students in performance on stage; About


The Corcoran School of the Arts and Design does not fit one mold or one definition. We are instead a porous community of civically engaged artists and practitioners, aiming to impact the world outside of our walls. Positioned as an incubator for artists within a prominent research university, our students are poised to not just join the creative field of their choice, but to define it for themselves as they become multilingual in practice and research.


We embody and exemplify the Columbian College’s Engaged Liberal Arts credo, which strives to link disparate fields and better prepare our graduates for rich, multidimensional careers in the evolving world we live in. The challenges society faces are diverse, requiring different modes of thought, and we prepare our students by encouraging inquiry and collaboration. While we at the Corcoran School can prepare specialists, we pride ourselves on the diversity of our practice and view ourselves as a place of possibility for students instead of teaching art in a singular way.




Who We Are; two students working on a textile; students looking at exhibit


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Our history dates back to 1869 when William Wilson Corcoran founded the Corcoran Gallery of Art and has only grown over the decades. We’ve moved into the historic Flagg Building, expanded collections, collaborated with diverse faculty, and become a part of GW and its Columbian College, all while teaching and supporting talented students, the key drivers of our success.  




Student working on green exhibit



What We Do


Our Expertise

Corcoran students are encouraged to find their own direction within the diverse expertise included in the school. From performance-based to studio arts and historical to contemporary practices, students will learn a variety of strategies for creativity in our classrooms, through our exhibits, in our city and with our faculty.

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Our Faculty

As practicing artists, faculty members in the Corcoran School provide firsthand experience to the students they work with. With knowledge on how creative fields function in the real world, they can provide key insights into success, while also pushing students to expand the limits of their work. Leading by example, the faculty also collaborate with peers across the university and the city to enhance their art and the community that takes it in.

Meet our Faculty

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Student performing on stage