Mar. 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 over the position last month and said she is looking forward to advancing the non-profit’s mission of providing programming and displaying public works at the park, located at 32-01 Vernon Blvd.
She is stepping into the role previously occupied by John Hatfield, who stepped down from the position last year after nine years at the helm of the non-profit. 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 throughout the UK and in New York. She has worked on projects at public squares, parks, railways, hospitals, forests and galleries. In 2018, she co-commissioned the repainting of the FDNY fireboat John J. Harvey with a red and white dazzle pattern.
“I’m thrilled to be joining Socrates Sculpture Park… especially at such a time where we’re thinking more deeply about the value of our arts institutions as public spaces,” Dillon said.
“The pandemic showed us how critical places like Socrates are to the artists whose work we commission, our mental and physical health, the wellbeing of our communities and our ability to stay connected to one another.”
Dillon is tasked with leading an organization that is responsible for more than 200,000 visitors to the park each year. Socrates manages the park in partnership with NYC Parks.
She said that the park, which is known for its large public art exhibits, has grown to be an institution of cultural and civic importance.
The five-acre site was transformed from an abandoned landfill and illegal dumpsite in 1986 to an open studio and exhibition space for artists. Since then, more than 1,000 artists have created and exhibited works at the park.
In 2021, Socrates produced and presented three major exhibitions along with 170 dates of unique programming ranging from full-day festivals to intimate workshops for small groups, according to the non-profit.
Socrates Board Transition Committee praised Dillon in a letter to staff and board members upon her appointment. The committee said that she has the experience and expertise to lead the organization into the future.
“She carries a profound passion for both the necessity of green space in our urban centers and for the expanding 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 principal model for the intersection of art, the natural environment and social justice.”