Socrates Annual Fellowship

Socrates Sculpture Park

Long Island City, New York 11106


Dec 10, 2020


Dec 07, 2020

‘The 2021 Socrates Annual’ awards ten artists – selected through open-call application process by a curatorial jury – with the funding, technical assistance, and administrative support needed to realize ambitious public art projects for dedicated exhibition in the Park’s landscape. Rather than adhering to a specific theme, ‘The Socrates Annual’ program seeks to showcase each Artist Fellow’s unique vision and practice.

Specifically, each Artist Fellow receives a $6,000 production grant to support their project, a $1,500 honorarium, and three-months of seven-days-a-week access to the resources and fabrication facilities of the Park’s outdoor artist studio.

Artist Fellows are responsible for the fabrication, transportation (if necessary) and installation of their works. Socrates will provide limited technical and installation assistance during a three-week installation period, M-F, 10am – 6pm. Specifics of installation assistance will be discussed with each artist selected.

Since its inception in 1986, Socrates Sculpture Park has been referred to as a sanctuary for both the public and artists. Applicants to ‘The 2021 Socrates Annual’ fellowship & exhibition program are encouraged to submit proposals focused on the idea of sanctuary in its various manifestations – with the goal of presenting public artwork for a fall 2021 group exhibition.

The word “sanctuary” derives from the Latin “sanctus” meaning, “holy” and signifies a sacred or holy place. The word’s secular meanings are now more frequently employed, such as the broader “place of refuge or safety” or the more specific “nature reserve”. In Medieval times, political fugitives and debtors sought sanctuary at the church as a place of immunity and asylum, and the word today retains some of the connotation of spirituality from this early connection to religion. Sanctuary is not just a place of shelter and protection but also a place of reverence imbued with the energy of social generosity.

We welcome artists to consider all forms of sanctuary: spaces of rest and pause – offering a haven from the speed and demands of urban life; communities where immigrants undocumented and documented are protected from persecution; places of meditation and rumination on the social, political, and ethical challenges of contemporary society; and environments for non-human lives: plant, animal, bacteria, fungus in a world not entirely distinct and separate from humans but always in relationship to them.

What does sanctuary mean to you? And most crucially, how can art function as a sanctuary, a place of refuge, rest and meditation – without resorting to escapism? During the current economic, social, environmental and public health crises how can public art provide a sanctuary and aid the process of healing?

Applicants are strongly encouraged to visit Socrates – a unique New York City public park located on the east river waterfront in an industrial area of Long Island City, Queens – and to explore the Park’s website to learn about the history and context of the organization and exhibition program. Visiting the Park will give applicants a better sense of the factors that affect installations and help impart insight into the facilities available at Socrates – from the tools and equipment in the studio to the resources of the surrounding neighborhood.

Socrates fellowships are awarded to artists whose careers and artistic practices would benefit from the opportunity. Artists who are enrolled in a school, college, or university during the fellowship period are NOT eligible for ‘The Socrates Annual’ program. Artists who have applied to the program before, but never exhibited work at Socrates, ARE eligible to apply again.

The New York Community Trust’s Edward and Sally Van Lier Fellowship provides support for talented, culturally diverse, economically disadvantaged young people in the arts. Two of the ten artists selected for ‘The 2021 Socrates Annual’ will be awarded the Van Lier Fellowship. You are eligible for the Van Lier Fellowship if you meet the following criteria:

-Are thirty years or younger at the start of the fellowship (April 15, 2021)
-Identify racially and or culturally with a historically underrepresented community
-Are a New York City-resident
-Have not previously received a Van Lier Fellowship

Please email curatorial@socratessculpturepark.org with questions or concerns.