Community; students working on a clay project

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.


Connects; students rolling clay



Library of Congress

Archiving Local History with the Library of Congress
The Corcoran's new Interaction Design program trains students to shape new technologies and design for problems that matter. This fall, students in the Interaction Design program are partnering up with the American Folklife Center — a research center established by the Library of Congress. Students have been granted access to digitized metadata, in which they will focus on the issues of usability and accessibility to the public. They will explore the question: How can the Library of Congress continue to provide information but keep up with the trends of technology?


Salon Doré Solutions on Equity Series

Located in the heart of Washington, D.C., and one block away from the White House, GW’s Corcoran School of the Arts & Design actively seeks to engage and solve the pressing challenges our community faces. Embodying that mission, the annual Salon Doré series gathers innovative thinkers from diverse fields and outside organizations to engage in important conversations needed to bring about impactful social change.


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.

2022-2022: 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.

Joseph Kunkel talking through exhibit

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.


Mel Chin Talking to students

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.