In Video: Meet Corcoran Director Lauren Onkey

Get to know the new director of the Corcoran School of the Arts & Design, from the first album she loved to her hopes for the school’s future.

October 13, 2021

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Lauren Onkey's work emphasizes interdisciplinary fluidity and community engagement. (Photo: Maria Luz Bravo)

Lauren Onkey began her tenure as director of the George Washington University Corcoran School of the Arts and Design this summer. Before coming to GW, the longtime educator, scholar, producer and museum professional was a professor at Ball State University, vice president of education and public programming at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland and, most recently, senior director of NPR Music.

Dr. Onkey said she looks forward to connecting with students and faculty, finding ways to support existing artistic projects and community partnerships while also developing new opportunities for creativity and connection.

“I really want to dig in on where great partnerships already the school with community organizations and how we can really grow those and potentially develop more,” she said. 

Besides its deep relationship with the Washington, D.C., community, the Corcoran’s “powerful and unique set of programs” is another of its strengths, she said: “The interdisciplinary opportunities…are really, really exciting in terms of using the arts to really get at some of the biggest questions of our time.”

“Students have that same capacious view of culture, where they’re seeing connections across all the things they're listening to or reading or creating,” she said. “I haven’t found that students make those kinds of neat divisions that we sometimes try to put on them.”

Watch the video below for more from Dr. Onkey, including the first album she ever loved, the way music shaped her academic career, the importance of breaking down barriers between the academy and the community and one musical artist she’s loving now.

Meet Corcoran Director Lauren Onkey from The George Washington University on Vimeo.