Corcoran College of Art and Design

500 Seventeenth St NW 
Washington DC 20006 

(202) 639-1800

Corcoran School of the Arts and Design

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Corcoran School of the Arts and Design (CSAD)
USA-Corcoran Gallery of Art2.jpg
Type Private
Established 1890
Parent institution
George Washington University
Director Sanjit Sethi
Location Washington, D.C., U.S.
Campus Urban

The Corcoran School of the Arts and Design (originally the Corcoran School of Art and, before 2014, the Corcoran College of the Arts and Design), founded in 1890, is an art and design school in Washington, D.C., United States. In 2014, the formerly independent college and the Corcoran Gallery of Art closed, with school operations being assumed by the George Washington University (GWU), and the gallery collection given free to the National Gallery of Art, part of the Smithsonian Institution.[1]

The Corcoran School is part of GWU's Columbian College of Arts and Sciences.[2][3]

The School's Beginning

William Wilson Corcoran founded the Corcoran Gallery of Art in 1869. Construction had begun at 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue in 1859, but shortly after the exterior work was completed, the Quartermaster General's corps of the Union Army occupied the building, setting up offices for the duration of the Civil War.

Work resumed immediately after the conclusion of the war, with Corcoran formally founding his gallery as an institution in 1869. The first special event held that year was a fundraiser for the completion of the Washington Monument. Corcoran's gallery welcomed its first visitors in 1874 and art students immediately flocked to the gallery, eager to sketch and paint copies of the collection's famous works.

In 1877 the painter E.F. Andrews (1835–1915) started offering the visiting students and artists formal instruction in two dimensional media for no cost to the student. In 1878 William Wilson Corcoran donated additional funding to be used to establish a school to be associated with the gallery. After Corcoran's 1888 death, a small building was built in 1889 for the purpose of the gallery's burgeoning identity as a place for education in the arts. In 1890 the school officially opened as the Corcoran School of Art.[4]

By the 1890s, both the gallery and the school programs had outgrown their respective spaces. A new, larger building designed by Ernest Flagg was constructed in 1897 at New York Avenue and 17th Street, with the basement level dedicated to workshops and studios for the students, and an upper two floors given over to large gallery spaces. From 1897 to the 1930s, the school continued in a modest existence for art students interested in a museum school. By the 1930s, the school had begun expanding: commercial art classes, scholarships, children's courses, the library, ceramics facilities and courses, weekend classes and summer opportunities were added at this time.

Successful accreditation in the National Association of Schools of Art (NASAD) was achieved by the mid-1970s, with the first BFA degree bestowed in 1978. During this time artists that taught for the school included Ed McGowin, William Christenberry, and Paul Reed.[5]

Starting in the 1970s, College utilized three facilities: the historic Flagg Building housed fine art facilities, the fine art photography and photojournalism facilities. A second building, located in Georgetown, housing the Digital Media, Graphic Design, and New Media Photojournalism programs, as well as many fine art offerings in painting and drawing. Additional programs were offered through the Smithsonian's S. Dillon Ripley Center. In 1985, the college was formally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

In 1999, the school was formally re-named as The Corcoran College of Art and Design and worked to further its reputation as the singular four-year arts and design institution in Washington, D.C.[4] As a museum school, students and faculty benefited from co-existing with the Corcoran Gallery with its more than 17,000 works and objects. In the later years of the gallery, a dedicated space known as Studio 31 displayed student art, in addition to special biennials and exhibitions of student work on display throughout the year. The annual NEXT show, staged at the end of each academic year, displayed student senior thesis projects to the greater DC community.

In 2014, a D.C. Superior Court approved agreement saw the closure of the Gallery and the passing of most of the original collection into the public National Gallery of Art. The Flagg Building and college operations were given to the George Washington University, which today operates the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design within their Columbian College of Arts & Sciences.


The Corcoran College of Art and Design offered the degrees of Bachelor of Fine Arts (in Fine Arts, Photography, Photojournalism, Graphic Design, Digital Media Design, and Interior Design), Bachelor of Arts (in Art Studies), Master of Arts (in Art and the Book, Interior Design, Exhibition Design, Art Education, and—in partnership with the Smithsonian AssociatesHistory of Decorative Arts), a Masters in New Media Photojournalism, a Master of Arts in Teaching, and a joint BFA/MAT program.

Students are exposed to internships with organizations including National Geographic Magazine, embassies, and White House news photographers; summer study abroad trips in Italy, Greece, and India; and visiting artists such as Annie Leibovitz, Shepard Fairey, Maya Lin, Abelardo Morell, and William Pope. For a period of time in the spring, senior students' works for their senior theses are exhibited within the museum, giving the students experience in gallery openings as well as public exposure to their work.

The College's Continuing Education Program, which offers partial credit and non-credit classes to children and adults, draws more than 3,500 participants every year. The Corcoran offers a pre-college portfolio development program in the summer for high school students.

Notable Alumni and Students

Sources: Google Maps, The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Wikipedia, Yahoo! Answers

Privacy Policy  |  California Residents: Do Not Sell My Personal Information  |  Disclosure: “What Determines Top/Best?”  |  Terms of Use  | 
© 2021 TriAd Media Solutions, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Disclosure: Not all programs are accelerated, available in all locations, or in both online and on-campus formats. The transferability of credits is subject to each school's transfer credit policy. Financial aid including grants, scholarships and loans may be available to those who qualify. Program lengths and outcomes vary according to each institution's specific curriculum and employment opportunities are not guaranteed. CompareTopSchools is a consumer information site that offers free ratings and recommendations of colleges and universities. We are an advertising-supported service and receive compensation from many of the schools that appear on our site. Compensation may impact which schools we rate and recommend and where those schools appear. CompareTopSchools takes into consideration several proprietary rules to determine how and where schools appear on our website. All opinions expressed on this site are our own, including, without limitation, our designation of a particular institution as being a "top" school.