Socrates Sculpture Park is a 4.5 acre, waterfront sculpture park located
on the East River in Long Island City, Queens. Socrates Sculpture Park is
one of the few places in New York City where large-scale, outdoor sculpture
can be enjoyed by the public. Since its opening in the fall of 1986 the
Park has presented a constantly changing selection of work by the most exciting
artists working today. Sculptors from all regions of the United States,
Europe and Central America have been joined by musicians, dancers, painters
and filmmakers to create a multi-media modern art showcase.
Socrates Sculpture Park is situated In Long Island City, Queens, where private
homes, factories and warehouses co-exist in an unpretentious neighborhood
with breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline. Appropriately, the park
is located on the border of the largest population of Greeks outside Athens.
Located at Vernon Boulevard and Broadway in Long Island City
Fax: (718) 545-8548
From the Midtown Tunnel: After tolls, take immediate right, a second right
and, after 1 block, a third right onto Vernon Blvd, Head North to Braodway
From the Queensboro (59th St) Bridge:
Upper Roadway: Exit 21st Street North onto Broadway. Continue to Vernon
Blvd. Lower Roadway: First right, continue for 2 blocks, then right. Continue
9 blocks to Vernon Blvd.
History and Goals of Socrates Sculpture Park
Socrates Sculpture Park is a former illegal dumpsite leased from New York
City's Department of Ports and Trade for $1 per year. The site required
almost a year of work to clear and landscape before the first installation
of sculpture was possible. Socrates Sculpture Park is the masterwork of
the Athena Foundation, which was created in 1977 by the sculptor Mark di
Suvero to encourage the arts, to expand the culture and to create a space
for the harmonious interaction of people and art.
After a year of clearing what was once an illegal garbage dump, the Park
opened its first exhibition of contemporary, outdoor sculpture in 1986.
Since that time, Socrates continues to revitalize the economic, social,
educational, and cultural life of this community via activities that encourage
creative interaction between artists, their art, and the community through
visual arts and outreach programs. The Park's existence is based on the
belief that reclamation, revitalization and creative expression are essential
to the survival, humanity and improvement of our urban environment.
At a ceremony on May 23,1993, Socrates officially became part of the NYC
Dept. of Parks & Recreation. As the newest addition to Park land in
over a decade SSP is the only NYC park dedicated solely to the creation
& exhibition of contemporary sculpture. In 1995, Socrates was designated
as one of sixty three "Great American Pubic Places," testimony
to the fact that the Park is an exemplary model of the built environment.
Although our new relationship with the City of NY guarantees our existence
for years to come it does not provide support for our outreach programs
for youth or community residents.
Synopsis of Ongoing programs include:
Community Collaborations Initiative
- a visual arts program for emerging artists,
- grants for artists to create new works in the Outdoor Studio Program,
- year-round exhibitions of site-specific sculpture showcasing work
- talents as well as world-renowned artists,
- a new Fellowship Program for emerging artists;
- a Community Employment Initiative for local residents, providing training
and financial return to the community;
- operation of an Education Department, reaching audiences from the
local community as well as off site in NYC public schools;
- Visitors Services for Park visitors from around the world, including
Tour and Volunteer programs.
Since its inception the Park has operated outreach programs for youth and
neighborhood residents. In 1990 SSP founded the Education Department, offering
a variety of innovative & alternative programs to some of NYC neediest
youth from the local community, as well as off-site in NYC public schools.
Many of our program target youth from high risk backgrounds. These workshops
further the Park's goal to redefine the role of the art institution as a
purveyor of alternative education in the schools, community and eventually
Through our Community Collaborations Initiative, Socrates is able
to design on a one-on-one basis special hands on art workshops. While many
schools have lost funds for fine arts programs, Arts Education is now recognized
as an essential part of healthy development and a rounded education.