Mission & History
Socrates Sculpture Park is a community engaged New York City waterfront park dedicated to supporting artists in the production and presentation of public art.
Socrates Sculpture Park is currently working to create a living Land Acknowledgment honoring the Indigenous peoples – including those of the Lenape, Carnarsie, and Matinecock Nations – who stewarded this land for generations before being violently displaced by the settler colonial United States.
Watch a powerful Land Acknowledgment delivered by the Indigenous Kinship Collective at the Park in 2019 at the invitation of artist Jeffrey Gibson (Choctaw-Cherokee) as part of his project ‘Because Once You Enter My House It Becomes Our House.’
Socrates Sculpture Park was an abandoned riverside landfill and illegal dumpsite for decades leading up to 1986 when a coalition of artists and community members, under the leadership of artist Mark di Suvero, transformed it into an open studio and exhibition space for artists. Today, Socrates is an internationally renowned outdoor museum and a designated New York City public park.
Known for fostering ambitious and visionary artworks, Socrates has presented more than 1,000 artists on its five waterfront acres, providing them the financial support, materials, equipment, and space necessary to create large-scale works in the public realm. The Park is a center of cultural programming, a producer of contemporary exhibitions, a presenter of a multi-disciplinary performance series, and an arts educator. Socrates’ existence is based on the belief that reclamation, revitalization and creative expression are essential to the survival, humanity and improvement of our urban environment.
The free artistic, cultural, and social programming at Socrates Sculpture Park is made possible, in part, by support from AG Foundation, Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Champlain Hudson Power Express, Charina Endowment Fund, City Parks Foundation, Con Edison, The Cowles Charitable Trust, Elmezzi Foundation, Equinor US, Sidney E. Frank Foundation, Hyde & Watson Foundation, Jerome Foundation, Lambent Foundation, Leon Levy Foundation, Mertz Gilmore Foundation, New York Community Trust, Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Spacetime C.C., The Socrates Sculpture Park Board of Directors, and our many generous individual donors.
Socrates’ programs are also supported, in part, by public funds from the Queens Borough President Donovan Richards; the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the New York City Council, the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency; and the National Endowment for the Arts.