wayne Reynolds

Save The Corcoran Endorses Wayne Reynolds, former Chairman of Ford’s Theatre, as New Board Chair of the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the Corcoran College of Art + Design – Philanthropist brings ideas, quality, resources, and a credible track record in reinventing historic institutions.

Wayne Reynolds has a vision for a future Corcoran. His track record at Ford’s Theatre and other endeavors indicates that he can take on a struggling institution and create something thriving.  He believes in the Corcoran and has a desperately-needed vision to transform it into an innovative creative center dedicated to art and arts education.

Mr. Reynolds’ tenure as Chairman of Ford’s Theatre Society Board of Trustees has been widely acclaimed. He advocated for expanding the Society’s educational programming and transforming Ford’s Theatre into a center for learning dedicated to the life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln. His vision resulted in the development of the Center for Education and Leadership and a campaign that turned Tenth Street into a campus where Lincoln’s legacy lives. He also established a $50 million endowment to support the institution into the future, and a thriving board of trustees.

Currently, Mr. Reynolds serves as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the American Academy of Achievement, one of America’s foremost motivation and recognition groups. Under his leadership, the Academy has expanded to include the Museum of the American Dream, Achievement Television Network and the annual International Achievement Summit, which brings together leaders and scholars to share their experience in diverse disciplines with graduate students from across the globe. More than 10,000 students have participated in the Academy’s Salute to Excellence program, and many have received scholarships through the Academy’s sponsorship.

Renewing a Sense of Urgency For the Corcoran’s Future

Our endorsement of Mr. Reynolds comes amidst a concerning period of perceived inaction by the Corcoran Board. In December 2012, after deliberation over a “futures process,” the Board announced it would not sell the historic Earnest Flagg building that houses the Corcoran. However, leaders have still failed to announce any plan for the future.

Corcoran leaders began meeting with Mr. Reynolds in December. Despite his clear qualifications and the Corcoran’s own promises for greater transparency in sharing a new course of action, leaders have once again stalled the process by cancelling its scheduled March board meeting.

“The time to act is now,” according to Terrance Shanahan, Corcoran member, STC leader, and local attorney. “We can no longer sit on the sidelines and let the current board meet in committees and subcommittees while the coffers drain and potential supporters dwindle. The Corcoran’s future starts now. And it starts with Wayne.”

Preserving a Legacy During a Time of Change

Recognizing that the Corcoran will and must transform under Mr. Reynold’s leadership, STC issues the following aspirations for any new leader of the institution:

•    The institution must continue to adhere to its fundamental values and retain its core identity as it moves forward, including a dedication to art and arts education.
•    As engraved on its building and central to its historic mission, the Corcoran’s educational initiatives and programs must be built around art.
•    A brain trust of experts–from within and without the institution–must be consulted before moving ahead with substantive change.
•    The Corcoran must maintain its fundamental commitments to educating students in a teacher-driven environment, educating the public through world-class museum exhibitions and public programs, and preserving the core of its historic collection of art.

It’s time for the Corcoran to say goodbye to the mistakes of the past and hello to the opportunities plentiful before it. It cannot do this by making irrevocable decisions that jeopardize its independence, or by waiting any longer for that future to begin. It should not decide to sell buildings or partner with local universities simply out of desperation. It must instead get healthy and choose strategic partners based on a bold mission and vision. To do otherwise would only represent further failures of leadership. Unfortunately, the current board has not yet articulated either. It’s time to move forward with the Corcoran’s future.

For further reading, please view David Montgomery’s article in the Washington Post: “Wayne Reynolds, former Ford’s Theatre chair, pitches to save Corcoran Gallery”

For questions or comments, please contact: Tom Murphy (202) 368-8571
or email:

About Save the Corcoran

Save the Corcoran is a non-profit organization comprised of a broad community of trustees, 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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