LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — Under a proposal announced by George Washington University Wednesday, the Corcoran College of Art + Design would become a part of GWU, and The National Gallery of Art would take over the financially-strapped Corcoran Gallery.

The news comes nearly two years after the Corcoran, D.C.’s oldest private art museum, first announced a potential relocation in 2012. At that time, officials said the museum was feeling “the effects of a difficult economy” and needed to recognize some “financial and physical realities.”

If the new terms are agreed upon by all three parties, GWU would operate the College and maintain responsibility for the 17th Street Corcoran building.

Meanwhile, according to a news release, 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, and maintain a Corcoran Legacy Gallery.

“The proposed arrangement… 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,” the release states.

Peggy Loar, Interim Director and President of the Corcoran Gallery of Art and Corcoran College of Art + Design, says the changes will make the institution “stronger, more exciting and more widely accessible.”

GWU President Steven Knapp says the merger will result in a “world-class arts education program” and National Gallery of Art Director Earl A. Powell III says it “offers great opportunities for exhibitions of contemporary art and programming.”


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