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Director of Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City to Step Down

Executive Director of Socrates Sculpture Park in Astoria John Hatfield (Image: SSP)

Oct. 14, 2020 By Michael Dorgan

The executive director of Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City is stepping down after nine years in the role.

John Hatfield will leave his post next year once his successor has been chosen, according to a statement released by the organization Wednesday.

Hatfield took the position in 2012 and has since overseen several milestones, including the non-profit’s 30th anniversary, facility upgrades, an expanded digital presence and a catalog publication program.

Several art exhibits were commissioned at the park, located at 32-01 Vernon Blvd., during his tenure including works by acclaimed artists Agnes Denes and Nari Ward. The park also bolstered its social and arts education programming under Hatfield.

Hatfield said he was privileged to lead the organization and the time was right to implement change.

“Socrates remains fiscally sound, and after a successful presentation of ‘MONUMENTS NOW,’ our current exhibition, it is a good time to facilitate a transition before another programming season begins in early spring of 2021,” Hatfield said.

He said that the park holds a special place in the cultural landscape of the city and he was proud that it remained open during the pandemic.

“There have been many accomplishments during my tenure, and I am confident that even greater accomplishments will follow with a new executive director,” he said.

Socrates manages the park in partnership with NYC Parks. Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver said that the park thrived under Hatfield’s leadership.

“Over the past nine years, John’s promotion and activation of the space has boldly advanced the creative and equitable vision of this unique art park,” Silver said.

“We commend Socrates Sculpture Park’s expansion during his tenure, and we look forward to the selection of a new Executive Director who will further innovate and expand the Park’s mission,” he said.

The park’s board of directors has put together a transition committee to search for Hatfield’s replacement and said they expect a new Executive Director to begin by the middle of 2021.

Nona Faustine, ‘In Praise of Famous Men No More,’ 2020 (Image is part of the ‘Monuments Now’ exhibit and provided by the Artist and Socrates Sculpture Park)

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Ghost of Leviticus

Socrates was part of the white-male patriarchy! How could such an indispensable sculpture park be named after him??? I am outraged!! Hear me whine!!


I see you’re a man of culture….

It was literally a dump before it was made into a sculpture park.


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