After spending a decade looking for a new home further downtown, the Drawing Center decided to stay put in Soho, at 35 Wooster Street. The building has been under renovation for more than a year now, but it will finally reopen to the public in November, throwing open its cast-iron doors to the etching-obsessed.
Not surprisingly, many people living in Soho and Noho are not too happy about a real estate group’s plan to survey loft residents in the neighborhood to ensure that at least one person in each loft is an artist, as city law requires.
If you reside in a SoHo or NoHo loft, some people may soon be knocking on your door hoping to ask some questions about your occupation. Various real-estate types have established a group called the SoHo/NoHo Action Committee aimed at determining whether the lofts in those neighborhoods, which are legally mandated to house an artist, do, in fact, comply with that rule, DNAinfo reports. The organization plans to hire surveyors (it’s aiming to raise $25,000) to determine that. Door-to-door knocking is one of the tactics on the table.
A decade ago, Soho watched as one by one its galleries and arts institutions left and were replaced by boutiques, bistros and condos. How ironic that the Drawing Center, one of the neighborhood’s oldest and most venerable institutions, should reverse the trend.
In December 2010, the 35-year-old gallery paid $2.4 million for a loft on the second floor of its long-time home at 35 Wooster Street. The purchase provided the space necessary to facilitate a consolidation and reorganization of its facilities at 35 Wooster, ensuring the gallery’s future in Soho.
“We decided to stay, that we have this asset, let‘s build on what we have,” Brett
Littman, executive director of the Drawing Center said during a recent tour, referring not only to his building but the still thriving if somewhat stultified neighborhood surrounding it. “We settled on a gradual, incremental growth, one we can actually sustain.”
Mr. Littman said he hoped the project, known as ReDraw, could even serve as a model for other institutions, the recent demise of the American Folk Art Museum still fresh in so many nonprofits’ minds. He even said it was possible for the Drawing Center to slowly colonize the building, buying up condos as they become available.