NEXT 2018 Press Release

Homeless Artwork by Case Baumgarten
April 20, 2018


Amelia Thompson: [email protected], 202-994-6460

Maralee Csellar: [email protected], 202-994-6460

GW Corcoran School of the Arts and Design Celebrates the
‘NEXT’ Generation of Artists at Annual Exhibition

Student Projects Represent a Culmination of Learning Experiences and Glimpses of Future Potential


WASHINGTON (April 18, 2018)— “NEXT,” the 2018 thesis exhibition at the George Washington University’s Corcoran School of the Arts and Design, will explore a variety of themes and topics that affect us all. Budding artists will present projects focused on race, LGBTQ culture and the global problem of homelessness. One student will examine the lives of residents at an armed forces retirement facility through photography while others utilize technology in innovative ways to present their artistic endeavors. The Corcoran will celebrate “NEXT” with an opening reception on April 26; the exhibition will be on display through May 20.

The annual “NEXT” showcase displays the talents of graduating students who have spent their time at the Corcoran honing their skills, and provides a unique opportunity for employers and art enthusiasts to observe the work of up-and-coming contemporary artists. These projects take a myriad of forms, from theatrical productions, written research and presentations to installations, photography and musical concerts. Design prototypes, architectural models, paintings and sculptures will also be on display.

“The Corcoran School of the Arts and Design is in a constant state of reinvention and we are always striving to extract the best from our students to prepare them for a lifetime of creative engagement and cultural leadership,” Sanjit Sethi, director of the school, said. “In the years ahead, the Corcoran will continue its commitment of providing a platform to celebrate making, to push intellectual boundaries and to shape the future of culture.”

The Class of 2018 will exhibit their projects in the atrium and various galleries throughout the historic and newly renovated Flagg Building. 


“NEXT” will feature the work of 52 of the Corcoran’s students pursuing Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in digital media design, fine art, graphic design, photography, theater, dance and photojournalism; 29 Master of Arts students studying art education, exhibition design and new media photojournalism are represented in diverse forms of expression. A few highlights from this year’s inventive collection of works include:

“Homeless” by fine art student Case Baumgarten, BFA
Mr. Baumgarten’s project aims to relay some of the recurring struggles of specific homeless individuals whom he has encountered. Mr. Baumgarten explains he is not trying to solve the global problem of homelessness but would like to draw attention to the issue through creativity; specifically, with a 14-foot sculpture of a homeless man which he hand-carved out of spray insulation foam.

“Fifty Cents a Paycheck” by photojournalism student Eric Dietrich, BFA
Mr. Dietrich’s project stems from a 2001 paystub deduction he noticed while serving in the arine Corps as an infantryman. The deduction listed as “AFRH” was explained as being for the Armed Forces Retirement Home. He reconnected with the AFRH in 2017 when he began to wonder what life would look like at the residence. Mr. Dietrich documented the daily lives of the nearly 400 residents of the Washington facility in a black-and-white photo series.

“Home,” a digital graphic novel by fine art student Quincy Mata, BFA

Mr. Mata’s project is a full-color digital graphic novel chronicling the stories of The Pride Guys, LGBTQ superheroes, featuring a cast of culturally and racially diverse characters. This issue focuses on a group of friends who come together on the night of the Pride Fashion Drag show, celebrating the accomplishments of their close friend, a drag queen fashion designer. This work is inspired by the tragic Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting in 2016.

“Go!” a live dance performance by dance student Linda Ryan, B.A.

For her project, Ms. Ryan created a dance piece that incorporates GoPro action cameras into her choreography. Audience members can watch the performance in person while also watching a live wall projection of what the GoPro camera is recording as it is strapped to one of the dancer’s bodies. The two simultaneous performances confront the viewer with questions about perception, reality and the veracity of the online world.

“Journey to a Forgotten Place” by exhibition design student Yunwen Zhu, M.A.
Ms. Zhu’s project features the submerged Chinese city of Shi Cheng. It tells a story of an unfamiliar place and event in the past that is no longer accessible to the public yet is now made available through exhibition design. Ms. Zhu’s conceptual designs intend to bring the audience on a journey to learn about this forgotten place and appreciate the beauty of the sunken city, while evoking feelings and memories of a past life. Her project utilizes a variety of media including watercolor, 3-D digital renderings and a conceptual physical model.


“NEXT” presents a selection of culminating projects by graduating students at the George Washington University’s Corcoran School of the Arts and Design. Each degree program requires students to successfully complete a thesis project. Projects may take many forms—from written research papers to a series of paintings. Students exhibit their projects on the walls of the Corcoran’s historic Flagg building and present pictorial and oral presentations to an audience of their peers, faculty, arts professionals and the GW community. In addition to presenting visual art, “NEXT” features performances by graduating dance and music students. These performances will be held on select days and times.

Admission for “NEXT” is free and open to the public. The exhibition is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 1 to 6 p.m. The Corcoran is located at 500 17th Street NW. Visitors should enter via the main entrance, located on 17 Street between New York Avenue NW and E Street NW. For more information, including a press kit, student portfolios and exhibition events, visit. Follow “NEXT” on social media at #CorcoranNext.