Socrates Sculpture Park
Socrates Sculpture Park is an outdoor museum and public park where artists can create and exhibit sculptures and multi-media installations. It is located one block from the Noguchi Museum at the intersection of Broadway and Vernon Boulevard in the neighborhood of Astoria, Queens, New York City. In addition to exhibition space, the park offers an arts education program, artist residency program, and job training.
History and description
In 1986, American sculptor Mark di Suvero created Socrates Sculpture Park on an abandoned landfill and illegal dumpsite in Long Island City. The four acre site is the largest outdoor space in New York City dedicated to exhibiting sculpture. The former landfill was renovated into the current park by a team of contemporary artists and local youths. The park operated for 14 years with only a temporary city park status. In 1998, the park was given official status by former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani as a permanent city park after a developer attempted to erect luxury apartments and a marina on the site after the park's lease had expired.
In 2005, the park was among 406 New York City arts and social service institutions to receive part of a US$20 million grant from the Carnegie Corporation, which was made possible through a donation by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.
At the Socrates Sculpture Park's main entrance hangs a 10 x 28' billboard structure that has been an ongoing installation since 1999. New Billboards are installed once or twice per year. Artists work with printmaking and photograpghy to create an image that greets visitors as they enter the park, and sets the tone for the current show. The billboards are in conjunction with each spring exhibition.
Programs and events
The park has numerous workshops and public programming. Many artists lead tour programs of current exhibitions, there are summer art projects, and various free public events, such as yoga and capoeira on Saturdays and outdoor movie screenings on Wednesdays that begin in mid July and end in mid August. GrowNYC runs an Astoria Farmer's Market in the park every Saturday during the summer months.
The current Executive Director of the park is John Hatfield, former Deputy Director of the New Museum of Contemporary Art. Some former Executive Directors of the park include Alyson Baker (2000-2011), Kathleen Gilrain (1995-2000), and Eve Sussman (1993- ).
Board of Directors
- Mark di Suvero, Chairman
- Stuart Match Suna, President
- Ivana Mestrovic, Secretary and Treasurer
- Maxine Frankel
- Richard Gluckman, FAIA
- Hugh Hardy, FAIA
Lisa K. Erf
- Martin Silver, Ex Officio 
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