University of Maryland Revives Corcoran Rescue Offer

The Corcoran Gallery.
Photo: Art Around, Laura Padgett/Flickr.

Testifying in Washington, DC’s Superior Court on July 31, University of Maryland president Wallace D. Loh revived his school’s proposal to rescue the Corcoran Gallery of Art and School of Art and Design if the current plan to divide the institution between the National Gallery of Art and George Washington University (see artnet News report) fall through, the Washington Post reports. The current plan to parcel off the Corcoran, with GWU taking over the art school and the NGA taking over the collection, would require breaking the Corcoran’s original 1869 charter (see artnet News report).

Loh, who was subpoenaed by the attorneys for the Save the Corcoran group, said that his plan could have a proposal to balance the Corcoran’s budget ready within two months, and reiterated that his school’s proposal would maintain the independence of the museum and art school, thus not requiring it to alter its charter.

“Philosophically, I’m absolutely committed to the fundamental principles laid out in terms of the independence of the Corcoran,” Loh said, “keeping the gallery together with the [Corcoran College of Art and Design], turning it around financially and serving the larger community.”

The Corcoran originally agreed to explore a possible University of Maryland merger in April of 2013 (see Washington Post report), but then turned down the proposal in February of 2014 in favor of the NGA-GWU scheme (see Washington City Paper report). Should the court reject the current charter-busting plan, Loh said he’d be willing to reconsider the $46 million proposal put forth by his university.

The other backup plan the Corcoran may explore is that put forth by philanthropist Wayne Reynolds in court earlier this week (see artnet News report).

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