Arts Desk

Corcoran to Stay Put…But How?

The Corcoran Gallery of Art and Corcoran College of Art + Design will not sell its longtime and historic Beaux-Arts home near the White House, the Washington Post reports. The museum and school, which began mulling a plan to sell its building and move elsewhere in June (as City Paper first reported), is staying put.

But while that question has been put to rest, plenty of others are still afoot—and they need answers. Among them: What "opportunities," alluded to in the Post story, allowed the Corcoran to stay? Corcoran president Fred Bollerer and Board Chairman Harry F. Hopper III did not tell the Post how or whether the Corcoran has found a path to financial stability. If it hasn't stumbled upon a surge of new money, what factors convinced them that they could remain in the building? What did the chain of decisions look like after they sought a valuation on the Corc's historical landmark home—another figure leaders did not reveal?

The Corcoran had announced previously, in a Friday news dump, that the museum was in talks with the National Gallery of Art, and the college was in talks with George Washington University—or something like that. So as Corcoran leaders were considering options that would keep some or all the Corcoran intact, it perhaps comes as no surprise that they set aside their plans to move. But it's unclear where those talks stand: Just after Thanksgiving, National Gallery of Art Chief Press Officer Deborah Ziska said no more talks are scheduled. A day later, George Washington University's Executive Director of Media Relations Candace Smith said discussions were ongoing, but she did not elaborate. She told me pretty much the same today.

Admirers who hoped to preserve the Corcoran at its present location can breathe easy. But fans who want to save the Corcoran may still have more questions.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

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