As a result of disappearing endowments, mushrooming debt and expensive building renovations, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington DC has announced that it may be forced to close its doors and partner with the National Gallery of Art and the George Washington University. The Corcoran Gallery of Art is the oldest private art museum in the nation. The boards of all three institutions must approve the plan before this proposal moves forward.
The proposal requires the Corcoran to relinquish control of its art collection of ca. 17,000 art works to the National Gallery while it’s art college — the Corcoran College of Art + Design — would continue to operate but under the control of George Washington University. The University will also assume ownership of the building, including the $100 million in needed renovations. The National Gallery would exhibit the Corcoran modern and contemporary art collection under the label Corcoran Contemporary, National Gallery of Art; all artworks added to the National Gallery will retain their identification from the Corcoran Collection. Artwork not consistent with those in collection in the National Gallery will be distributed to other American museums.
The plan is scheduled for a vote by the boards in April.
Read more about the “Corcoran’s Future Plans,” including community letters and press releases here.
The Corcoran is not alone in its financial crisis. The Board of Trustees for the Everson Museum in Syracuse, New York, also recently announced its intention to establish a special task for to develop and implement a plan to get the museum out of the $500,000 deficit projected for 2014. A first step in the process was the discontinuation of special, traveling exhibitions.