The Corcoran Gallery Wants a Real Estate Agent

by Corinna Kirsch on July 5, 2012 Newswire

The Corcoran is hiring. According to an internal listing, the museum is soliciting proposals from real estate firms with previous experience in the “disposition of large commercial buildings” to help the “Corcoran with the possible sale of its historic headquarters facility.” It sure looks like the Corcoran is seriously considering selling off its museum, which currently sits on the west side of the White House lawn. In public, the museum denies making a decision one way or the other.

This follows on the heels of the Corcoran board of trustees meeting on June 4th, where the board voted unanimously to consider selling the museum. The Corcoran claims the museum needs to move because the building has become too expensive to maintain, requiring at least $100 million in renovations.

A newly formed organization, Save the Corcoran, is standing in opposition to the museum’s potential sell-off. This group started a petition which advises the museum against making any “decisions that have been made without any input from the artists, students, faculty, donors and other stakeholders.” I’ve signed it, too, because any decision made by a non-profit institution should, in keeping with its public mission, consider the needs of its audience.

At this point, it might be too late for the Corcoran to quietly sell off its museum, and as the museum reviews real estate proposals, we expect the opposition to grow. The circumstances of the proposed sale remain murky at best, but right now, it looks like they’re on the path toward selling it. And that’s something this historic, yet recently struggling museum can’t mask.

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