Socrates Sculpture Park hires new executive director


Tamsin Dillon is the new Executive Director of Socrates Sculpture Park (Photo courtesy of Socrates Sculpture Park)

March 8, 2022 By Michael Dorgan

Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City has appointed a new executive director who has a long history of commissioning public artwork.

Tamsin Dillon, a Long Island City resident, took the job last month and said she looks forward to advancing the nonprofit’s mission of providing programs and displaying public works in the park, located at 32-01 Vernon Blvd.

She takes over the role previously held by John Hatfield, who stepped down last year after nine years at the helm of the nonprofit. Suzy Delvalle served as interim executive director from July 2021 until Dillion took over last month, according to a statement released by the organization.

Dillon’s career spans 25 years, during which she has curated and commissioned art projects across the UK and in New York. She has worked on projects in public squares, parks, railways, hospitals, forests and galleries. In 2018, she co-commissioned the painting of the FDNY fireboat John J. Harvey with a dazzling red and white pattern.

In 2018, Dilloin co-commissioned the painting of the FDNY fireboat John J. Harvey with a dazzling red and white pattern (Photo: Wikipedia)

“I am thrilled to join Socrates Sculpture Park…especially at a time when we are thinking more deeply about the value of our art institutions as public spaces,” said Dillon.

“The pandemic has shown us how essential places like Socrates are for the artists whose work we commission, our mental and physical health, the well-being of our communities and our ability to stay connected to each other.”

Dillon is responsible for leading an organization that is responsible for over 200,000 visitors to the park each year. Socrates manages the park in partnership with NYC Parks.

She said the park, which is known for its large public art exhibits, has become an institution of cultural and civic significance.

The five-acre site was transformed from an abandoned dump and illegal dump in 1986 into an open studio and exhibition space for artists. Since then, more than 1,000 artists have created and exhibited works in the park.

In 2021, Socrates produced and presented three major exhibitions as well as 170 unique programming dates ranging from one-day festivals to intimate workshops for small groups, according to the nonprofit.

The Socrates Board Transition Committee congratulated Dillon in a letter to staff and board members upon his appointment. The committee said she had the experience and expertise to lead the organization into the future.

“She carries a deep passion for both the need for green spaces in our urban centers and the growing role of art and artists in our communities,” the committee wrote.

“We are confident that Tamsin will inspire our staff, artists, partners and neighbors to think boldly about how the park can position itself as a leading role model at the intersection of art, the natural environment and of social justice.”

Socrates Sculpture Park during the exhibition ‘In Praise of Famous Men No More’, 2020 (Image courtesy of Socrates Sculpture Park)

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