This past weekend, Mayor Parker and local philanthropists oversaw the groundbreaking of the 30,000-square-foot, $40 million Menil Drawing Institute in Midtown. The building comes as part of a $110 million campaign for the Menil Collection campus.

Mayor Parker said, "Today we are launching the building of the Menil's new gift to the city of Houston. The museum was truly a gift when it opened, and it has been a gift every day since - a gift that is growing and becoming more precious over the years."

The MDI was designed to encourage the study and exhibition of modern and contemporary drawings - the first freestanding facility of its kind in the United States. It will house the sketches of iconic artist Ellsworth Kelly, Jasper Johns, and many others. 

Drawing inspiration from the modern look of the main campus, the building will feature a cloister-like design with a large natural centerpiece of trees, providing a roof canopy. Los Angeles-based firm Johnston Marklee won a bid through an international design competition in 2014 to create the project.

The creation of the MDI will provide an extension to the park area the Menil Collection has already created on its expansive urban campus. The master plan also creates new pedestrian paths and a West Main Street extension. Completion of the MDI is anticipated for mid-2017.

The Menil Collection displays one of the most significant collections of art in the twentieth century.  In addition to the permanent collection, the museum regularly features special exhibits, film screenings, lectures, and other community events. The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday, from 11a.m. until 7p.m., and closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Admission is free of charge.