Celebrating its 20th year, ArtReach extends the resources of the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the Corcoran College of Art + Design to underserved communities in Washington, D.C. through free high-quality arts education programs. Using the Gallery’s collection as a primary resource, ArtReach makes a special effort to foster the creativity and visual literacy skills of individuals while helping them develop meaningful connections between art and their lives.
Serving more than 300 student artists (ages 8–18) and their families each year, ArtReach provides visual arts instruction and programming in local community centers, including after-school and summer classes as well as open family workshops.
Corcoran ArtReach, originally named VACOP for Visual Arts Community Outreach Program, was founded in 1992. The program was implemented due to drastic art cutbacks in the District’s public school system and began with scholarships to continuing education classes for youth at the Corcoran and an after-school program at community centers. It grew to include summer classes, regular field trips to the gallery and designated museum staff within each community center. VACOP founder and former Dean of the Corcoran College of Art + Design, Samuel Hoi believed that arts education should be accessible to everyone regardless of economic, social or educational status stating, “My drive to work with inner-city youth comes from my belief that art and design are equalizers in society, and also can be used as community building tools. You can reach a common ground through which people can come together.”