Socrates Sculpture Park welcomes new leader as search for permanent director continues

John Hatfield stepped down as executive director at Socrates Sculpture Park and handed the reins over to Suzy Delvalle as the search continues for a permanent leader. (Photo courtesy of Socrates Sculpture Park)

Socrates Sculpture Park has a new leader — for now.

Suzy Delvalle has been named interim executive director, taking over for John Hatfield, who held the post for nearly a decade before he stepped down in October 2020. A search for the new director is ongoing.

The artist oasis on Vernon Boulevard was created by a coalition of artists and community members who transformed an East River landfill and illegal dumpsite into an open studio and exhibition space in 1986.

“John Hatfield has grown the organization in innumerable ways during his nine years here, including doubling the operating budget and staff size, and ushering in new exhibitions that have garnered critical acclaim,” Delvalle said. “I look forward to working with Socrates’ rich family of artists, staff and collaborators, as well as the surrounding community.”

Delvalle most recently served as president and executive director of Creative Capital, a national nonprofit organization that supports innovative and adventurous artists across the country through funding, counsel, gatherings and career development services. She is known as a “fierce advocate for art and artists.”

With more than 20 years of leadership experience in the cultural sector, Devalle has committed her career to enhancing the impact of mission-based organizations and building opportunity and equity in the arts.

“The board is excited that Suzy is serving as interim director during this important time for the organization,” Socrates Board Secretary and Treasurer Ivana Mestrovic said. “Suzy brings a wealth of experience working with artists and communities, and we have the utmost faith in her ability to lead Socrates as we continue to search for a permanent executive director.”

As the second director in Creative Capital’s history, Delvalle oversaw some of the most dramatic changes in the organization’s two-decade history. Under her leadership, Creative Capital increased its annual budget by 20 percent and further developed the board with 12 new active members while also establishing a National Advisory Council. She also expanded services to artists by instituting annual Creative Capital Awards and retreats.

“Suzy has been a valued colleague in the field for many years, and I am thrilled to hand the reins over to her,” Hatfield said. “I am immensely proud of the organization’s progress over the last nine years and all that the board, staff and I have accomplished together.”

Hatfield will join the NYU faculty in September to teach a course for their graduate program in Museum Studies.

While exploring other pursuits, 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 is on the ancestral land of the Lenape, Canarsie and Matinecock peoples.

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