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The Corcoran Gallery of Art prepares for its closing

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The Corcoran Gallery of Art and College of Art+Design, one of the oldest institutions in the United States, is closing, and consumers are making preparations to bid it farewell. The District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Robert Okun reached a final ruling to cease its operations effective October 1, 2014.

Founded in 1869 by William Corcoran, the gallery is prized for its American and contemporary works of distinctive artists such as Pablo Picasso, Edgar Degas, Rembrandt Peale, and Claude Monet. Independently operated, the non-profit organization received most of its funding through grants, donations, tuition, admission fees, membership dues and the restaurant.

Over the past decade, the Corcoran has struggled tremendously to keep their doors open. Part of its downfall can be attributed to conflicts in leadership and fundraising activities which affected their inability to generate enough revenue to remain stable. Not to mention, competition grew among government funded museums of similar eminence that offers visitors free admission.

With $28 million in liabilities, financial experts believe that the institution had no other option than to seek outside sources for assistance. In 2013, they attempted to merge with the University of Maryland. However, the deal was unsuccessful.

In order to keep William Corcoran’s legacy alive and preserve nearly 17,000 collections of artwork worth $2 billion, the trustees obtained an agreement to merge with the National Gallery of Art and George Washington University. The Corcoran would give them $35 million to be used toward renovating the building. The merger is expected to bring more exposure for the artworks, vibrant exhibits, funding to maintain the collections and enhanced programs for the college.

As members of the Corcoran plan for its closing, folks are taking steps to bid their final farewell. On this Saturday, August 30, you may participate in a Farewell Hug to the Corcoran as advertised on Facebook. Patrons will form a huge circle inside of the building while holding hands, thus creating a hug. During this time, participants will share memories of their visits to the Corcoran. Some of the members will even perform eulogies as a tribute to the Corcoran.

The event is scheduled to begin at 2:00 p.m. at the Corcoran Building, 500 17th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006. Those who are planning to attend the event can expect free admission. Although, it is highly recommended to RSVP. The gallery will also honor free admission to the building until its final day.

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