Mission & Vision

Insurrection, Connection & Community
Through the Arts

-download SOMArts fact sheet

The mission of SOMArts is to promote and nurture art on the community level, and to foster an appreciation of and respect for all cultures. Founded in 1979, SOMArts embraces the entire spectrum of arts practice and cultural identity, and it is beloved in San Francisco as a truly multicultural, community-built space where cutting-edge events and counterculture commingle with traditional art forms.

South of Market Cultural Center, 934 Brannan Street, 26,190 sq ft (3 administrative offices, 99-seat expandable black box theater, darkroom, printmaking, ceramics and dance studios, 3 classrooms, Bay Gallery, Main Gallery).

Audiences: 28,750 on-site, 263,000 through technical support of city fairs and festivals
Arts and Cultural Organizations: 82 Bay Area nonprofits
Artists: 1,582
Schools: 26 schools in the Bay Area
Students and teachers: over 1,300 students (grades K–12 and 40 teachers, local universities and college students)

BUDGET (Fiscal year ending June 30, 2013)
Total expenses (audited): $1,142,274
Total revenues (audited): $1,177,722

SOMArts Staff: 5 full time, 44 part time & seasonal
Board Leadership: 8-member Board of Trustees
Volunteers & Interns: 139 volunteers and 6 interns contributed 3,643 hours of support

In 2013 SOMArts, in partnership with the Islamic Art Museum of Malaysia, received $97,380 in grant funding by Museums Connect, an initiative of the U.S Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs administered by the American Alliance of Museums, for a year-long youth program Flag Stories: Citizenship Unbound. Youth ages 13 to 17 from Muslim, intercultural, refugee and immigrant communities in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and San Francisco engage in a transnational creative and cultural exchange around shared issues of migration, citizenship and belonging in 2013–14.

In 2013 SOMArts’ third annual Night Light: Multimedia Garden Party opened to a sold out audience and included partnerships with the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia and Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States. The event featured four experimental audio-visual performances, including a west coast premiere of Duchesses, a performance by François Chaignaud and Marie-Caroline Hominal, and digital and cinematic projections by more than 50 artists.

In 2013 SOMArts partnered with The San Francisco Foundation for the third year in a row to present The Annual Murphy and Cadogan Contemporary Art Awards Exhibition, a showcase of the work of promising visual artists from regional Masters in Fine Arts (MFA) programs working across disciplines. The 2012 exhibition traveled to Delta College, and opened in January 2013.

In 2011 SOMArts collaborated with the Bay Area Video Coalition to launch the Neighborhood News Network, and began to offer a public ingest station where community video content could be uploaded to Public Access Television. This partnership also provided SOMArts with professional video equipment used to broadcast live and recorded performance in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 to Public Access Television and to provide artists with valuable documentation of their work, and to create SOMArts’ first viral YouTube video, which garnered over 25,000 views organically.

2011 was also a year of unprecedented media attention. Man as Object: Reversing the Gaze received national and international media attention from publications such as Ms. Magazine and Vanity Fair, France. Get Lucky: The Culture of Chance garnered SOMArts’ first review in The San Francisco Chronicle.

In 2010-2011, with support from the Creative Work Fund, SOMArts partnered with artists Peter Foucault and Chris Treggiari to develop the Mobile Arts Platform, a mobile sculpture that serves the community through a series of curated exhibitions by local artists at neighborhood fairs and festivals.

In 2010, funded by the Western States Art Federation, SOMArts produced “It’s All A Blur,” a major touring exhibition featuring the work of San Francisco Masters who blur the lines between identity, politics and sexuality in their reimagining of the American Dream. The exhibition toured to Reno and Las Vegas and was part of the Time-Based Art Festival in Portland in 2011.
In 2010, SOMArts collaborated with the San Francisco Art Institute’s City Studio program to renovate its ceramics studio and began offering free classes to students age 12–19. In 2013 SOMArts acquired the necessary equipment to create a five-computer lab with video and photo editing capabilities, and added to the City Studio class offerings a free audiovisual media class.

SOMArts is supported by the San Francisco Arts Commission’s Community Arts and Education Program with funding from Grants for the Arts/The Hotel Tax Fund.

San Francisco Art Commission Logo

Pictured above: Photo Copyright © 2013 Jonathan Fong. Used with permission.