Elsewhere online
August 04, 2014

Witnesses in Corcoran Case Float Options for Museum

Critics of a plan to turn over the Corcoran Gallery of Art's building, collection, and school assets to two larger Washington, D.C., institutions presented two alternative proposals to preserve the venerable museum via courtroom testimony last week, the Associated Press reports.

The Corcoran is seeking judicial approval of its planned merger with the National Gallery of Art and George Washington University, which leaders of the financially struggling museum contend is the only way to continue its exhibition and educational mission. Opponents of the deal contend the Corcoran can be maintained as an independent institution and filed a legal challenge to the plan.

Taking the stand last week, University of Maryland President Wallace Loh said he could resuscitate a previously nixed partnership proposal with the Corcoran within 45 days if the National Gallery/George Washington deal is disallowed. Washington arts philanthropist Wayne Reynolds, who waged an unusually public campaign last year to become the Corcoran's chairman, testified that he could marshal dozens of major donors to rescue the museum.

Corcoran officials opposed Reynolds' plans because they involved selling artworks to fund museum operations, according to the Post. Harry Hopper, the museum's chairman since 2009, said Corcoran leaders looked hard for options to address its longstanding financial woes before turning to the breakup proposal.