CALL FOR PROPOSALS – Transformation

Fellowship recipients will receive a $8,000 production grant to support their project, a $2,000 honorarium, and three-months of seven-days-a-week access to the resources and fabrication facilities of the Park’s outdoor artist studio.

Artist Fellows are responsible for the fabrication, transportation (if necessary), and installation of their works. Socrates provides limited technical and installation assistance during a three-week installation period, M–F, 10AM–6PM. Specifics of installation assistance will be discussed with each artist selected.

Thematic Prompt: Transformation

Applicants to the 2023 Socrates Annual fellowship & exhibition program are encouraged to submit proposals focused on the idea of ‘Transformation’, with the goal of presenting public artwork for a fall 2023 group exhibition.

Transformation: A thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance or a complete change in the appearance or character of something or someone, especially so that thing or person is improved.

In nature, the metamorphosis of a seed into a plant or a caterpillar into a butterfly is often considered symbolic of how transformation is a good, necessary, and beautiful process. Transformation can also be tricky or painful, needing careful planning to consider why it is needed, what would happen without it, and what are the key ingredients for a successful outcome. Transformation might also question what is required to deal with changing circumstances in any situation.

The transformation of Socrates Sculpture Park itself is an on-going process. Abandoned land-fill site turned cultural space, community park and unique environment for artists, its goal of long-term sustainability is threatened by the impact of forces like gentrification and the climate crisis. Its continuing transformation will help build the resilience needed for that sustainable future.

What does transformation mean to you?


Learn more about the Fellowship from the Information Session video below (2022 Socrates Annual, with former Curator & Director of Exhibitions, Jess Wilcox & former 2021 Fellow & Director of Public Programs & Engagement, Aya Rodriguez-Izumi).

Please note: Some information, the theme, and Van Lier Fellowship are for the 2022 – 2023 cycle. There will not be a Van Lier Fellowship for the 2023 – 2024 cycle.

DEADLINE: Sunday December 4, 2022 by 11:59 PM  





Frequently Asked Questions Here


Currently Socrates has a construction project going on within the Park’s boundaries. The construction is blocked off with a fence and the amount of exhibition and programming space. This has changed and continues to change how pedestrians, staff, the public, and artists use the space.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to visit Socrates – a unique New York City public park located on the east river waterfront in an industrial area of Long Island City, Queens – and to explore the Park’s website to learn about the history and context of the organization and exhibition program. Visiting the Park will give applicants a better sense of the factors that affect installations and help impart insight into the facilities available at Socrates – from the tools and equipment in the studio to the resources of the surrounding neighborhood.

While creating proposals, we encourage artists to consider the scale of their proposed project in relationship to the changed landscape. We ask artists to create proposals that account for and complement the changed space during this moment of transition and transformation.

SSP Studio Equipment List


The Socrates Annual Fellowship program is based on a competitive, open application process. Completed on-line applications must be submitted by the deadline: Sunday, December 4; 11:59 PM and will be reviewed by the Socrates staff and outside curatorial advisors. The 2023 program will be highly selective this year, as Socrates devotes resources of an analysis of the program. Artists are chosen based on the compelling nature of the proposed project, clarity of intent, unique approaches to the site, and public context. Special consideration will be given to NYC-based artists of color under the age of 30.

Following the recommendations of the curatorial advisors, Socrates staff will contact applicants individually to discuss proposed projects before confirming the final selection in early 2023.


Once accepted, Socrates staff members will meet with each Artist Fellow to discuss project proposals in detail and begin to assist with the development, structural integrity, and installation of the work. Group meetings for all Artist Fellows and Socrates staff will take place over the course of the fellowship, starting in early spring of 2023, followed by an on-site orientation and individual progress meetings throughout the Fellowship to assess progress, troubleshoot issues, and review next steps. Selected proposals are subject to final approval by Socrates staff and must meet safety requirements to be able to withstand the effects of weather and public use.


Fellowships are awarded to artists whose careers and artistic practices would benefit from the opportunity. Artists who have applied before (but never shown at Socrates before) are eligible. Artists who have previously participated in the Fellowship and those enrolled in a school, college, or university during the fellowship period are NOT eligible.


Email with questions or concerns. Please allow for two working days for a reply.


Major support for The Socrates Annual Fellowship comes from the New York Community Trust, the Devra Freelander Artist Fund, and public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support is provided by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Cowles Charitable Trust, the Jerome Foundation, the Charina Foundation, the Sidney E. Frank Foundation, Maxine and Stuart Frankel Foundation, Agnes Gund, Lambent Foundation, Ivana Mestrovic, Leonard and Louise Riggio, Silvercup Studios, Spacetime C.C, Mark di Suvero, and Peter and Helen Warwick. The exhibition is funded, in part, by public funds from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts with support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

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.


Socrates Sculpture Park has been a model of public art production, community activism, and socially inspired place-making for over 35 years. 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. Open 365 days a year from dawn till dusk, the park is a center of cultural programming, as a producer of contemporary exhibitions, a presenter of a multi-disciplinary performance series, and an educator of more than 10,000 children and teens each year – all free. 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.

2022 Annual Fellow Daniel Shieh in progress with his sculpture Passage to TOI-700 d (the New World). Image: Joyce Chan