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Tamsin Dillon. Photo: Thierry Bal.
Tamsin Dillon. Photo: Thierry Bal.

Tamsin Dillon Named Executive Director of Socrates Sculpture Park

Tamsin Dillon, a curator with broad experience in commissioning public art, has been announced as the next director of the Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City, Queens. She will take the reins from Suzy Delvalle, who has served as interim director since July, following the departure of longtime executive director John Hatfield. Dillon will step into her new role later this month.

Dillon was chosen by the Socrates Transition Committee, comprising Michelle Coffey, Robert F. Goldrich, Shaun Leonardo, Ivana Mestrovic, and Brooke Kamin Rapaport following a yearlong search. “Tamsin is an innovative cultural leader [who]will take Socrates into the next stage of its evolution. 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,” said the committee in a statement. “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.”

Dillon’s career, spanning more than twenty-five years, has been marked by a commitment to commissioning and placing contemporary art in public settings, from public squares to hospitals to forests. Having worked closely with cultural and noncultural organizations in support of the above-stated mission, she is most recently the director of Art in Public, which she founded as the Covid-19 crisis surged and as Black Lives Matter ascended, allowing both those turbulent forces to reshape her objective and her methods of achieving it. Among the recent public commissions with which she has been involved are “Waterfronts “ (2021), which saw seven new large-scale temporary sculptures by artists including Mariana Castillo Deball, Holly Hendry, Pilar Quinteros, Michael Rakowitz placed along England’s coast; Tate Galleries’ Fourth Plinth commissions (2008–19); and, with New York’s Public Art Fund, Tauba Auerbach’s dazzled fireboat (2018–19). She served as director of London’s Art on the Underground program for over a decade.

“Socrates has a unique and special history,” said Dillon. “Established by an artist for other artists, for the community, and as a vital natural resource, it has grown to be an institution of both cultural and civic importance. The pandemic showed us how critical places like Socrates are to the artists whose work we commission, our mental and physical health, to the wellbeing of our communities, and to our ability to stay connected to one another. I’m looking forward to collaborating with our incredibly creative and committed staff, Board, artists, and community partners on advancing the way we engage with our art, our natural environment, and with each other.”