Corcoran School of the Arts and Design - George Washington University (Washington, USA)

The Corcoran School of the Arts and Design at the George Washington University presents its annual NEXT Festival, a celebration of graduating students’ work, in Washington, D.C. Open from April 17 to May 16, the festival features 47 exhibits, 22 live performances and four panels and research-based presentations. 

The festival kicked off on April 17 with a Dudley Memorial Lecture given by John Troutman, curator of music and musical instruments at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, on building restorative blues history. In addition, this year’s students in museum studies and exhibition design have collaborated with graphic design students to produce an exhibit focused on the history of the movement for DC statehood. Apart from the inherent interest of the subject matter, Onkey said, she is excited by the way both graduate and undergraduate students have worked across programs to think about how an exhibit is put together.

“That’s the kind of collaboration that I think is really exciting,” Onkey said, “when we can get the students to work in sync across disciplines, because they ask different questions depending on where they are seated.”

Another exhibition curated by art history and museum studies students, “Art After Duchamp,” is open at Gallery 102. It features work by 17 artists created in the spirit of Marcel Duchamp, the great Dada provocateur. The works were selected by Lisa Lipinski, associate professor of art history. Her students were given hands-on experience in deciding everything from where and how the works she selected would be displayed to what kind of type should be used on posters for the exhibit.

An additional highlight will be the Spring Dance Concert presented from April 18–22 in the Dorothy Betts Marvin Theatre. Students will perform their own choreography as well as work created by faculty and guest choreographers.

There will be several theatrical performances, including an installation in the Flagg Building of elements from last fall’s production of “The Laramie Project.” Excerpts will be performed at the Extravaganza.

Themes that guests will encounter this year include sustainability, social justice and climate change. There will be nuanced stories of queer identity and consideration of storytelling as a whole. Future technology and AI will play a role, along with established crafts such as ceramics, quilting and woodwork. In short, Onkey said, there will be something for everyone.

“Because of the breadth of our programs here in the Corcoran School, we have students who are makers and performers, and also students who are researchers and scholars,” Onkey said. “For NEXT this year, we’ve really tried to find ways to feature researchers, scholars and emerging museum studies professionals as well. NEXT showcases the arts as a kind of giant tableau at GW.”

A complete schedule of events is available in the NEXT festival guide. The NEXT exhibition is open to the public in the Flagg Building at 500 17th Street NW through May 16, Wednesday through Sunday from 1–5pm.