Drawing Center reopens in Soho with second floor

The exterior and interior of the Drawing Center
The exterior and interior of the Drawing Center

Following a $10 million, 16-month renovation, nearly a decade of planning, and delays caused by Hurricane Sandy, Soho’s Drawing Center, the only museum in the U.S. devoted to drawing, is set to open its doors today, Crain’s reported. The museum, which has been located at 35 Wooster Street since 1986, has bought and incorporated the building’s second floor, adding  some 1,500 square feet of gallery space for a total of 4,500 square feet of exhibition space. It will now be able to handle five exhibitions a year.

“We have been very fortunate,” Brett Littman, Drawing Center executive director, said. “It has been a long journey.”

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The museum was supposed to be incorporated into the World Trade Center site, growing by approximately 30,000 square feet in 2003. However, protests over the museums “edgy” content ended the deal in 2005.

Feeling the need for more space, the museum then looked at moving to a building at the South Street Seaport, but lack of funds and disapproval from the museum’s artists blocked the move. Finally when the building’s second floor was listed in 2009, Littman and the board moved to acquire it, although funds remained tight.

However, the museum was able to close on the floor in December 2010 with $3 million from the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. and additional capital from private donors.  Drawing Center shut down for renovation in July 2011. [Crain’s] —Christopher Cameron