October 21, 2023 – May 5, 2024 Opening: October 21, 2023 (11am – 1pm)

Field Notes: Parts of a Whole
Collected drawings by Field Guide participants 2021-2023

Vinyl print
10 × 28 feet

On view October 21, 2023 – May 5, 2024


Since 2021, community members, neighbors, kids, parents, grandparents, artists, musicians, seed finders, cooks, gardeners, farmers, bird watchers, writers, poets, thinkers, finders, seekers, and explorers have gathered at Socrates to intentionally build a body of knowledge together.

Field Guide is a proposition: 

To bring these people together for a series of experimental workshops at the intersections of art, environmental appreciation, and mindfulness.

To plant the seeds in the park for vibrant growth: to attract pollinators with native plants, to grow fresh veggies we can eat right off the vine; to build relationships between each other and the world around us.

To collectively build a body of knowledge about this space and ourselves, and to archive it into a new farmers’ almanac about this transformative time. In each workshop we’ve cultivated notes and photographs, how-tos and haikus, artworks and artifacts, seed packets and drawings.

Field Notes: Parts of a Whole
is a gathering:

Aneesa Razak has gathered and woven together this constellation of drawings and observations from Field Guide participants.


Listen to a lively conversation about Field Guide and Field Notes: Parts of a Whole with Douglas Paulson, Director of Education, Aneesa Razak, Artist & Education Manager, and Carla Heyward, longterm Field Guide Participant

Find the Full Transcript HERE

Soundbite  (1;34 min)

Aneesa Razak, Artist & Education Manager, and Carla Heyward, Field Guide Participant discuss the essence of connection, creativity, and community of the Broadway Billboard Field Notes from Field Guide.

Highlights from the Conversation (6;59 min)


AR: I first saw the billboard I made up at Socrates when I was driving with my friend, and he points over to the billboard and is like “Look! that’s yours!” And I, as we drive closer, I see the little shapes become larger and larger. And then suddenly I’m like, Oh my God, I got size right! It looks awesome! And all these little drawings of plants and phrases, almost like annotations, and they’re all drawings from our workshops that we basically give out these clipboards with paper and we hand out markers and we ask our participants and visitors to draw something or write down notations of maybe how they felt, maybe something that they were thinking about; to draw on something that they’ve learned.

AR: And we keep those drawings, sometimes people put their names on them, sometimes they don’t. And those drawings have existed with us for about two – three years now. And they’re kind of sentimental because you look back on them and sometimes you could remember exactly what workshop it was or which person did it, or if it was a kid or an adult, or a moment that someone may have said something and it’s just set in time in these drawings.

CH: And, you know, as a participant, it’s it’s very nice because you kind of arrive on Planet Socrates on a Saturday – not really knowing what to expect. You have some kind of idea in the beginning as to what the workshop will be about, but you don’t know what your work will be upon completion, and it doesn’t even matter if you don’t complete anything. The key is participating.

CH: And what I always enjoyed was that not only did I have fun creating something, but I had fun really watching what everyone else did as well. So your billboard shows very eclectic work, and it shows that everybody really has an artistic skill set, whether you recognize it or not, and that’s appreciated too. So when I look at it, I guess I’m inspired because it makes me think, Oh boy, you know, now maybe it expands my own artwork and things that I would be interested in doing even beyond the Field Guide. But the Field Guide is the inspiration.

AR: I mean, we get people from all over the city and I think it’s amazing that someone chooses a Saturday, they decide, I want to learn about this thing or I’m super interested in this workshop, and they make their trek and they get to Socrates Sculpture Park. But it’s also I think my favorite is when someone who’s local, someone from Astoria, from the neighborhood, who’s never really, who’s stepped into the Park and interpreted it as a New York City Park, a regular place to go to, but then they see this odd sculptures and they’re like, “What’s this? What’s going on?”

CH: Right, right.

AR: And then they see like a workshop happening and they come and they ask about it. And then we invite them to the next one, and then they come, and then they discover a whole new thing. Maybe planting, maybe herb exploration. I learned the most from people who are local and have never really had a space to educate themselves, and especially people that are older that come into our workshops and they’re like, “Wow! I never knew this and you know, I’m going to keep coming here.” It makes me super happy.

CH: It’s a multi dimensional thing, I think, you know, show up and just be open to whatever’s going on, take a deep breath and relax and enjoy it. And it’s a wonderful, wonderful experience. So, I mean, speaking for myself gained a lot of knowledge, some new friends. It’s a beautiful thing.

DP: And then but of course, Socrates is a public park, so it really undermines that phenomenon. All of a sudden you have like world class artists and there’s kids climbing on their work and then there’s like frisbees get stuck on art, and dogs on it, and then it’s like – it’s contemporary art.

AR: Yeah

DP: People are doing amazing things.

CH: Right, right.

DP: So I feel like in this drawing, the billboard you’ve made – this constellation of artists works. It’s so evident and as you’re saying it, it opens the door. It’s the perfect greeting because it opens the door for a – Oh, this is an intergenerational space.

CH: It captures what’s going on.

DP: And a community space – it’s like this community drawing that Aneesa pulls together. But it’s made over the course of years, thousands of people maybe.

Field Guide Staff

Aneesa Razek began her time at Socrates in the after school art-making program Socrateens. She currently co-leads Field Guide workshops with Doug and can often be found foraging in the Education Gardens.

Douglas Paulson is an artist and Director of Education at Socrates Sculpture Park.

Field Guide workshops are free and open to the public. Christina Delfico, Heidi Neilson, Anna Poaster,  Pamela Reyes, Jeannette Rodríguez Píneda, and Marcela Torres. have helped shape the contours of Field Guide, and of course, all the participants who come on Saturday mornings rain or shine. Thank you.

Learn more about our Field Guide Educators HERE —>

Image credit: Photo credit: Joyce S. Chan, Working image ‘Field Notes: Parts of a Whole,’ Aneesa Razek