The Drawing Center

The Drawing Center is a Manhattan, New York, museum and a nonprofit exhibition space that focuses on the exhibition of drawings, both historical and contemporary. The Drawing Center was founded by former assistant curator of drawings at the Museum of Modern Art Martha Beck in 1977, with the mandate of seeking to 'express the quality and diversity of drawing -- unique works on paper -- as a major art form'. It was originally housed in $900-a-month ground-floor space in a warehouse at 137 Greene Street in SoHo before it moved to its present location, on the ground floor of a 19th-century cast-iron-fronted building at 35 Wooster Street, in the late 1980s. In its first year, the Drawing Center attracted 125,000 visitors. After a $10 million renovation in 2012, designed by Claire Weisz of WXY Architecture & Urban Design, the museum today occupies two and a half floors, 50 percent more exhibition space. Each year, the Center presents 'Selections' exhibitions featuring the work of emerging artists as well as exhibitions of historical and contemporary drawing-based work. In conjunction with its interior expansion in 2012, the Drawing Center announced the start of a long-term initiative to exhibit Latin american drawing. The Drawing Room, located across the street from the Main Gallery, features dynamic, drawing-based installations and exhibitions by emerging and under-recognized artists. The Center offers a range of public programs for both adults and children, including film screenings, literary readings, artist talks, symposia, performances, and The Big Draw, a day-long event or series of events featuring artist-led drawing activities for all ages. The Drawing Center named Brett Littman, former Deputy Director of P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, as its Executive Director in early 2007. In August 2005, the Drawing Center was considered as one of the groups to occupy the World Trade Center. The plan was scrapped, and then the center’s leadership spent a couple of years exploring a move to the South Street Seaport, where it planned to build a $60 million museum. By 2010 the museum decided to stay put and expand its Wooster Street home. Also in 2005, it was among 406 New York City arts and social service institutions to receive part of a $20 million grant from the Carnegie Corporation, which was made possible through a donation by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. For the 2012 renovation, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation gave a $3 million grant, one of its largest contributions toward a single construction project. As of 2011, attendance was at 35,000 visitors a year.

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