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Socrates Sculpture Park has a new leader – for now.
Suzy Delvalle has been appointed interim executive director, succeeding John Hatfield, who held the position for almost a decade before stepping down in October 2020. The search for a new director is underway.
The Artist Oasis on Vernon Boulevard was created by a coalition of artists and community members who transformed an East River landfill and illegal landfill into an open studio and exhibition space in 1986.
“John Hatfield has grown the organization in countless ways over his nine years here, including doubling the operating budget and staff size, and opening new exhibitions that have been critically acclaimed,” said declared Delvalle. “I look forward to working with the rich family of artists, staff and collaborators of Socrates, as well as the surrounding community. “
Delvalle was most recently President and Executive Director of Creative Capital, a national non-profit organization that supports innovative and adventurous artists across the country through funding, advice, gatherings, and career development services. She is known as an “ardent defender of art and artists”.
With over 20 years of leadership experience in the cultural sector, Devalle has dedicated his career to improving the impact of mission-based organizations and creating opportunity and equity in the arts.
“The board is delighted that Suzy is taking on the role of interim director during this important time for the organization,” said Ivana Mestrovic, secretary and treasurer of the board of directors of Socrates. “Suzy brings a wealth of experience working with artists and communities, and we have the utmost confidence in her ability to lead Socrates as we continue to seek a permanent executive director.”
As the second director in the history of Creative Capital, Delvalle has overseen some of the most dramatic changes in the organization’s two-decade history. Under his leadership, Creative Capital increased its annual budget by 20% and expanded the board of directors with 12 new active members while creating a National Advisory Board. It has also expanded its services to artists by instituting Creative Capital Awards and annual retreats.
“Suzy has been a valued colleague in the field for many years, and I am delighted to hand over the reins to her,” said Hatfield. “I am extremely proud of the progress of the organization over the past nine years and of all that the board, staff and I have accomplished together.
Hatfield will be joining NYU faculty in September to teach a course for their graduate program in Museum Studies.
While exploring other activities, he will continue to serve in an advisory capacity on the Socrates Capital Project to build a permanent structure in the 5-acre park, which sits on the ancestral land of the Lenape, Canarsie and Matinecock peoples.