Dara Katrina Del Rosario
Communications & Partnerships Manager
415-863-1414 x103, [email protected]

SOMArts Cultural Center Presents

Exhibition July 19–September 3, 2019
Opening Reception, Thursday, July 18, 2019, 6–9pm

Wednesday, July 3, 2019, San Francisco, CA–  For four decades, nestled beneath the 101 freeway has sat  SOMArts Cultural Center, an industrial warehouse turned creative oasis for the Bay Area’s most experimental and groundbreaking artists. Creative visionaries and community leaders like  Bernice Bing, Betsie Miller-Kusz, Leo Valledor, Katie Gilmartin, Carlos Loarca, and Rene Yañez have been essential in cementing the organization’s reputation as a champion of culture and advocacy. Curators Kevin B. Chen and Rio Yañez honor SOMArts’ radical forty year legacy in their upcoming exhibition, Building the Building

“The full name of the organization is South of Market Arts, Resources, Technology, and Services, which points to an earlier era of the organization which provided much needed and much used support services for arts organizations throughout the city, such as the mural resource center, graphic design and printing, costume bank and rentals, and a service that constructed stages, sound and lighting systems for performances in every neighborhood. Even though SOMArts doesn’t offer these services currently, it is part of an important legacy that has helped to shape and create culture in the city,” says Kevin B. Chen. 

Through the stewardship of past and current leadership, including Bernice Bing, Jack Davis, Lex Leifheit, Jess Young, and Maria Jenson, Building the Building contemplates SOMArts as a microcosm of the Bay Area, whose identity is greatly shaped by the regions artists, collectives, movements, and rebellions. As Chen affirms, “Even in our highly digitized and mediated world, physical buildings still play a crucial role in developing and sustaining community.” 

Amongst the stellar list of exhibiting artists are E. Oscar Maynard and Cece Carpio, both debuting new works. SOMArts’ annex will house a large scale, paper and light installation by prolific artist Victor Mario Zaballa and Ann Chamberlain, and Oliver DiCicco showcases seven interactive kinetic sound sculptures across the main gallery floor. Peter Max Lawrence gender queers heteronormative body ideals through multiple tropes. Johanna Poethig revisits her piece, High Stakes Divination Cards, providing tarot readings during the run of show. Environmentally conscious artist Truong Tran uses recycled materials to imagine the possibilities of the discarded. 

Opening on Thursday, July 18, 6–9pm, the free, all ages reception includes curatorial remarks with special performances by Rhodessa Jones and former SOMArts curatorial residents missTANGQ and Jyun Jyun. 

Public programs in conjunction with this exhibition include a film screening of The Worlds of Bernice Bing during the closing reception on Thursday, August 29, 6–9pm. This screening is in partnership with Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center (APICC) and Asian American Women Artists Association (AAWAA). 

Bernice Bing
Cece Carpio
Ann Chamberlain
Oliver DiCicco
Katie Gilmartin
Nancy Hom
Peter Max Lawrence
E. Oscar Maynard
Betsie Miller-Kusz
Johanna Poethig
Karen Seneferu
Malik Senerferu
Truong Tran
Leo Valledor
Rene Yañez
Victor Mario Zaballa

Kevin B. Chen
Rio Yanez

All calendar listings are free, all ages, and open to the public unless otherwise stated

Exhibition Run
Friday, July 19– Tuesday, September 3, 2019
Gallery hours: Tuesday–Friday 12–7pm & Saturday 12–5pm

For more information, visit

Opening Reception
Thursday, July 18, 6–9pm
Free, all ages reception celebrating the opening of Building the Building with curatorial remarks and performances by Rhodessa Jones, missTANGQ and Jyun Jyun. 

For more information, visit

High Stakes Divination Reading & Release
Saturday, August 10, 1–3pm

The High Stakes Divination Cards play with the powers of suggestion using the resonance of image and text as a form of prediction. Oras Ligaya aka Johanna Poethig will present her High Stakes Cards installation and reading for SOMArts

For more information, visit

Closing Reception
Thursday, August 29, 6–9pm
Closing reception with film screening of The Worlds of Bernice Bing in partnership with Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center and Asian American Women Artists Association.



SOMArts Cultural Center, founded in 1979, cultivates access to the arts within the Bay Area by collaborating with community-focused artists and organizations. Together, we engage the power of the arts to provoke just and fair inclusion, cultural respect and civic participation.

SOMArts plays a vital role in the arts ecosystem by helping activate the arts citywide. We do this by providing space and production support for non-profit events, as well as fairs and festivals throughout the Bay Area, and offering a robust program of art exhibitions, classes, events and performances that are affordable and accessible to all. SOMArts’ exhibition programs receive critical support from the San Francisco Arts Commission and The San Francisco Foundation, and are sponsored in part by a grant from Grants for the Arts.

SOMArts is located at 934 Brannan Street—between 8th and 9th—within 2 blocks of 101, I-80, Muni lines and bike paths.

For public information call 415-863-1414 or visit Stay connected by following us on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.

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