Installation view image courtesy of Gericault De La Rose

Dara Katrina Del Rosario
Communications Director
[email protected]

SOMArts’ A Soft Place to Land defiantly centers Joy
amidst politically charged election season

On view July 20–August 25, 2024
Opening Reception, July 19, 6–9 PM PST

June 20, 2024, San Francisco, CA– Across the country, we are witnessing an unprecedented number of legislation threatening trans, immigrant, and reproductive rights, the growing criminalization of dissent, and the continued funding of genocide abroad. As many are bracing themselves for another politically charged election year, SOMArts is honored to announce A Soft Place to Land, on view July 20–August 25, 2024, inviting audiences to defiantly center joy as a relational and embodied practice worthy of archiving and passing on.

“This exhibition was inspired by the idea of hosting a joy-centered program in response to an election cycle that incites fear, anxiety, and uncertainty,” shares Maria Jenson, SOMArts’ Creative & Executive Director. “How can we ground ourselves? How can we nurture hope? Many of us turn to self and collective care rituals to slow down and return to ourselves, especially amidst chaos. A Soft Place to Land is our offering to the community, providing shelter from the storm to find rest, joy, and respite.”

A Soft Place to Land includes works by regional Bay Area artists Alexa Burrell, an experimental multimedia collage artist presenting an installation centered around play, and San Francisco-born artist Alyssa Aviles, who honors ritual, friendship, and nostalgia. Tosha Stimage’s artwork titled Joy comes in the mourning serves as a nurturing environment to feel and express grief. As we talk about a safe space to feel Joy, this installation asserts it should also be a safe space to feel grief. Paola de la Calle’s work examines the relationship between power and memory to affirm that people of color are not defined by trauma and are the authors of their own stories.

Inspired by the Filipino concept of “anting anting” and the magical girl aesthetics of Sailor Moon, Gericault De La Rose showcases a three-tiered fabric chandelier adorned with charms symbolizing the friendships and communities she embraced in both Chicago and the Bay Area. Sarah Smith’s installation and paintings center women in what they consider to be their safe spaces. Through her artwork, she aims to highlight the beauty inherent in everyday objects and provoke contemplation on the connections between craftsmanship, memory, and personal heritage. Multidisciplinary artist and organizer Malaya Tuyay will exhibit a large scale print exploring ancestral healing and photographer Lara Aburamadan showcases a series of images rooted in cultivating joy in her physical spaces.

Dreamed and conceptualized by SOMArts’ Gallery Director Carolina Quintanilla in close collaboration with the artists, this multidisciplinary exhibition invites audiences to connect with our ánimos, a Spanish word referring to the state of our spirit and is a term of encouragement, as an act of survival and care.

“The artists and I gathered in conversations to explore how we individually and collectively embody, practice, and experience joy. It was crucial to me that our focus wasn’t immediately on installations, but rather on cultivating a space rooted in connection and inquiry,” shares Quintanilla. “My hope for this exhibition is to inspire our communities to document moments we feel joy, guiding us back to each other, ourselves, and our bodies.”

The exhibition launches with a free, all ages reception on Friday, July 19, 6–9 PM PST, and Bushmama Africa, an artist, activist, and spiritualist, will lead an opening ritual. Additional public programs include a Community Day hosted by Aīma the Dreamer (Soulovely, Femme Rage) and features DJ sets, art making, artist vendors, and more on Saturday, August 3, 1–5 PM PST.

As anticipation mounts for the November elections, A Soft Place to Land affirms that creating, preserving, and propagating joy is a transformative force against injustice and subjugation.

Lara Aburamadan
Alyssa Aviles
Alexa Burrell
Paola de la Calle
Gericault De La Rose
Sarah Smith
Tosha Stimage
Malaya Tuyay

Carolina Quintanilla

Thursday, 3:00–7:30 PM; Friday, 12:00–7:30 PM;
Saturday–Sunday, 12:00–5:00 PM

Exhibition programs are free, all ages unless otherwise noted; Eventbrite RSVPs are highly encouraged.

A Soft Place to Land Exhibition Run
Saturday, July 20 –Sunday, August 24, 2024

Multidisciplinary exhibition defiantly centering Joy as a relational and embodied practice worthy of archiving and passing on.

To learn more, visit:

Opening Reception
Friday, July 19, 6–9 PM PST
Free, all ages

Join us for the all-ages opening reception of A Soft Place to Land with the exhibiting artists and blessing of the space led by Bushmama Africa.

To learn more, visit:


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 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 Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.