Socrates Sculpture Park was founded in 1986 by visionary sculptor Mark di Suvero as a community engaged, accessible arts space dedicated to supporting artists in the production and presentation of public artworks.
Socrates is now a New York City public park and significant cultural anchor in Queens exhibiting topical contemporary public art that intimately engages our five-acre waterfront landscape and diverse audiences. The Park’s visual arts programming presents emerging, mid-career and internationally renowned artists by offering an open platform for public art and encouraging unfettered ambition in scale and subject matter.
Since the Park’s inception, the vast majority of artworks exhibited at the Park have been commissioned and built on-site in our outdoor artist studio space. This gives our visitors the unique opportunity to witness the creative and often labor-intensive art-making process. The Park also remains open during exhibition installation and de-installation.
Socrates does not have a permanent collection and all artworks are temporarily on view. A searchable archive of every Socrates exhibition is available HERE and our archive of over 1,000 participating artists is available HERE. Additionally, you can browse our digital library of exhibition catalogs and publications HERE>>.
Each year the Park presents four major visual arts initiatives: The Spring/Summer Exhibition; The Socrates Annual Fellowship & Exhibition; The Folly/Function Architectural & Design Competition in Partnership with The Architectural League of New York; & The Broadway Billboard Series – all of which are described below.
In keeping with our commitment to arts accessibility, admission to the Park and all of our exhibitions is always FREE.
THE SPRING/SUMMER EXHIBITION
Nari Ward, Apollo/Poll, 2017, Image courtesy the artist and Socrates Sculpture Park. Photo: Nicholas Knight Studio
Every year, the Park commissions one or more internationally recognized artists to create public artworks for exhibition in the Park’s landscape during the spring and summer months. In recent years, major projects by acclaimed artists including Virginia Overton, Nari Ward, Agnes Denes, and Meg Webster have been presented.
THE SOCRATES ANNUAL
Sable Elyse Smith, 2016, Image courtesy the artist and Socrates Sculpture Park. Photo: Nate Dorr
The Socrates Annual is the culminating exhibition of The Socrates Annual Fellowship program (formerly known as the Emerging Artist Fellowship program). The fellowship and exhibition aim to foster individual artist projects and to highlight a diversity of processes, material approaches, and subjects that comprise compelling public art practices.
Every year, fifteen artists are selected for The Socrates Annual Fellowship through a competitive open-call application process. Artists including Sable Elyse Smith (2016), David Brooks (2009) Hank Willis Thomas (2006), Orly Genger (2004), and Sanford Biggers (2001) have participated in the fellowship program since it was formalized in 2000.
Our Artist Fellows are each awarded a production grant and five months of seven-days-a-week access to the Park’s outdoor artist studio to realize their respective public art projects. The Fellows’ completed artworks are exhibited together in The Socrates Annual, which traditionally opens in the fall.
The application for The 2018 Emerging Artist Fellowship program is closed. If you would like to view the 2018 proposal guidelines, click HERE. The call for 2019 applications will go out in fall 2018. To stay abreast of our fellowship deadlines, please consider joining our mailing list and following us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Toshihiro Oki architect p.c., tree wood, 2013, Image courtesy the designer and Socrates Sculpture Park.
Folly/Function is the Park’s annual architectural and design competition in partnership with The Architectural League of New York. The program launched in 2012 as an investigation of the intersection between sculpture and architecture through the conceptual framework of “follies”— temporary structures that intentionally served no utilitarian purpose. The program has evolved to fuse form with utility to address structural needs within the Park.
Winners of the Folly/Function competition are awarded a production grant and access to the Park’s outdoor studio to realize their project. Finished Folly/Function projects usually go on view in the summer.
Previous winning proposals:
*The application for Folly/Function 2018 is closed. If you would like to view the 2018 proposal guidelines click HERE. The call for 2019 applications will go out in fall 2018. To stay abreast of our fellowship deadlines, consider joining our mailing list by entering your email at the bottom right hand corner of this webpage, and by following us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Wangechi Mutu, Sunset Satire, 2013, Image courtesy the artist and Socrates Sculpture Park.
Since 1999, Socrates has activated the billboard above the main entrance to the Park year-round with an ongoing series of artworks commissioned from established artists including John Giorno, Douglas Gordon, Michael Joo, Los Angeles Urban Rangers, Wangechi Mutu, Chitra Ganesh, and Duke Riley. In response to the 2016 Presidential Election, Socrates held a one-time open call competition for the Broadway Billboard on the topics of democracy and American identity. The winning proposals were Welcome by Guillaume Légaré and Word on the Street: Love Not Hatred by Amy Khoshbin & Anne Carson.
*Also on view in the Park are three John Ahearn sculptures in our education area: Raymond & Toby, Daleesha, and Cory.