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Socrates Sculpture Park celebrates opening of new education and administration building

Interior view of the second floor of The Cubes at Socrates Sculpture Park. Photo by Kamila Harris Photography

Apr. 23, 2024 By Ethan Marshall

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to celebrate the opening of Socrates Sculpture Park’s new education and administration building, The Cubes, on Friday, Apr. 19.

The waterfront park is located at 32-01 Vernon Boulevard in Long Island City, just on the border of Astoria.

Exterior of The Cubes at Socrates Sculpture Park. Photo by Kamila Harris Photography

The Cubes marks the first New York City Parks Department facility at Socrates Sculpture Park. This building will allow the park to expand programming year-round while also providing new opportunities for visitors, educators, artists, and local communities.

The ribbon cutting for The Cubes at Socrates Sculpture Park. (Left to right) Ivana Mestrovic, Studio Director of Spacetime C.C. and Board President of Socrates Sculpture Park; Sreoshy Banerjea, Executive Director of NYC Public Design Commission; Laurie Cumbo, Commissioner of Cultural Affairs NYC; Sue Donahue, Commissioner of NYC Parks; Donovan Richards, Queens Borough President; Stuart Match Suna, Founder of Silvercup Studios Board President of Socrates Sculpture Park; Saun Leonardo, Co-Director of Recess Art and Board Member of Socrates Sculpture Park; Katie Dixon, Interim Executive Director of Socrates Sculpture Park. Photo by Kamila Harris Photography

Many Queens community members and leaders were present for the ribbon-cutting ceremony, including Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donahue, Socrates Sculpture Park Board President Ivana Mestrovic, and many others.

Photo by Kamila Harris Photography

“This is a transformative moment for Socrates Sculpture Park – we’ve never had a permanent building inside the Park before,” Mestrovic said. “It really cements our place in New York history from landfill to a sustainable site for art and culture.”

The first-floor interior of The Cubes at Socrates Sculpture Park. Photo by Kamila Harris Photography

The completion and opening of this new education and administration building is also meant to mark a new era for Socrates Sculpture Park that reflects the rapidly changing communities of Long Island City and Astoria. This is done so by presenting the building as a new interactive space for park visitors.

(Left to right) Sue Donahue, Ivana Mestrovic, Stuart Match Suna and Katie Dixon. Photo by Kamila Harris Photography

“As the only park in New York City dedicated to the arts, Socrates Sculpture Park is a unique gem in our parks system – and with the opening of The Cubes, New Yorkers can now enjoy even more from this extraordinary resource,” Donoghue said. “The new structure’s inventive design and use of up-cycled materials promotes environmental sustainability while creating beautiful new spaces for administration, educational programming and art displays, which can now be enjoyed year-round. This is the culmination of decades of hard work, and I am so grateful to the dedicated and generous individuals who have made this new building possible.”

(Left to right) Agnes Gund, Chairman of the Board of Directors at the Museum of Modern Art, Ivana Mestrovic, Amy Hau, Executive Director of The Noguchi Museum, former Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer and Stuart Match Suna. Photo by Kamila Harris Photography

The $5.7 million construction project for this building began with the donation of a shipping container studio from the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2014.
The construction process was a multifaceted city-wide partnership. Designed by the architecture firm LOT-EK, The Cubes spans over 2,600 square feet and is two stories tall. Environmentally forward-thinking materials emphasizing reuse, adaptability and sustainability were used in the construction of the building.

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards speaks at the ribbon cutting ceremony for The Cubes at Socrates Sculpture Park. Photo by Kamila Harris Photography

“Socrates Sculpture Park is one of Queens’ crown jewels, and it’s great to see them expand with their new building, The Cubes,” Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. said at the Ribbon Cutting. “With this new building, Socrates Sculpture Park will continue to serve the community with even more artwork and educational programming for our kids and adults to enjoy year-round. Congratulations to them!”
A 1986 collective act of land reclamation by local artists, activists and community members led to the establishment of Socrates Sculpture Park. What was once an abandoned and contaminated landfill is now a cultural anchor for the borough of Queens. In addition to being a public green space, Socrates Sculpture Park also produces and presents contemporary art from early- and mid-career artists for over 200,000 visitors annually.

Cultural Affairs NYC Commissioner Laurie Cumbo speaks at the ribbon cutting for The Cubes. Photo by Kamila Harris Photography

“Socrates Sculpture Park is such an amazing place for New Yorkers of all ages to connect with each other and with the amazing artwork and cultural programming that happens in this special space,” said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Laurie Cumbo. “Big thanks to our Parks Department colleagues for creating this incredible new facility at Socrates, which is the first permanent structure on the grounds. Now, New Yorkers can experience Socrates’ amazing programming year-round, no matter the weather. Plan your visit today!”
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