Socrates Sculpture Park
Socrates Sculpture Park is the principal outdoor site for contemporary sculpture in New York City. Set on a small cove off the East River, the 4.5-acre park consists of a large open space encircled by rock gardens, specially built walls, walkways and areas of wild grasses and boulders lining the waterfront. The sculpture has the dramatic Manhattan skyline as a backdrop.
New exhibitions are produced twice annually, in the late spring and in the fall. Socrates is the only New York City park that regularly exhibits sculpture by some of the world’s most renowned artists, alongside projects by some of the nation’s most promising emerging artists. Most of the work at the park is created on site and designed specifically to interact with its surroundings. Often visitors have the unique opportunity to experience art being made and meet artists working on site. Children are encouraged to touch, climb and interact with the sculpture, an experience that is unusual and unique to Socrates. Socrates opened in 1986, founded by the artists Mark di Suvero and Enrico Martignoni, working with local community residents. Sculptors exhibiting at the park have included Vito Acconci, Beverly Pepper, Keith Haring, Eduardo Chillida and many others.
Programs for Seniors
Weekly adult education program
The park’s natural setting and officially sanctioned policy allowing visitors to touch the sculptures make it a family-centered destination. Tours of the park are offered to groups with advance registration. Socrates also hosts semi-annual opening celebrations and presents Socrates Live, a professional performance series of multicultural works. Special lectures and workshops are available to residents and youth from the surrounding neighborhood. Many educational programs are offered, including a free Summer Saturday Painting program available on a drop-in basis. Call in advance for the schedule. Celebrate the Environment is an art and ecology series that offers a diverse program of sculpture, painting and drawing with a special focus on environmental issues that are specific to the urban park setting. Preregistration is necessary, and community groups, youth centers and summer day camps are encouraged to participate.
- Season: Year-round
- Admission: Free or sliding scale
The Education Program at Socrates manages a series of school partnership programs, classes and art-making workshops, as well as special events and festivals. All programs are free. School tours and art-making workshops are tailore to individual schools and other groups. Teaching artists conduct tours that include open discussions with the students, followed by art-making workshops inspired by the works on view in the park. In addition, Socrates provides high school and college students the opportunity to participate in internships and offers employment to local teens through the New York City Department of Employment’s Youth Employment Program (YEP).
- Program Location: At facility only
- Program Season: Year-round
- Fees: Free or sliding scale
- Special Education Programs? Yes