Founded in 1977 by Martha Beck (1938–2014), The Drawing Center—an exhibition space in downtown Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood—explores the medium of drawing as primary, dynamic, and relevant to contemporary culture, the future of art, and creative thought. Its activities are both multidisciplinary and broadly historical, and include exhibitions, publications, and educational and public programs.
Since its inception, The Drawing Center’s exhibitions have emphasized a wide range of artistic traditions and taken a uniquely interdisciplinary approach. The Drawing Center has offered live critiques, studio visits, exhibitions, publications and a sense of community to living artists, those based in New York, and more recently, around the world. Today, The Drawing Center’s exhibitions and programs endeavor to express what its founder called “the quality and diversity of drawing” by sharing with its audience extraordinary drawing by tattoo artists, chefs, novelists, soldiers, prisoners, as well as by those who define themselves as visual artists. This experimental spirit and devotion to a broad definition of what drawing is, and what it can be, mirrors the diversity and creative energy of the early SoHo art scene from which The Drawing Center grew.