We believe deeply in public space as the physical infrastructure our civic fabric. Creating and maintaining these spaces, activating them with community programming, beautifying them with art, and envisioning how they can meet the needs of the moment have been the focus of a range of projects supported by SNF.
The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) in Athens
SNF’s largest single grant to date created the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC), a truly public space in Athens, Greece, that is home to the Greek National Opera, the National Library of Greece, one of the city’s largest green spaces, and a host of cultural programming and activities for all ages and interests.
The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library (SNFL), New York’s newest library
A rooftop terrace in Midtown Manhattan topped by a whimsical “wizard’s hat,” a light-filled long room with five levels of browsable book stacks, a center serving lifelong learners, a dedicated floor for kids and teens where they can see behind the scenes as books are sorted, and more await New Yorkers at the city’s newest library. The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library (SNFL), the New York Public Library’s wholly remade central circulating branch, is officially open as of June 1, 2021.
The Stavros Niarchos Foundation-Lincoln Center Agora Initiative
The Stavros Niarchos Foundation-Lincoln Center Agora Initiative is a collaboration between SNF and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts to reactivate and reimagine public space in the COVID-19 era and beyond. Through the grant, which creates an axis of artistic and cultural exchange between Lincoln Center in New York City and the SNFCC in Athens, Lincoln Center’s iconic 16-acre Manhattan campus serves as an “agora,” a public gathering place at the center of civic life, through artistic and community activations.
Opening streets to pedestrians in Greece’s biggest cities
As part of €10 million grants to both municipalities for innovative interventions to improve quality of life, streets in the urban centers of Athens and Thessaloniki were redesigned for pedestrians.
Parks in New York City
Urban parks have always been oases for relaxation, exercise, and hanging out, but never more so than during the pandemic. A number of SNF grants during the pandemic and over the years have supported the organizations keeping New York’s green spaces verdant and inviting for all New Yorkers:
- NYC Green Relief and Recovery Fund in providing urgent relief to the stewardship nonprofits managing the city’s outdoor public spaces during the pandemic
- The Trust for Governors Island in enriching the island’s vast public space with art commissions addressing themes of climate change, sustainability, racial equity, and social justice following a year of COVID-19, building on a previous SNF grant supporting another monumental work there
- The completion of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park
- The Center for an Urban Future in publishing a report on New York City parks, “A New Leaf: Revitalizing New York City’s Aging Parks Infrastructure”
- The establishment of a statuary maintenance fund for Athens Square Park in Queens
- The Greenbelt Venture Program in helping middle schoolers from underserved areas of the borough access, enjoy, and learn from the Staten Island Greenbelt
- Summer programming for kids, families, and teens at Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens
- Lower Manhattan Cultural Council in creating LentSpace Park, which transformed an empty New York City block into a temporary community space
- Brooklyn Greenway Initiative in creating a master plan for the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway
- Wave Hill, a public garden in the Bronx, in offering its Family Art Project
Turning public schools into open community centers after hours
After the school day ends, the Open Schools initiative transforms schools around Athens into pop-up community centers open to local residents of all ages.
Explore more grants
- A vision from renowned architect Renzo Piano for reunifying the Archaeological Museum of Sparta’s garden and the main square in front of the city hall to create a magnificent open space in the center of Sparta
- Public Libraries from Queens, to Brooklyn, to Veria in Northern Greece, and beyond
- The Future Library Network, established at the initiative of SNF to enhance public libraries around Greece
Learn more about SNF’s support for creating space for robust civic life, thriving culture, and healthy democracies