SOMArts’ Curatorial Residency provides curators with a project stipend, production support and professional development needed to execute a large-scale exhibition in SOMArts’ 31,000 square foot gallery. Three residencies are awarded each year and are designed to offer emerging and mid-career artists and curators tools to further their curatorial practice and use exhibitions as a space to explore timely social issues.

The strongest proposals are those who serve SOMArts’ mission of leveraging the power of art as a tool for social change.

ARTISTS/CURATORS SELECTED RECEIVE 9 months of access and support from SOMArts’ experienced staff and local artists and curators to mount a large scale 4 week exhibition and community engagement activities in SOMArts’ Main Gallery during one of the following months:

November – December, 2019
January – February, 2020
March – April, 2020

Community engagement activities may include work–in–progress events, panel discussions, talk–back sessions, artist talks, gallery tours, educational forums or other activities to highlight an artist’s work and engage audience.

SOMArts also offers :

  • A $5000 project grant
  • Installation support
  • Technical & event production support
  • Community engagement & public relations support
  • Monthly workshops (April–August)

Curatorial Residents must be available to attend an advocacy or donor cultivation event and must submit a final report within 60 days of project completion.


The first step is to submit a Letter of Intent (LOI)
Deadline: Tuesday, January 7,2019, 5pm.
Apply Here: https://www.tfaforms.com/4699245

Online Info Session
Thursday, December 6, 2018 7:00–8:00pm.
An opportunity to talk to the Curatorial Residency program organizers online and ask any questions you might have about the application process or the residency. If interested, email Carolina Quintanilla at [email protected] to RSVP.

Applicants will be notified of the results of the preliminary review by January  18, 2019.

For the second step, select proposals will be invited to submit a full proposal. There will be a mandatory Q:A meeting at SOMArts on Thursday, January 24, 3:00–4:00pm. Applicants will know the final  status of their proposal in March.


December 6, 7–8pm : Online Q & A
January 7, 2019, 5pm : LOI’s due
January 18, 2019 : Selected applicants invited to submit a full proposal
January 24, 3–4pm : Mandatory Applicants meeting
February 13, 5pm : Full Applications due


  • Prioritizes applicants from communities who have been historically denied opportunities in contemporary art institutions.
  • Open to any individual, collective, group, or non-profit organization (lead applicant must meet all of the eligibility requirements). The lead applicant must be the primary point of contact for the project/proposal and this person may only be lead applicant on one proposal.
  • Must be based in or resides in San Francisco or Alameda County and has done so continuously for at least two years prior to the due date of the LOI.
  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Applicants that have received a SOMArts Curatorial Residency within the previous two years are not eligible to apply again as lead applicants. Past recipients may participate as collaborators for a different project.
  • Proposals will not be considered for one-person exhibitions, or exhibitions that are largely dependent on a general call to artists, or are inappropriately scaled for the 31,000 square foot gallery.
  • 501c3 non–profit and fiscally sponsored organizations with operating budgets greater than $100,000 are not eligible to apply. Projects may not be part of the primary programming of an established 501c3 organization with an operating budget greater than $100,000.
  • Full-time students at the time of the residency are discouraged because of the anticipated intense schedule during production but we are open for dialogue. Reach out to Curatorial Partnerships & Residency Director, Carolina Quintanilla at [email protected] with questions.


The first step is submitting an LOI. From there, a select number of applicants will be invited to submit a full proposal. LOI’s will be evaluated by SOMArts staff based on alignment with SOMArts’ mission and feasibility of the proposed project. Full proposals are evaluated by a jury of arts professionals, artists, and curators.

Selections Criteria

The selection is based on:

  • Eligibility
  • Artistic quality of the work to be shown including evidence of creativity, innovation and/or technical skill;
  • Clarity, power and nuance of the curatorial concept
  • Capacity of the curator or team to carry out the proposed exhibition;
  • Viability of the project and budget;
  • Dynamic engagement with one or more of the Bay Area’s cultural communities
  • Vibrancy of proposed public presentations: ability to connect artists and audiences through multiple dimensions of participation and/or education.

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