Updates from the Corcoran: Limited access to studio spaces for thesis/capstone students & fall events

Flagg stairs
August 18, 2020

Corcoran students,


Welcome to the start of a new semester at the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design!


As we transition into an all-virtual environment, this will be a challenging semester for everybody. We pledge throughout the semester to continue to build our community through our classes, through virtual community meetings, artist and scholar talks, performances and events, which you can see here. It is our goal to provide interactive learning experiences for all our students, regardless of the delivery method. Read below to learn about our fall programming and our limited options for studio space for thesis and capstone students.


Our William Wilson Corcoran professor of community engagement, Paul Rucker, is among our fall speakers. Take a look at his remarkable body of work. Paul will be teaching both fall and spring, and hopefully, you’ll each find opportunities to interact and work with him. We are also excited to welcome Maria Habib, our inaugural Wernick-Richman Professor of Professional Practice. Maria, who is a Corcoran College graduate, previously taught at MICA and this year will be part of our faculty teaching classes in graphic design. You’ll be able to access Hostile Terrain, an exhibition project created by MacArthur award winner Jason De León that is especially relevant in this election year. Professor Susan Sterner is serving as the Corcoran’s Deputy Director for Academic Affairs, 2020-21. Feel free to reach out to me ([email protected]) or Susan ([email protected]) with your ideas for other virtual activities that we can consider for our fall schedule.


As everyone knows, the virus continues to hold sway in Washington, D.C., and in the areas surrounding the nation’s capital. The university is under the jurisdiction of the city, which mandates what our operations can and cannot do. Following guidance from the city and organizations like the Center for Disease Control, GW has prioritized health and safety and will hold all undergraduate and graduate classes online. The Corcoran, too, is committed to doing everything necessary to protect our faculty, staff and students. You and your health are our top priority.


To get a sense of how we are preparing for remote learning in the Corcoran, be sure to check out the GW Today story on Michele Carlson. Your professors are adjusting their classes to include tutorials and projects that can be executed from wherever you are. Studio staff will hold virtual office hours to answer your questions and help you with your projects, and you can reach out to them here. Everyone in the Corcoran community is committed to a successful fall.


Because of the nature of our disciplines, GW has agreed to allow a very limited number of Corcoran students use of our physical spaces. Undergraduate students who are preparing thesis or capstone projects in studio-based programs (e.g. seniors majoring in Studio Arts, Dance or Music who are preparing their capstone or thesis projects, as well as MFA, and select MA, students) can receive access to an individual Corcoran workspace. These are the only students who will be allowed into Corcoran spaces. Other students even those who live locally will not be permitted access to campus or Corcoran spaces. In order to meet health and safety standards during the pandemic, and reduce density in our buildings, studio access will be limited to specific assigned days of the week and is permitted only between 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. Corcoran facilities will not be accessible on weekends to accommodate cleaning practices. The Flagg building will not be open to the public at any time this semester.


Each student, faculty, and staff member who is granted this access must commit and adhere to required health and safety guidelines, which includes weekly testing and completing a required university training. Studio and rehearsal spaces are assigned. Everyone who uses Corcoran space must follow these conditions: you must wear a mask at all times, engage in frequent hand-washing (hand sanitizer stations will be set up throughout the buildings), wipe down your own studio spaces regularly and practice social distancing in all our spaces including studios or rehearsal settings. Anyone not meeting those requirements will not be permitted access.


Further details about this and your studio location will be made available at the beginning of the semester through your program (you can reach them here, under "Program Contacts.") Please know that, in this particular moment of a global pandemic, letting your friends or other students into the buildings or remaining after hours is not possible. Anyone who breaks the rules jeopardizes access for everyone else. You will be held accountable for failure to comply with the university’s policies and procedures and all university directives or public health guidelines through the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities. Outcomes will be specific to each case and may include warnings, censure, probation, public health education and the possibility of immediate and/or long-term removal from the university. For those who are receiving special permission to access campus, we are counting on you to work with us to justify the trust we are placing in you.


With the exception of studio staff, Corcoran program administrators are teleworking and can be contacted via email if you have any questions. Your faculty are also available by email and will soon post virtual office hours.


For many of you who are not in one of the categories permitted to access the studios, I recognize that this is very disappointing news. We hope that limited access will be in place for one semester only and we will be able to reinstate complete access to the Corcoran facilities as soon as possible.


We know you may also have questions, and so we invite you to attend our town halls this week:


Corcoran Town Hall for undergraduate seniors and graduate students:
Wednesday, August 19th, 10 - 11 a.m. (ET)


Corcoran Town Hall for undergraduate sophomores and juniors:
Thursday, August 20th, 12 (noon) - 1 p.m. (ET) https://gwu.webex.com/meet/kym


* First-year students will be getting information during their orientation events this week.


After the semester begins, you can reach me on Thursday mornings from 11 a.m. - 12 noon (ET) (via https://gwu.webex.com/meet/kym) or email me for a separate appointment. Stay in touch, attend our student meetings, and contact Susan Sterner or me with issues and/or ideas. We want to hear from you. Most importantly, stay well.


Kym Rice
Interim Director
The Corcoran School of the Arts and Design