By Michael O'Connell & Anna Sekula Posted January 11, 2010, 12:30 PM EST
1. The Armory Show
Devoted to important works from the 20th and 21st centuries, the annual showcase of contemporary art is a must-attend for artists, critics, curators, and enthusiasts. The 11-year-old show occupies all of the 69th Regiment Armory and Piers 92 and 94 for its March 4 to 7 run.
2. International Contemporary Furniture Fair
Design from around the globe was on display for the more than 23,000 attendees who stopped by the Javits Center during the fair’s 2009 edition, which hosted 552 exhibitors from 34 countries, 38 percent of whom were first-timers. The 2010 fair returns May 15 to 18.
3. Cooper-Hewitt National Design Awards
Temporarily displaced by renovations and an expansion project at the institution’s Upper East Side home, the 2009 awards moved to Cipriani 42nd Street, where more than 575 guests watched Paula Zahn serve as M.C. Pending the timely completion of renovations, the show will return to the museum’s Arthur Ross Terrace and Garden on October 14.
4. The Art Show
The Seventh Regiment Armory opens its doors to the Art Dealers Association of America again March 3 to 7 for the 22nd annual showcase. A gala preview of the 70 selected exhibitions will benefit local art institution the Henry Street Settlement.
5. Diffa’s Dining by Design
Held in seven U.S. cities throughout the year, the show allows event and interior designers to be as playful as they like in designing tables for a fund-raising dinner. The Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS timed last year’s New York installment of the flagship event, held at Skylight, to the Architectural Digest Home Design Show to boost its haul.
6. Dia Art Foundation Gala
Around 300 arts patrons, including actor James Franco, made the trek to Washington Heights on November 9 for the nonprofit’s annual fall gala, which hosts guests for a seated dinner at the Church of the Intercession after drinks across the street at the Hispanic Society of America.
7. Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Downtown Dinner
Spanning an entire floor of unoccupied office space atop 7 World Trade Center, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s annual Downtown Dinner hosted 500 for a night honoring its patrons and soliciting additional funding for its artists, several of whom showcased their work in the decor and performances. The event returns for the sixth year in April.