Message From the Director

May 16, 2016

Dear Corcoran Community,

As the academic year closes and you embark on your summer, I wanted to take a moment to share with you a few updates:

Visiting professor: I’m excited to announce that artist Mel Chin will join the Corcoran next fall as the inaugural William Wilson Corcoran Visiting Professor of Community Engagement. Mel brings more than 40 years of experience as an artist whose work provokes greater social awareness and responsibility.

Throughout his prolific career Mel has shown in solo exhibitions at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and the Menil Collection in Houston. He has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Rockefeller Foundation, and his work has been documented in PBS’ Art of the 21st Century.

Mel Chin is a passionate creative practitioner who is dedicated to addressing some of the most pressing issues of our times and I believe he will be an invaluable resource to you during his time here. While at the Corcoran, Mel will teach classes and collaborate with students and faculty to design and execute a project that engages the D.C. community.

Renovations: As you know the Flagg Building is closed this summer, starting Monday, May 16, in order to address critical issues on every floor of the building. These much-needed updates will help improve the Corcoran’s classrooms, exhibition space and infrastructure, including an expansion of the lighting studio, redesigned painting studios and upgrades to our ceramics workspaces. You can read more about the building updates as well as plans for expanded academic programming  here .

Faculty: I know many of you have expressed concern about the status of faculty contracts, and I wanted to let you know that all decisions have been made and all full-time faculty have been notified of their contract status. Those faculty whose contracts were not renewed are receiving a one-year severance package from the Corcoran School, are being recommended for emeritus status with the university, and may return to teach specific courses in the future. The review process was undertaken with a great deal of care, and I considered several factors, including the school's current and projected enrollment, our operating budget, the merging of the Corcoran's programs with those current arts programs at GW, as well as feedback from the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. 

We are in the process of updating registration for the fall, and our advising team and returning faculty will do whatever we can to ensure students receive any assistance they may need.

Scholarships: I want to emphasize that I am committed to your educational experience and ensuring that you receive the mentorship that you need to purse your creative endeavors. Along those lines, I’m excited to share that the Corcoran Women’s Committee announced that it will fund an Endowed Graduate Excellence Fellowship to provide support for up to three graduate students a year as they complete their studies in Corcoran masters degree programs. The fund will not only allow students to complete their advanced studies, but it will also recognize those who have demonstrated academic excellence and a commitment to their communities.

In the short time I have been director, I have been impressed with the students, faculty and staff of the Corcoran and look forward to seeing what we can build together in the months and years ahead.  We will welcome a robust Class of 2020 this fall with a series of social events, which I hope you will participate in. Please stay tuned for more details. I look forward to seeing you all in August.

All the best, 

Sanjit Sethi

Director, Corcoran School of the Arts and Design

The George Washington University