Now in its 20th year, SOMArts’ Dia de Los Muertos exhibition is one of the most internationally diverse Day of the Dead celebrations in the United States. Over the decades, this group exhibition has brought together a wide variety of perspectives to honor, remember, and celebrate the dead.

This year’s exhibition will feature special altar structures to honor and manifest founding curator’s Rene Yañez’ vision for his final Dia de Los Muertos exhibition titled “City of Souls”, a reference to his 2001 exhibition “City of Miracles”. We invite proposals from artists to engage audience members in a creative conversation on the cultural legacies that haunt San Francisco. Who are the ancestors we need to call in to help fight for the soul of the City? What are the people, places, and institutions lost to time that have shaped us? What kind of future can we collectively envision for San Francisco? In addition to the aforementioned themes we welcome proposals of works honoring people, places, movements, locations and abstract ideas that have perished.

Housed in a translucent city this exhibit will include altars, installations, digital art, video, signage, and light based and projected media. Building-like structures will be made of translucent scrim and framing. We seek proposals that activate luminous city sites like storefronts, museums, homes, a library etc. and that respond to the structural materials used evoking a play with light, shadow and illusion. City of Souls: Dia de Los Muertos 2019 is a great opportunity to explore the strengths of tradition and to honor the dead with contemporary and traditional altars.

SOMArts’ exhibition space is designed and laid out by architect Nick Gomez. As the exhibition takes shape, please be aware that spaces allotted to artists can change and shift.

Proposals must be received no later than 5:00pm PST on Monday, June 10, 2019 in order to be considered. Click here to submit your proposal online. If you need technical assistance, please email Carolina Quintanilla at [email protected] with any questions.

Key Dates & Information

  • Monday, June 10, 5pm : Deadline for Submissions
  • Week of July 22nd : Artist notified of their application status
  • Tuesday, September 3, 6–8pm : Mandatory Artist Meeting
  • Friday, October 4–Thursday, October 10 : Artist Install
  • Friday, October 11, 6–9pm : Opening Reception
  • Friday, November 8, 6–9pm : Closing Reception
  • Saturday, November 9 : Deinstallation

Selected artists will be expected to install and maintain their installations and artworks. Please plan to make regular visits to SOMArts to make sure your installation is well maintained and functioning. All involved with this exhibition take pride in the large attendance and community engagement at special events and during gallery hours. We ask that artists help in ways big and small to assist with outreach and publicity. Please help spread the word about the exhibition so that our audience continues to grow and diversify. There are opportunities to get involved by volunteering at related events, assisting with educational programming related to the show, and distributing print materials.

Slideshow images from City of Miracles: Dia de los Muertos 2001, structure used will have similar materials