SOMArts’ annual Día de Los Muertos exhibition, beginning in mid-October and concluding around the time of the holiday itself, is a long-standing and beloved San Francisco tradition. Originated by visionary community artist and activist René Yañez, this exhibition honors René’s legacy as his son and curator Rio Yañez continues to illuminate the connection between the personal and the political through Day of the Dead.

Día de Los Muertos is a celebration that is continually in transition, as curator Rio Yañez encourages artists to extend beyond the traditional altar in order to look at personal loss, as well as local and global issues. In past years artists have created installations about contemporary issues including health care, the presidential election, gentrification and displacement, police brutality and immigration.

SOMArts welcomes over 600 Bay Area students to learn about the traditional and contemporary celebrations of Día de Los Muertos. In addition to a docent tour of the gallery exhibition, students have the opportunity to create their own artwork in response to the themes of the exhibition.


  • Living Legacies: Día de Los Muertos 2020
  • Day of the Dead 2015
Dreams Emerging, Beyond Resilience:
Día de Los Muertos 2021

Call for Proposals

Now in its 22nd year, SOMArts’ annual Día de Los Muertos exhibition is one of the most internationally diverse Day of the Dead celebrations in the United States.

Founded by beloved San Francisco artist and curator René Yañez, Día de Los Muertos at SOMArts merges traditional altars with contemporary installations, continuing to be a multigenerational gathering of remembrance while asserting the role of art as a platform for collective action. Curated by Rio Yañez and Carolina Quintanilla, Dreams Emerging, Beyond Resilience: Día de Los Muertos 2021 will be available as a 3D virtual exhibition and, pending safety regulations, we plan to be open to the public through timed ticketing entry.

The pandemic has caused a shift in our rituals around grief and healing. After a year of collective isolation, what do you long for? This year we invite artists to reflect on how loss and isolation have shaped their Dreams Emerging. We are calling on artists to create altar installations that reflect on how the last year has transformed their visions of connection, freedom and healing and to create work that embodies their dreams of the world they want to live in.

Learn more