Friday, August 08, 2014

Corcoran fires Jayme McLellan

When Save the Corcoran formed in 2012, its aim was to keep the museum from selling its historic building. That ship has sailed, though, as the institution prepares to enter a partnership with the National Gallery of Art and George Washington University. The group, led by co-founder Jayme McLellan of Civilian Art Projects, has shifted its focus to what will come next for the Corcoran’s collection — and how they can preserve this piece of Washington history.
- Maura Judkis, April 19, 2014, Washington Post
In every facet of life or work, or in this case the visual arts, there are yappers, symbiots, hangers-on, grubs, and a tiny, tiny, microscopic number of doers.

Jayme McLellan of Civilian Art Projects, and an instructor at the Corcoran, is a doer. Not only has Jayme made Civilian one of the leading galleries in the DMV's cultural tapestry - all of that as a result of hard work, which is the only way that an independently owned, commercial fine arts gallery can survive in the DMV - but McLellan has been a leading voice and doer in the effort to find an alternative way to save the Corcoran, and also an instructor at the Corcoran, hired by the Chair of the Corc's Department of Fine Arts. Classes start in two weeks and she's listed as the instructor for the class, which by the way, is full.

Below is the class from the Corc's website:

2014 Fall FA01
FA4170/Lecture/A - Professional Practices for Fine Artists | Credits 3.00
No artist, however famous or successful, had a clear path to succeed from the beginning. Successful artists learn to maximize opportunities and resources available to them, navigating his or her way at every turn. There is not one single approach; a strategy with lots of planning and variables must be created and examined. Artists will develop a resume and artist statement, research and write grants, practice applying for residencies, and participate in information gathering sessions with art spaces. Led by the founder of two arts organizations, the instructor will create opportunities for students to meet gallery directors, curators and professional artists in DC, Baltimore, and New York. These meetings will provide substantive time to discuss practical issues and concerns that will add to a post-school plan. Writing and reading assignments will be two papers including writing a grant application and creating a personal post-college plan plus one exam. Completion of this course will result in a deeper understanding of the specific tools available to emerging artists and the nature of the art world in general. For BFA Fine Art majors only. Prerequisite: FA3091 Fine Art Studio IV.

Registration Type Traditional
Fees N/A
Instructors Ms. Jayme McLellan
Duration 9/8/2014 - 12/15/2014
Schedule Mon  3:15 PM - 6:00 PM;  Corcoran College, Downtown, Room 9-2
Prerequisites FA3091 / Studio
Corequisites N/A
Credit Types Audit Credit
Class 12 Seats | 1 Remaining

Open (Target Met)

Yesterday, Peggy Loar, Interim Director at the Corcoran fired McLellan from a full class that starts in two weeks.

I have sent Ms. Loar a note asking for the reason that McLellan was fired, and if she responds, I will publish it here. In the interim, the "appearance" of this firing, at least to me, smells and tastes like a retaliatory firing of an employee who dared to take a stance opposing the Corc's planned disintegration.

Here's what Ms. Loar wrote to the Corcoran community when she took over as Consulting/Interim Director:
 April 8, 2013

Dear Corcoran Community,

  •     As I begin my tenure as consulting director, my goals are clear, ambitious, and achievable:
  •     To begin immediately collaborating with the Corcoran team on the strategy and design of a strong programmatic partnership with the University of Maryland
  •     To work closely with the Board and the broader Corcoran community on ideas for the creation of a hybrid and exciting new direction for the Corcoran
  •     To step up our financial planning and fundraising—discussion and coordination with the Board of Trustees and the University of Maryland
  •     To move expeditiously in our partnership with the National Gallery, particularly in regard to the first exhibition to be held at the Corcoran
While the Corcoran has had considerable experience in cross-pollinating the programs and talents within the College and the Gallery, we now have a whole new roster of colleagues to engage with us on structuring our creative agenda. We will inspire each other. I believe that the University of Maryland and the National Gallery of Art will be catalysts toward an inventive tripartite collaboration.

The Corcoran Board’s success in identifying and securing the University of Maryland as a partner—in accordance with the criteria the Board set—was in large part due to the confidentiality of the discussions. It’s a new time now, and transparency and dialogue will bring us all success.

I look forward to those conversations and to working collaboratively with the staff, faculty, and students of this vital and storied institution. Additionally, I hope that members, alumni, and the public will continue to take full advantage of our exhibitions and educational opportunities during this exciting time.