Museums Controversies USA

Critics of Corcoran merger plan will get their day in court

Judge decides that opponents' case should be heard next week

The Corcoran is one of America's oldest art museums

The planned merger of the Corcoran Gallery of Art and its College of Art and Design with the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. and the George Washington University has hit a legal speed bump. Members of the protest group Save the Corcoran has successfully petitioned the Washington, D.C. Superior Court for a four-day hearing next week where they hope to prove that dismantling the Corcoran is not its only option. The Corcoran’s board voted in February in favour of the merger after years of financial troubles. They hope to send much of the gallery’s collection of American art to the National Gallery of Art and to transfer control of the art college to the university.

On Monday Judge Robert Okrun declared that nine members of Save the Corcoran, which includes seven students at the school of art, have a vested interest in the future of the institution. The group now has a chance to prove that the Corcoran can continue to exist as it is currently constituted.

In a statement, the Corocoran said “while a potential delay is a concern because of its impact on the Corcoran students, faculty and staff who are scheduled to start a new academic year next month, we remain confident that both the facts and the law are clear, and we look forward to [Judge Okrun’s] determination regarding the agreements between the Corcoran, George Washington University, and the National Gallery of Art.”

Save the Corcoran did not respond to a request for comment.

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