“Next,” an undergraduate exhibit at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, confirms a new Corcoran tradition by giving center stage to the institution’s College of Art + Design. For much of the last decade, student exhibition opportunities at the Corc were limited to spaces such as Gallery 31, a dedicated student space in the college, while the museum’s atrium, rotunda, bridge, and galleries were off limits. Last year, the Corcoran reversed course, inaugurating the “Next” program, in which members of the graduating class take over the museum. The school’s dynamic undergraduate design lab has gotten involved, too, establishing the look and feel of the exhibit—decisions normally assigned to curators, marketers, and consultants. For this year’s “Next,” the design lab has put together a neon-string installation to quite literally tie the space together. The students’ work, however, is the real draw. Don’t go in expecting consistent quality, but look forward to the full presentation of young artists’ ideas. “Next” might be the most pronounced sign of the Corcoran’s recent shift away from its fusty encyclopedic-museum ambition toward a more stylish, contemporary identity. The young artists on display here will be showing at tomorrow’s galleries. “NEXT at the Corcoran: Class of 2012” is on view 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays through May 20. Free. (202) 639-1700. corcoran.org.