Reflecting with Gratitude, Looking ahead with Hope
With 2021 coming to a close, we want to express our deepest thanks to our powerful community of artists, curators, culture bearers, performers, advocates, and friends. Throughout this time of ongoing uncertainty, you’ve repeatedly affirmed the unique ability of the arts to guide, inspire, and bring us together.
SOMARTS NAMED BEST ART GALLERY BY THE BOLD ITALIC!
We’re excited to share that SOMArts has been named 2021 Best Art Gallery in The Bold Italic! We extend our deepest appreciation to our creative community, artists, curators, and team for leading with care and compassion at the forefront.
LUSH: A SOMArts Series launched in January of 2021. This series drew its inspiration from Solarpunk, a genre that imagines futures that reject dystopian narratives, instead favoring visions of sustainability and interconnection.
This first in our series of virtual programs, LUSH Literary Edition, featured readings, a panel discussion, and Q&A with Julián Delgado Lopera, author of Fiebre Tropical, and Elaine Castillo, author of America is Not the Heart, two Bay Area novelists whose writing reflects diasporic and queer life in the US today, moderated by Claire Calderón.
The series returned in April with a film edition featuring clips and conversation centering the disruptive works of Brontez Purnell, Heather María Ács of FemmePower Productions, and Leo Herrera. Moderated by SOMArts’ Director of Events and Hard French producer Devon Nandagiri, LUSH Film Edition celebrated the multiplicity of queer histories and futures.
ALWAYS HERE 4 U
After over a year of isolation, SOMArts hosted our first in-person event of 2021 this past June. HERE 4 U: Pre-Pride Happening transformed SOMArts’ luscious garden patio for an intimate evening of music, drag, and community. A celebration of queer joy and the power of chosen family, HERE 4 U featured drag performances by some of the Bay’s best queens — Nicki Jizz, Dulce de Leche, and Yves Saint Croissant — and trippy acid house vibes DJ’d by Chuck Gunn.
CELEBRATING THE FUTURE OF BAY AREA ARTS
SOMArts’ partnered with San Francisco Foundation for another year ofThe Annual Murphy & Cadogan Contemporary Art Awards Exhibition! Curated by Kevin B. Chen, this multidisciplinary showcase features the work of 16 promising visual artists from regional Masters in Fine Arts (MFA) programs and identifies students whose work connects directly to the local, national, and global concerns of the arts field.
ANNUAL DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS EXHIBITION IMAGINES WORLDS BEYOND RESILIENCE
In its 22nd year, SOMArts’ annual Día de Los Muertos exhibition was curated by Rio Yanez and Carolina Quintanilla, and was available to view both in-person and through a virtual gallery. Dreams Emerging, Beyond Resilience: Dia de Los Muertos 2021 honored how grieving rituals have shifted in response to the global pandemic. The exhibition reflected on how the past year has transformed our visions of connection, freedom, and healing.
ELEVENTH SEASON OF CURATORIAL RESIDENCIES
Bay Area Deaf Arts launched SOMArts’ residency season in January 2021. Curated by Antoine Hunter, this exhibition celebrated the art forms and cultural expression historically rooted in the Deaf community, raising Deaf awareness in non-Deaf populations, and inviting collaboration between Hearing and Deaf artists. Fátima Ramírez, Josué Rojas, and Mauricio Ramírez’s multidisciplinary exhibition CARAVANA: Mobilizing Central American Art (1984–Present) centered U.S. Central American artists examing their lived experiences in relation to the impact of mass migration, family separation, and the legacy of political action and solidarity with the people of Central America. Sounds Like Home: Longing and Comfort through Lullabies, curated by Duygu Gün and Bengu Gün, closed out the 2020-2021 Curatorial Residency season, not only questioning how cultural memory is preserved and transmitted through simple melodic messages from childhood, but also challenging the way lullabies, family stories, and fairy tales transmit gender roles and cultural norms while affirming that culture is dynamic.
THE BLACK WOMAN IS GOD BRINGS US INTO THE NEW YEAR
The Black Woman Is God is currently presenting its fifth iteration at SOMArts Cultural Center —The Blueprint: If the Universe Can Be Imagined It Exists curated by Karen Seneferu and Melorra Green. It presents lessons in spiritual identity, conveying the Black feminine rituals that have developed the structure of Black communities. These practices encourage diasporic collaboration, which continues to build visual discourse and advances the architecture of Black culture. Therefore, what have Black women artists imagined? What will they imagine for themselves, for their families, communities, and future?