Community Engagement

Our students and faculty are civically engaged artists who aim to positively impact the world around them. To support this work and to build partnerships with local community organizations in the D.C. area, at the Corcoran School we have a variety of ongoing programs and initiatives, including the William Wilson Corcoran Visiting Professors of Community Engagement. This program brings in individuals who are committed to the role creativity plays in addressing complex issues, often through socially and publicly engaged art practices.

William Wilson Corcoran Visiting Professors of Community Engagement

The William Wilson Corcoran Visiting Professor position builds on the school’s robust community engagement legacy and enables the Corcoran to drive social change at the local level. By engaging directly with the D.C. community, this position enhances the school’s ability to listen and respond to the city’s broader needs. This visiting professorship allows the Corcoran to bring exciting individuals that are committed to the role creativity plays in addressing complex issues. Funding for the position comes from a grant administered by the Trustees of the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Successive individuals selected for this role will be chosen from the expanding field of socially and publicly engaged art practice.

2022-2023: Aruna D’Souza

This year's William Wilson Corcoran Visiting Professor of Community Engagement will be Aruna D’Souza. D'Souza writes about modern and contemporary art; intersectional feminisms and other forms of politics; and how museums shape our views of each other and the world. Her writing has appeared in, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal,, Art News, Garage, Bookforum, Frieze, Momus, Art in America, and Art Practical, among other places. Her book, Whitewalling: Art, Race, and Protest in 3 Acts, was named one of the best art books of 2018 by the New York Times. She is the recipient of the 2021 Rabkin Prize for art journalism and a 2019 Andy Warhol Foundation Art Writers Grant. She is currently the Edmond J. Safra Professor at The Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art.

2022-2022: Paul Farber

Paul M. Farber is Director and Co-Founder of Monument Lab. He also currently serves as Senior Research Scholar at the Center for Public Art & Space at the University of Pennsylvania. Farber’s Monument Lab is the inaugural grantee of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s “Monuments Project,” a major initiative to “transform the way our country’s histories are told in public spaces,” including Monument Lab’s National Monument Audit and the opening of Re:Generation field offices throughout the country.

Watch Paul Farber's talk at the Corcoran about monuments, public memory, and civic imagination from October 2021. Dr. Farber shared insights from the recent Monument Lab National Monument Audit, produced in partnership with the Mellon Foundation, a groundbreaking study of this country's monument landscape.

2020-2021: Paul Rucker

Paul Rucker is a visual artist, composer, and musician who often combines media, integrating live performance, sound, original compositions and visual art. This fall he will be teaching Approaches to Art, Social Practice, and Strategies of Engagement. In this course students will learn techniques and approaches to art, in particular art that addresses a social issue that engages the public outside of traditional art spaces.

2019-2020: Molly Sturges

Molly Jane Udaya Sturges (composer/artistic director/performer/educator/facilitator) has worked with individuals, organizations, and communities around the globe for over twenty-five years focusing on creativity, healing, contemplative practice and social transformation.

2018-2019: Cristal Chanelle Truscott

Cristal Chanelle Truscott is a playwright, scholar, educator, dialogue facilitator and founder of Progress Theatre (PT). As a playwright, Cristal blends academic and pop culture conversations to examine the concerns and struggles of our times. In addition to her PT plays PEACHES and ‘MEMBUH, her newest piece, The Burnin’, is currently touring as part of PT’s repertoire.

2017-2018: Joseph Kunkel

Joseph Kunkel is a community designer and educator working on building capacity in Indian Country. His professional career has centered on community-based design, ranging from material research and fabrication to community-based planning, design and development. His core design practices include culturally appropriate design, community engagement, healthy housing design, design thinking, capacity building, urban mapping and way-finding design, native-to-place architecture, master and comprehensive planning. He is also a Northern Cheyenne Tribal Member.

2016-2017: Mel Chin

Mel Chin was born in Houston, Texas in 1951. Chin’s art, which is both analytical and poetic, evades easy classification. He is known for the broad range of approaches in his art, including works that require multi-disciplinary, collaborative teamwork and works that conjoin cross-cultural aesthetics with complex ideas. Chin also insinuates art into unlikely places, including destroyed homes, toxic landfills, and even popular television, investigating how art can provoke greater social awareness and responsibility.