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August 12, 2014

Corcoran Terminates Teacher Who Is Battling Breakup Plan

The Corcoran Gallery of Art has fired a teacher at its affiliated college who is among the leaders of a court fight against the Washington, D.C., museum's planned reorganization, prompting claims of retaliation, according to Los Angeles Times art critic Christopher Knight.

Jayme McLellan, an adjunct instructor at the Corcoran College of Art and Design, said she was notified Thursday that her class on professional practices for artists, set to begin September 8, had been canceled and her employment ended. Ms. McLellan was a co-founder of a nonprofit advocacy group that sued to block the financially struggling museum's plan to turn over its assets to the National Gallery of Art and George Washington University.

"This is clearly retaliation," Ms. McLellan said of her dismissal. "Without a doubt." A spokesman for Peggy Loar, the Corcoran’s interim director and president, said the institution would not comment on "individual personnel decisions."

A D.C. Superior Court judge is set to rule August 20 on the Corcoran's plan, which the museum says is the only option to maintain its mission but which critics charge violates the intent of founding donor William W. Corcoran. In a Washington Post essay, art critic Philip Kennicott, laid out a case against the reorganization, which he said amounted to "demolition by neglect" of the 145-year-old gallery.