First In-Person Show in Two Years: GW Corcoran School of the Arts and Design Reopens to the Public with the NEXT Generation of Artists

April 26, 2022

Nateé Himmons, “Humanity.”

Nateé Himmons, “Humanity.” Dancers: Megan Miller, Alexia Papatsa, Zoe Warren (Photo by Sabrina Godin, Photojournalism BFA '22)

WASHINGTON (April 20, 2022) — Emerging artists at the George Washington University’s Corcoran School of the Arts and Design will present work at the first, in-person major student show in two years. NEXT, an annual showcase, features graduating students’ projects in studio arts, dance, digital media, photography, sculpture and other mediums.


NEXT will feature more than 70 physical exhibits, 30 performances and presentations, and over 100 virtual showcases by undergraduate and graduate students in fine arts, design, theater, dance, music, interior architecture, museum studies, art history and more. 


The in-person exhibition will be open to the public from April 21 - May 15, 2022, along with events and performances. Opening night on April 28 includes a series of durational performances, site-specific dances and interactive experiences.


“NEXT signifies the achievements of graduating students throughout their time at the Corcoran–the culmination of years’ worth of work, growth, and discovery,” Lauren Onkey, director of the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design, said. “Behind each student’s work is a desire to contribute to the pressing issues of our larger community.”



This year’s work reflects the challenges of the students' lives – often intimate and introspective. It reflects students’ process and experimentation cultivated within an insular environment over the last two years because of the pandemic. While NEXT is a show for the public, it is also an active learning environment for students, requiring on-site, in-the-moment learning.


Highlights include:


“Desiderium” by Wes Holloway, Social Practice MFA
After being partially paralyzed in an accident, Wes Holloway focused his work on body images that challenge society’s expectations. His thesis, a series of paintings and interactive work, explores the presentation of disability, LGBTQ+ cultural preservation/celebration, community living, and access to spaces/services. It is his “emancipatory practice” and “existence as resistance.”


“Watered” by Candace Dane Chambers, New Media Photojournalism MA
“Watered” is a series of photographs documenting Black female farmers, offering a window into the experience of women striving to reclaim food sovereignty and return to the land. This work takes a focused look across Maryland and Virginia, highlighting small local farmers cultivating new models for success.



“They Caught Us, but We Will Never Vanish” by Christina Beard, Fine Arts MFA
Embodying the experiences of living under a dictatorship in Chile, Beard recounts the hardships of living through the 1973 coup d’état and its aftermath. In addition, as an immigrant in the United States, Beard encountered a new set of struggles. This work is a durational performance of rope sewing and human form sculpture.


“The Missing Dimension” by Gabrielle Rhoads, Photojournalism BFA
After Rhoads’ fifth eye surgery, she began to understand that her experience was uncommon: she had misunderstood the severity of her visual impairment, strabismus. By interrogating the effects of her impairment and visually communicating how it affects her perception of the world and myself, she intends to create an approximation of her lived experience. 


“From There, To Here” by Sydney Walsh, Photojournalism BFA
Sydney’s photographs explore interracial and intercultural adoptees who often grow up far from their birth culture. She writes, “The adoptee experience is often overly romanticized and seen as giving a child a new life. In reality, it’s a new life that’s completely disconnected from our cultural and genetic history, leaving it up to us to create our own foundation of an identity."


“EGO/DEATH” by Natalie Parks, Theatre BA
Video on loop. As an actor, director, and playwright, Parks tell stories that engage authentically with queerness and disability. “My late autism diagnosis, and the years of unnamed struggle before, have required me to use the artistic space between words to communicate my experiences to the world,” she writes.


The Corcoran School of the Arts and Design at GW is dedicated to educating the next generation of cultural leaders. Offering over 20 undergraduate and graduate degrees, with 500 students, the Corcoran comprises creative arts, humanities, professional art and museum-world curricula within the liberal arts environment of the Columbian College at GW.


Students at the Corcoran have exhibited their thesis work for more than 30 years. In 2011, the exhibition came to be known as NEXT in a nod to the public seeing “what’s next” in contemporary art and scholarship.


This is a time of renewed creativity and growth for the Corcoran, with a new director, Lauren Onkey, who began her tenure in July 2021. Dr. Onkey most recently served as the Senior Director at NPR Music, where she led a team in creating innovative cross-platform music journalism, including Tiny Desk Concerts. She has shown a lifelong commitment to the arts as an educator, museum professional, presenter and producer.



Admission for NEXT is free and open to the public from April 21 - May 15, 2022 at 500 17th St. NW. Hours and events are at A companion virtual showcase goes live in mid-May at Visitors can RSVP for Opening night on April 28, 2022 at