NYC Design Safari

Socrates Sculpture Park

Posted on December 7, 2021 | posted by: alira081

The Socrates Sculpture Park is located in New York City, Queens near the waterfront, and it is a park dedicated to supporting artists and presentation of public art. 

When referring to a piece of land often it only is what is presently physically seen that is acknowledged, such as buildings, museums, restaurants, stores, monuments. However, land, just like people has stories. Stories with heartbreak and scars, and stories with memories and smiles. 

The park was abandoned as a landfill up until 1986 when members of the community under the leadership of artist Mark Di Suvero redesigned it into an exhibition space. Today, the park has presented over 1,000 different artists and is also open every single day of the year! 

Socrates Sculpture Park is an example of how the land can be reclaimed and turned into something special. As part of creating this positive impact, the park recognizes its indigenous roots, it is located on Lenape land, its full name is Lenapehoking, or as we know it: New York City. More specifically the park is land to the Canarsee, the Munsee, the Lenape, the Shinnecock, the Rockaway, the Ronkonkoma, the Mohawk, and many others that have been overshadowed by other pieces of history such as colonialism. 

Before it became “Socrates Sculpture Park” in the 17th and 18th century the land experienced dangerous tides and winds causing harmful navigation conditions for people, such as the 1780 shipwreck of the British Marine. After these tragedies, it turned from an abandoned marine terminal into an abandoned dumping site, and today, a cultural institution that hosts community programs, celebrates artists, provides tours, internships, employment, and learning opportunities. As of December 14th, 1998 Socrates Sculpture Park has officially been recognized as a Parkland Site.

Interviewing Audrey

Q: How do you think that the way that someone like myself as a user or a museum-goer, how do my interactions with art change now that I’m in an outdoor space?

A:  “I think so many things change, even just like our bodies energetically respond to the world, to the land, to the wind, to the sounds, and so to be out of a four-walled space that is usually asking you to be careful, not touch things and be quiet, not run around, not yell so to be in proximity with a piece of art that you can touch, you can climb under, that you can get close to, that you can feel and experience. I think that it really speaks to what art is and what it should be, which is this ecosystem of all these feelings and all these energies playing together because I don’t think that art should just be in a box. I’m glad that it is there and that there are spaces for it. But art should be something that is with us and accessible to us all the time, not something we need to stay far away from.”