SOMArts Cultural Center (South of Market Arts, Resources, Technology, and Services) was founded in 1979 to serve artists and cultural communities in San Francisco by providing exhibition opportunities, affordable space and technical services in the belief that the arts build strong communities.
Today, SOMArts fulfills its mission, "to promote art on the community level and to foster an appreciation of and respect for all cultures," through the following programs.
Affordable Space Program
SOMArts provides below-market space to over 80 nonprofits each year, including six tenant organizations who have office or studio space and a wide range of arts and culture sector nonprofits who use the space for student showcases, art auctions, exhibitions, performances and classes. SOMArts’ 17,000 sq ft space includes a dance studio, two classrooms, a darkroom, a printmaking studio, a theater, two galleries, and a theater.
Main Gallery Exhibitions & Programs
SOMArts is a critical resource for contemporary arts production in San Francisco. The organization produces three of its own curated exhibitions annually, along with numerous collaborative programs, and provides space for up to six more through the Commons Curatorial Residency Program. The vaulted, 2-story gallery is 3,100 sq feet, a majestic space and the largest open gallery space in the city.
SOMArts’ Technical Services Program offers wheelchair-accessible lifts, staging, pa systems and consultation for San Francisco’s many street fairs and festivals ranging from small neighborhood film screenings to San Francisco Pride to the Chinatown New Year Parade. The program has a rich history and has been working with most arts and culture festivals since their grassroots beginnings.
Day of the Dead Exhibition
SOMArts’ annual Day of the Dead exhibition features over 36 installations ranging from artists at all stages of professional development, and celebrates many cultures and perspectives. While the exhibition is fascinating to all ages, over 700 children from nearby schools come each year to discover traditional art practices and contemporary explorations of the Day of the Dead.
SOMArts hosts the longest-running figure drawing class in San Francisco and is home to a number of dance, printmaking, photography and martial arts classes.
SOMArts is the fiscal sponsor to several emerging organizations and projects.