The ruling by District of
Trustees of the Corcoran will now merge the museum and college into
"Today we take a dramatic step toward realizing a dynamic partnership that will safeguard the Corcoran legacy for generations to come," said
A group of students and faculty fought the merger, arguing the Corcoran could be saved with better leadership, philanthropic support or a better partnership model. Witnesses in the court case described an organization in limbo with a broken fundraising operation and struggling board.
In a city full of government-funded museums, the Corcoran was one of the few independent art galleries and was celebrated for its adventurous programs in the past.
Okun had to decide whether to allow a break in the Corcoran's 1869 deed of trust that established the museum to allow for the merger. It was a legal question of whether it was "impossible or impracticable" to continue the original deed and whether the merger was the best alternative.
"This court finds it painful to issue an order that effectively dissolves the Corcoran as an independent entity," Okun wrote. "But this court would find it even more painful to deny the relief requested and allow the Corcoran to face its likely demise — the likely dissolution of the college, the closing of the gallery, and the dispersal of the gallery's entire collection."
Okun wrote that two internationally recognized institutions with strong commitments to art and education had agreed to step in to sustain the college and art collection under the Corcoran name.
Under the merger plan, most of the 17,000 artworks would be given to the
Opponents of the merger object to the giveaway of Corcoran art and real estate, as well as the separation of the museum and college. They pointed to a recent turnaround of the
The opponents presented alternatives to preserve the museum and school together, including a proposal from a
While the judge found some of the opponents' criticism of the Corcoran's past management practices valid, he was not convinced the alternative proposals "amorphous and aspirational as they are" would be as consistent with the Corcoran's founding purpose.
The judge noted the Corcoran founder's historic connection to
Most Popular Stories
- Businesses, Investors Pressing for Green Policy
- 'The Voice' Sounds Different This Season
- NSHMBA to Rebrand With New Name, Logo
- Lower Used-Car Prices Roil the Auto Industry
- Chrysler and Google Launch Virtual Plant Tour
- Perry Wants to Skip Court for Foreign Trip
- Investors Fret Yahoo's Future, Stock Dips
- Liberty Power Helps USHCC Go Green
- Hispanic Designer Honored As Rising Star
- Iran Digs in on Underground Nuclear Site